Schumer, Clinton, McNulty: Bechtel Puts 60-Day Hold on Further Action
(Washington, DC): Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Michael R. McNulty (DGreen Island) have been told that Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. (BPMI) will wait 60 days to make any further decisions related to its plan to effectively close its facility in Schenectady and relocate 260 whitecollar jobs to the Pittsburgh area.
Senators Schumer and Clinton and Congressman McNulty released the following statement in response:
"We are encouraged to learn that Bechtel is willing to allow the City of Schenectady and New York State to present arguments for maintaining its current operation in Schenectady. We will continue to work aggressively with Mayor Stratton, County Legislature Chairwoman Susan Savage, and State officials in the effort to persuade Bechtel to reverse their decision and keep the 260 jobs in Schenectady."
Below are key excerpts from the fax received from T.F. Hash, President of Bechtel Systems & Infrastructure this afternoon, addressed to Senators Schumer and Clinton, and Congressman McNulty:
Dear Senators and Congressman:
I am responding to your letter dated November 28 regarding Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. ("BPMI"). BPMI has been proactively seeking ways to eliminate redundancies, improve efficiencies, and reduce our operating costs. BPMI's planned consolidation of our Schenectady and Pittsburgh sites is part of this overall process and one which we feel is in the longterm best interests of our clients, the United States Navy, and the taxpayers.
I am, however, mindful of the difficulties this decision has placed on our employees and the community. Accordingly, I am placing a 60day hold on taking any further irrevocable action regarding this consolidation. This 'hold' will provide time to allow us to work with you, the Mayor of Schenectady, and the Navy to discuss and fully consider alternatives to the closure of our operations in Schenectady.
To accomplish this hold, we have taken the following steps:
Facilities BPMI obtained agreement from the prospective developer/landlord for the renovated Pittsburgh facility lease to incorporate an option clause into the lease, which gives BPMI the flexibility to reduce the size of the building to accommodate only the current Pittsburgh staff. The option will be valid until February 2, 2007.
Personnel During this hold, BPMI will not (i) take any action on any elections made by our employees for transfer or separation; (ii) involuntarily separate any employees (other than for performancerelated issues), (iii) relocate any additional employees to Pittsburgh; or, (iv) transfer any employees to the other Program organizations.
Finally, I would like to reiterate that we have not asked our employees to sign a 'noncompete' agreement, as suggested during our last meeting. We did, however, request that they acknowledge that their severance payments would stop if reemployed by BPMI or its affiliates. Any confusion resulting from this misunderstanding was addressed when BPMI reissued the agreements with the employees five days after the initial documents were issued...
I am sincere in my willingness to slow this process down for 60 days to allow the City and State an opportunity to serve up economic proposals that would offset the savings a consolidation in Pittsburgh would yield.