Recently, it seems like I have had the job of delivering bad news, and unfortunately today is no different. Remington Arms has announced that the plant in Ilion, New York has laid off 122 employees. This is in addition to the 39 layoffs at the Huntsville, Alabama plant from the last quarter of 2016.
Predictably, Remington management blames a weakening firearms market and an unexpected political climate. But some New York State legislators also attacked the Empire State’s expanding anti-gun laws like the ‘SAFE Act’ which set new, more advanced restrictions on legal gun owners. State Assemblyman Brian Miller of the 101st District released the following statement regarding the layoffs:
This is upsetting. It’s very troubling that 122 of our neighbors have lost their jobs due to poor economic policies pushed by Gov. Cuomo and Assembly Democrats as well as the SAFE Act. Make no mistake, there is a direct correlation. My staff and I remain fully committed to helping those affected by layoffs and will assist them and their families in any way we can.
Employees at Remington Arms in Ilion are reporting that about 120 workers are being shown the door as part of layoffs that were announced earlier today. An employee who asked not to be identified said that a meeting was held today at 1 p.m. when the layoff was announced. In a corporate letter addressed to employees, 122 union positions were being cut from Ilion and 16 employees were laid off from the Remington plant in Lexington, Kentucky. Officials at Remington later confirmed the layoffs.
CEO James Marcotuli blamed slowing orders and increased inventory as the reason for the cuts. “It is our hope that making these difficult reductions now will strengthen our competitive position.” he said.
In a recent interview with Outdoor Life magazine from June of last year, Marcotuli touted the importance of the Ilion plant. “The Ilion facility and its workforce truly remain a valued asset to the company. There’s a ton of experience and knowledge there. We’ve been “The Ilion facility and its workforce truly remain a valued asset to the company. There’s a ton of experience and knowledge there. We’ve been producing Remington products in Ilion since 1816.”producing Remington products in Ilion since 1816. In that time, we’ve produced more than six million Model 700s, nearly four million Model 1100s, and 11 million Model 870s. In addition, the V3 shotgun is being launched there. So it’s still a valued manufacturing asset.”
Meanwhile, Remington’s labor force, which had reached 1300 employees in 2014, has now eroded to under 1000 employees. The 200 year old plant still remains Herkimer County’s largest employer.
Remington’s media relations department released a statement to WIBX on Wednesday afternoon, blaming the layoffs on supply and demand.
The small arms industry is facing significant near term challenges related to slowing order velocity and high channel inventories; a dynamic from which Remington is not immune. After exploring all the options available to us, we are compelled to reduce our work force by releasing 122 team members today at our Ilion, NY site. As we move forward, we will continue to monitor all segments of the business for growth opportunities. – Remington’s Media Relations Manager, Jessica Kallam
With regards to the layoffs at Remington, is this purely a case of a market correction side-effect? A completely unexpected political climate effecting consumer sales? Or are we seeing the inability of a huge firearms conglomerate to properly manage brands, quality control, resources and employee talent?
Most importantly, what will it take to save more industry employee’s jobs from a similar fate?