FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2012
SCHUMER URGES IBM TO FINALIZE LEASE AGREEMENT AT ENDICOTT FACILITY, KEEPING 800 JOBS IN THE SOUTHERN TIER – AFTER PERSONAL CALL WITH IBM CEO, SCHUMER OPTIMISTIC AGREEMENT TO KEEP IBM AT HOME WHERE IT BELONGS IS CLOSE
Ten Year Lease Is Set To Expire – IBM Is Currently Re-negotiating Possible Lease To Remain At Huron Campus And Maintain 800 Jobs In Endicott
In Personal Letter and Call to IBM CEO Rometty, Schumer Urges IBM To Come To An Agreement To Remain At The Campus, Offers Assistance To Ensure Company Can Stay At Its Birthplace
Schumer: IBM Was Born Here, And Should Stay Here – I’m Optimistic We Are Almost There
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged IBM to come to terms on a new lease agreement so that the company and its 800 employees can maintain a strong presence in New York’s Southern Tier. In a personal letter and phone call to IBM’s Chief Executive Officer Virginia Rometty, Schumer made a pitch for the company to stay at its current location at the historic Huron campus, which served as the birthplace of IBM. Schumer also offered to assist in any way that he could to ensure that the negotiations result in a multi-year agreement for IBM to stay at the Huron Campus. Schumer argued that the Southern Tier workforce has performed well, and deserved the support and stability of a long-term deal to maintain the jobs at the current campus. Schumer argued that the Endicott workforce still provides exceptional value to the company as evidenced by the introduction of a groundbreaking new IBM technology known as PureSystems, which was invented at Huron. After the call with Ms. Rometty, Schumer is optimistic that IBM and the Endicott campus are close to an agreement that will keep IBM in the Southern Tier for years to come.
“IBM is synonymous with the Empire State, and that’s exactly how it should be going forward,” said Schumer. “For decades, IBM has provided good-paying jobs for hundreds of workers in Greater Binghamton, and the workers of Endicott in return have provided real value to IBM’s bottom line. Their continued presence moving forward is essential to the economic health of the Southern Tier. I’m strongly urging the parties to work together, find common ground, and reach an arrangement to stay in Endicott. I stand ready and willing to help in any way that I can, so we can be sure that Big Blue continues to call the Southern Tier home for years to come. After my conversation with Ms. Rometty, I’m optimistic that we’re almost there.”
Back in 2002, after reports that the company was planning to leave the region entirely, Schumer worked with then-IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano to make the case that the company should keep IBM’s operations in the Southern Tier going. Through the efforts of Schumer, Governor Pataki, and Senator Libous, a historic arrangement was brokered wherein local investors would purchase the Huron campus and lease back a significant amount of space to IBM for ten years. That lease deal expires at the end of October of this year.
The 150-acre Huron campus offers over 1 million square feet of space. BAE Systems, whose facility in Westover was destroyed during the floods of 2011, recently announced a deal to take 400,000 square feet at Huron, putting the campus at a near-full capacity. Schumer argued that maintaining IBM’s presence at Huron was key to building on the recent success of re-establishing Huron as one of the top high technology campuses in all of New York State. The campus now boasts BAE Systems, IBM, Endicott Interconnect Technologies, and Lockheed Martin as anchor tenants.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to Chief Executive Officer Rometty appears below:
Dear Chief Executive Officer Rometty,
I write to you today to follow-up on our conversations about the future of IBM operations in New York’s Southern Tier and urge you to commit to a new multi-year lease for the company’s 800 employees at the Huron campus in Endicott. As you know, Endicott, NY is the birthplace of International Business Machines and the company is still an important anchor tenant in the legacy campus now owned by Endicott Interconnect Technologies, Inc. Back in 2002, IBM did the Southern Tier community a great service when it sold this asset to local investors committed to preserving jobs and high-technology innovation in the region. In exchange, IBM signed a ten year lease agreement with the new owners to keep its Southern Tier operations at Huron. Though the company’s footprint isn’t as large as it once was, today the campus boasts thousands of highly skilled employees and just welcomed a new anchor tenant, BAE Systems. This cluster of innovation in Endicott needs IBM to maintain its presence there in order to thrive and build off of these recent successes.
Endicott was the original location of IBM’s manufacturing and research and development operations in the early twentieth century. Founding members of the Endicott community and the greater Binghamton area had a vision for Endicott as one of the country’s first industrial parks. To this day, the community can tout a high-skilled workforce that helps build the technologies of tomorrow. In fact, this workforce was a major reason why BAE Systems ultimately decided to remain in the Southern Tier after their former facility flooded during the tropical storms of 2011. Therefore, the IBM legacy still looms large today. While the company no longer manufactures in the Endicott, a significant cross-section of the company’s research and development teams from across many different business divisions report to the Huron campus each work day and generations of skilled workers call the Southern Tier home. Other local employers, including Endicott Interconnect Technologies, also rely on the IBM presence for contract work supplying you with cutting-edge circuitry and other materials.
There is little doubt that Endicott’s workforce has a unique track record of helping IBM innovate and build new business. From the early days when the first electric “punch cards” were invented to the supercomputing software breakthroughs of today, this community has been at the forefront of IBM’s success. I am sure you were as delighted as I was to learn that the genesis of your new PureSystems product, a highly integrated system that combines many different computing functions into one machine, was developed by IBM inventors based out of the Huron campus. I understand that your company believes that this new technology could be a major breakthrough for IBM’s future business and birth a whole new market around the product. As New York’s Senior Senator, I am proud to boast that these developments happen at the historic Huron campus by the same great workforce you have relied on for decades.
In closing, I again urge you to work diligently to renew an agreement to keep IBM’s presence in the place of its birth, the historic Village of Endicott. It is my understanding that the current lease expires at the end of October, 2012. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance ensuring that this continued partnership in New York can continue.
Charles E. Schumer