Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced criticism this weekend amid reports that Remington Arms Co., which has a large facility in the Mohawk Valley, will expand in Alabama not New York.
Cuomo officials said the Alabama expansion is separate from the gunmaker’s facility in Illion, Herkimer County, which employs about 1,300 workers.
But a union official told the Syracuse Post-Standard on Saturday that the decision isn’t good news for the New York plant. Cuomo has been criticized for New York’s tough gun-control law passed a year ago, and two gun companies said they have left the state, citing the law.
“It can’t be good,” said Fran Madore, president of United Mine Workers Local 717, told the paper yesterday of Remington’s expansion out of state. “How can it be good?”
Madore said plant officials want to meet with him Monday.
Since the law, there has been ongoing speculation that Remington might leave New York in protest, but the company has offered no indication that it would do so. In fact, it has expanded in recent years, in part thanks to tax breaks.
AL.com reported Saturday that the Alabama facility could employ up to 2,000 people, and details were expected Monday.
The Military Times said the move wouldn’t affect Remington’s operations in Ilion.
Cuomo’s potential Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, knocked Cuomo over the news.
“Remington’s decision to locate 2,000 jobs in Alabama is another devastating blow to New York’s economy that is already failing under Governor Cuomo,” Astorino said in a statement. “Under his tone-deaf leadership, New York has the worst business climate in the nation, while thousands of jobs and New Yorkers are fleeing to other states in record numbers.”
Cuomo officials on Twitter countered that New York was among the first states in the nation to recoup all the jobs lost during the Recession in 2009 and has a record number of people employed.
Updated: Sen. James Seward put out a statement that the company isn’t cutting jobs at its New York plant.
“Remington Arms and the 1,300 dedicated workers who make up the 200-year-old company’s workforce are the heart and soul of the Mohawk Valley,” Seward said in a statement posted by the Auburn Citizen. “I have been assured that any out of state expansion will not affect Remington’s workforce in Ilion and the recent $20 million plant upgrade is proof of the company’s commitment to New York.
“I look forward to partnering with Remington moving forward and continuing a robust dialogue with company officials to help meet their needs here at home and assist them and their workers manufacture a time-honored American-made product.”