SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND URGE INSTITUTIONAL CASEWORK INC. TO REVERSE COURSE AND HALT CLOSURE OF JAMESTOWN METAL PRODUCTS; SENATORS CALL FOR COMPANY TO WORK WITH LOCAL LEADERS TO PROTECT JOBS AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITY
Jamestown Metal Products Has Been Operating In Western New York Since World War II; Parent Company Institutional Casework Inc. Announced In May They Were Shuttering The Jamestown Facility & Eliminating 80 Jobs
Senators Say Human And Economic Cost Of Closing Plant Is Too Much & Other Solutions Must Be Explored
Schumer, Gillibrand To Institutional Casework CEO: Plant Closure Will Devastate Chautauqua County Workforce, Families, And Communities
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged Institutional Casework Inc. to reconsider their plan to close Jamestown Metal Products in Jamestown, New York and work with local officials to overcome financial challenges the company may be facing. As the parent company of Jamestown Metal Products, Institutional Casework Inc. announced in May that they would close the historic Jamestown plant, which has been operating in Western New York since World War II, and layoff all 80 of the facility’s workers. The senators argued that the closure would be devastating to not only employees, but also their families and the local community.
The Senators explained that earlier this year, Institutional Casework Inc. made the decision to close the plant and consolidate operations. Workers and officials were told that the closure date would be in early September, but the plant remains open and is still processing orders, with no announced date to end operations. Both Schumer and Gillibrand believe this is further evidence that the plant can be viable and should continue operations in Jamestown.
“While we understand that Institutional Casework Inc. has fallen on hard times during the pandemic, the human cost of closing Jamestown Metal Products is simply too high,” said Senator Schumer. “Jamestown’s closure will have ripple effects throughout the entire region, weakening Western New York’s ability to rebuild after the pandemic. I urge Institutional Casework Inc. to rethink their plans to close Jamestown Metal Products and work with the community to find a solution that will help both the company and the region thrive beyond this crisis.”
“This pandemic has put enormous strain on historic businesses across New York and unfortunately, Institutional Casework is no exception,” said Senator Gillibrand. “However, closing Jamestown Metal Products means the region will lose 80 more jobs at a time when people need them the most. To rebuild a strong economy, we must keep people employed and create good paying jobs, which Jamestown Metal Products has helped do in Western New York for decades. I hope that Institutional Casework reevaluates their plans to close this facility so that the community can recover and rebuild Jamestown Metal Products stronger than ever.”
“The working families of Jamestown and the surrounding communities built this company,” said IAMAW Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “Generations of dedicated workers, their families, and communities stood by Jamestown Metal Products during wars, conflicts, and economic disasters. Leaving these workers high and dry during the pandemic is selling them, their families and all of these communities out to the lowest bidder, and it is despicable.”
The senators and local stakeholders made it clear that they were open to working with Institutional Casework Inc. to address the issues that precipitated the announcement and invited further discussions to avoid closure. Schumer and Gillibrand reasoned that the plant has shown tremendous capacity and productivity, proving that the plant can still be profitable for the company. Especially with the partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), the senators explained, the plant has benefited from a skilled and productive local workforce and proven to be a critical player in the Institutional Casework Inc. portfolio and integral to the fabric of Western New York.
Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s letter to Institutional Casework Inc. President & CEO, Jim Arthurs, appears below:
Dear Mr. Arthurs,
We write to express our grave concern at the situation that has unfolded at Jamestown Metal Products in Jamestown, NY. The decision of Institutional Casework Inc., as the parent company of Jamestown Metal Products, to close the facility and put nearly 80 workers out of a job will affect them, their families, and the local community. Since there is a new labor agreement and the original closure deadline has since past, we implore you to reconsider this alarming and hasty decision, and continue to make use of this historic facility and dedicated workforce.
While we recognize the company must adapt to the current economic climate and the devastating impact of the pandemic, the closure of a plant and layoff of skilled union labor is a bridge too far and should be reconsidered given the tremendous capacity that exists at this site, not to mention the impressive productivity of its workers. Jamestown Metal Products has been operating at this plant since World War II. The partnership with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) has yielded some of the finest quality stainless steel commercial products.
The human cost of closing this plant, as well as the economic impact to the surrounding area, are reasons enough to find a more sensible solution to any challenges Jamestown Metal Products or Institutional Casework Inc. may face. Both of us, as well as local leaders across the region, stand ready to work with you to reverse the decision to close this facility and instead protect the jobs of these skilled workers and the legacy of Jamestown Metal Products while strengthening the competitiveness of the company.
We look forward to working productively and collaboratively with you to find a solution to this critical situation. Please feel free to reach out to our offices with any ideas or questions that you may have.