Ingersoll Rand to stop manufacturing in Cheektowaga; 150 union jobs impacted

CHEEKTOWAGA – One of Cheektowaga’s top employers, Ingersoll Rand, announced by email Tuesday that they are stopping manufacturing operations at their Broadway plant this upcoming July.

“This was a difficult decision as we take all actions that affect our people very seriously. We are committed to supporting employees with competitive severance packages, on-site employee assistance programs, job placement services and the opportunity to apply for jobs at other company locations. We also plan to work with the union in Buffalo to fulfill legal obligations concerning collective bargaining and what the plan means for represented employees,” the company said in their email.

Most of the facility is represented by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers labor union.  Peter Cooney is their local representative and says the union is extremely disappointed with the decision.

“We don’t believe it is necessary.  We’ve had Machinist Union members there for decades and the plant was profitable for a very long time.  We didn’t get a lot of information on the whys today,” Mr. Cooney told Cheektowaga Chronicle.  “It’s not going to be easy on [the workers] or their families.  It never is and it makes it that much harder when it doesn’t make any sense.

A four-year labor contract was agreed to after the union members went out on strike over the deal’s terms in 2015.  Mr. Mooney says that contract expires this upcoming August.  We asked if the deal’s expiration date may have had anything to do with the plant’s closure.

“It sure does makes you think,” added Mr. Mooney.

The work done at the Cheektowaga facility will be outsourced out of state and the country according to the company.

“It is our intent to transition and consolidate the majority of Buffalo production capability for our core product line to Mocksville, N.C. We also will transition a smaller amount of production capability to our Vignate, Italy facility, and continue existing production capability in our Wujiang, China facility, which was implemented 18 months ago to serve increasing demand from customers in the region.”

“It makes clear that there is no regard for the worker, only for the bottom line and it’s no even clear that the bottom line is going to get better if they move the work to those places,” added Mr. Mooney.

He said the union will be meeting with the company later in the week to get a better understanding as to why they downsizing at the facility.

“First off we want to hear the whys and obviously see if there is anything that can be done to keep the work here.  We haven’t had those conversations and first and foremost that is what we would like to do,” said Mr. Mooney.

Around 150 jobs will remain at the facility focusing on engineering, sales and service, and other customer-facing roles.

Congressman Brian Higgins said via email, “Ingersoll Rand’s announcement represents the latest in a growing list of local manufacturing jobs lost at the expense of tax and trade policies that fail to put American workers first.  We are experiencing firsthand the failed promises of the GOP tax bill. From Dresser-Rand in Olean to BAK USA in Buffalo and from New Era in Derby to Globe Specialty Metals in Niagara Falls, the corporate tax cuts are not trickling down to hardworking Western New Yorkers and the tariffs are not protecting American jobs.  Instead, haphazard policy that favors big business is incentivizing outsourcing and putting people out of work.”

Assemblymember Monica Wallace, Senator Tim Kennedy, and Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski released the following joint statement, “Today’s announcement from Ingersoll Rand regarding the ceasing of operations at its Cheektowaga manufacturing facility was a surprise to us and is deeply upsetting. Anytime we lose jobs in Western New York is concerning, but for 280 skilled laborers to lose their jobs at once is devastating. We will be sending a letter to Ingersoll Rand imploring their leadership to meet with Empire State Development and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, and we are planning to have open dialogues with the company, the union representing these workers, and other community leaders to evaluate what can be done to keep Ingersoll Rand’s manufacturing facility open.

“Just as the Western New York community stood with these workers three years ago when they went on strike for better health care, we will stand by their side today and moving forward.”

Ingersoll Rand full email statement:

“The company remains committed to Buffalo and will retain, and continue to invest in, a Technology Center at the current facility. Supporting our products and services globally, nearly 150 employees will focus on engineering, sales and service and other customer-facing roles. The Technology Center is in addition to the company’s Buffalo locations – a customer center and two Trane facilities, a brand of Ingersoll Rand.

“Under this plan, it is our intent to transition and consolidate the majority of Buffalo production capability for our core product line to Mocksville, N.C. We also will transition a smaller amount of production capability to our Vignate, Italy facility, and continue existing production capability in our Wujiang, China facility, which was implemented 18 months ago to serve increasing demand from customers in the region. This further fulfills the company’s in region for region manufacturing philosophy. Consolidating manufacturing continues our strategy, and previously announced plans, to expand and scale for future global growth, reduce duplicated fixed costs, and efficiently and effectively serve our customers.

“This was a difficult decision as we take all actions that affect our people very seriously. We are committed to supporting employees with competitive severance packages, on-site employee assistance programs, job placement services and the opportunity to apply for jobs at other company locations. We also plan to work with the union in Buffalo to fulfill legal obligations concerning collective bargaining and what the plan means for represented employees.

“In Mocksville and Davidson, NC we plan to hire for approximately 40 new assembly, machinery and technical manufacturing jobs. We also have a growing demand for skilled workers at our U.S. manufacturing facilities with a plan to fill another 500 manufacturing jobs over the next year.”

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