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NY – INDUSTRY INSIDER – Town Built on Guns Ponders Future After Remington Plant Sale

Workers at the sprawling Remington factory in this upstate New York village took pride in a local gunmaking tradition stretching back to the days of flintlock rifles. Now they’re looking ahead with uncertainty. Jacquie Sweeney and her husband were among almost 600 workers fired by the company this week, a few months after Remington Outdoor Co. sought bankruptcy protection for the second time in two years. Successful bidders for the idled plant in bankruptcy proceedings have said they plan to restart at least some production, though details remain scarce. There are high hopes for a successful reload of the plant that dominates the local economy. But these hopes are tempered by questions about how many workers will come back, and when. “My husband, he’s looking for work, just like everybody else. And I plan on going back to college unless I find a job before I start that up,” said Sweeney, recording secretary for the local unit of the United Mine Workers of America. “That’s all we can really do. We can’t sit around and wait for forever.” It’s common for people here to say that Ilion is Remington and Remington is Ilion. Company founder Eliphalet Remington started making flintlock rifles on his father’s forge near here in 1816, and the Ilion factory site dates to 1828. Though the company moved its headquarters to Madison, North Carolina, the old factory dominates — literally and figuratively — a village that has long depended on workers making rifles and shotguns to power the economy. Union signs reading “United We Stand with Remington Workers” are in the windows of local businesses that sell everything from pizza slices to steel-toed boots. At Beer Belly Bob’s beverage center across the street from the plant, Bob McDowell recalled the sales bump on Thursdays and Fridays after shifts ended at 3 p.m. “I used to call it the beer train,” McDowell said with a smile. “It was busy, and it is gone.”  [full article]

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