Here’s How 600 Remington Workers Learned They Were Terminated
Nearly 600 employees of Remington Arms were officially terminated as part of the recent bankruptcy sale, effective Sunday, October 25th. Employees say they found out by telephone. That's essentially the bulk of the workforce at the Ilion plant, although some workers like machinists, maintenance and custodial workers have been called back to work.
Workers were notified through the weekend via a recorded phone call that delivered the bad news. The call said the company was being "wound down for the time being" in preparation for take over by the new company, the Roundhill Group. Workers were informed that all benefits and incentives will be terminated effective October 31st.
Employees were also told that their access to the Ilion property is now extremely limited and if they wish to gain access to collect personal belongings, they must contact the human resources department.
One employee told WIBX that the call left them wondering about their 401K investment. "I was told I can't get access to my 401K, which doesn't make sense. I don't expect them to put any additional funds in going forward, but what's in there now is mine," he said.
Remington's union (United Mine Workers of America) released a statement after termination calls started being issued this weekend, in regards to benefits being withheld. "The company is refusing to pay severance and accrued vacation benefits, as it is obligated to do under its collective bargaining agreement with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)," said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts, calling it a "treacherous act by the company."
"“This outrageous action by Remington Outdoor company is a slap in the face to the employees who built that company into the best firearms manufacturer in the world," said Roberts. "UMWA Local Union 717 has already filed a series of grievances under our collective bargaining agreement, and the UMWA International Union is exploring further legal action."
It's believed that once Roundhill officially takes over, about 400 people will be hired back under a new employment agreement as the new company ramps the operation back up, another employee said.
“We are now working with the new company to get the plant reopened and start putting our members back to work," Roberts said. "But the old, failed Remington had one more kick in the pants for our members," he added.
The announcement of termination by the company drew comments from local political leaders, including Congressman Anthony Brindisi and his opponent, Claudia Tenney.
"I met with the Union last week," said Brindisi. "I’ve reached out to the new owners. No response. Our office is actively working with the union to get assistance for members."
Claudia Tenney said upon hearing the news, she reached out to the White House. "I personally reached out to both the White House and the Treasury Department and appealed to them for help in this hour of great need for the workers and their families," said Tenney. "I will keep fighting to get them the resources they need to get through this and come out stronger."
(This story was updated to include union response at 8:40 p.m., October 25, 2020)