Remington Arms announced that it will lay off at least 105 workers from its Ilion, New York, facility, WKTV reported.
The president of the United Mine Workers of America, which represents some Remington employees, confirmed the news with the NBC affiliate after a meeting with workers Monday afternoon.
“Today’s reduction in force is a result of this strategic business decision and a softening market,” Teddy Novin, Remington Outdoor Company’s director of public affairs, told the Observer-Dispatch in an email.
In May, the company said it would be laying off 80 employees and moving two production lines to its new location in Huntsville, Alabama. It also announced it would close several other factories in other states across the country.
With more than 1,000 employees, Remington is the largest employer in the city and county, the O-D reported. Needless to say residents and political leaders in the area were disappointed to hear the news.
“It’s bad enough the poverty level around here already,” Daniel Stracquadaine, a local business owner, told Time Warner Cable News. “Now you got all the mom and pop stores are going to suffer, the grocery stores and this and that. The amount of people that could become homeless over this. To find a job in an industry like that — it’s almost impossible in this area.”
New York Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney expressed concerns for Remington employees.
“My first emotion is deep sadness for the community, especially the affected employees who are hardworking, upstanding citizens. Remington Arms has been an anchor in this community for nearly 200 years,” she said in a statement to local media. “New York is home to Remington and Remington’s families. I will work hard with anyone to help those affected and Remington through this difficult process. My office doors are always open.”
The company said market conditions are to blame for the layoffs, but some lawmakers argue the New York SAFE Act is to blame — which the company explained is the reason for moving altogether. The strict new gun control laws passed in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where man gunned down 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
Since the massacre, gun sales skyrocketed across the country due to fears of federal gun control laws, but in the past seven months they have steadily declined. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, sales have simply returned to normal.
On top of plateauing sales, Remington, which is headquartered in North Carolina, recently agreed to settle in a lawsuit over its controversial Walker Fire Control trigger, typically found on its iconic Model 700 rifle. While the settlement is expected to be a substantial monetary sum, sources say a recall is unlikely.
“According to Remington’s CEO, he alluded to that when he announced in Alabama,” said Vincent Bono, chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature, to TWCN. “He did allude that it was a gun friendly state. One could only say that it did have an effect, the SAFE Act did have an effect.”
This round of layoffs is expected to begin Friday.