Remington Arms reduces its workforce, again

Remington Arms announced more layoffs at its Ilion, New York plant, reportedly due to an ongoing downturn in the firearms industry. (Photo: Donna Abbott-Vlahos/Triad Business Journal)

Remington Arms announced more layoffs at its Ilion, New York plant, reportedly due to an ongoing downturn in the firearms industry. (Photo: Donna Abbott-Vlahos/Triad Business Journal)

Remington Arms announced more layoffs at its Ilion, New York plant last week, reportedly due to an ongoing downturn in the firearms industry.

The gun maker released 156 employees in March in two successive rounds — in the face of mounting inventory and dwindling orders — and now looks to lower the axe on 55 additional workers, as weak demand persists.

Ilion Mayor Terry Leonard, a former Remington employee, told Spectrum News the centuries-old company reduces, and replenishes, its workforce often.

“If you look back over the last number of years, there were periods where they brought back 100 jobs, they brought back 140 jobs,” he said Friday. “So the layoffs and the recalls have been up and down.”

Indeed, staffing at the Ilion plant, first established in 1816, has fluctuated over the past several years. The company released over 200 workers in two different rounds of layoffs in 2014– citing market conditions and the impact of the New York SAFE Act of gun control measures – then reportedly bringing back the same number of jobs in 2015, Guns.com previously reported.

Not every official familiar with the central New York town feels as optimistic as Leonard, however. Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney released a statement Thursday blasting restrictive gun laws for wreaking economic havoc on Remington.

“Remington Arms has been a staple in Herkimer County for over two hundred years, and I have had the distinct honor of representing their hardworking employees in both the State Assembly and now in Congress,” she said. “Unfortunately, economic downturns in the firearms industry have forced Remington to reduce the size of their workforce to remain competitive. I know many employees at Remington personally and am saddened to hear this news. The failed economic and anti-Second Amendment policies of New York have continued to burden Remington’s Ilion facility. Our office stands ready to provide any assistance we can offer to the affected employees and their families during this time.”

Remington posted a 24 percent decrease in second quarter sales last month, bringing its operating loss to a total of $44.5 million, so far. Company executives blamed excess inventory, weak consumer demand and an increase in firearm imports for the disappointing earnings. Competitor gun and ammo makers report similar challenges in their first and second quarter filings.