09.05.13

SCHUMER SECURES COMMITMENT FROM FTA TO SAVE 50 JOBS AT BUS-MAKER COACH EQUIPMENT NEW FEDERAL REGULATOINS COULD HAVE CANCELLED MAJOR BUS CONTRACTS FOR PENN YAN COMPANY

brCoach Equipment in Penn Yan Had Hired 40 Employees to Work on Expected Contracts, But Contracts were Threatened by New FTA Regs; Coach Would Have Had to Lay-Off Up To 50 Workers if Contracts were Cancelled As PlannedbrbrbrCoach Equipment in Penn Yan Had Hired 40 Employees to Work on Expected Contracts, But Contracts were Threatened by New FTA Regs; Coach Would Have Had to Lay-Off Up To 50 Workers if Contracts were Cancelled As PlannedbrbrbrIn Personal Appeal to Administrator Rogoff, Schumer

After a personal call to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Rogoff, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the FTA has agreed to grandfatherin new regulations that will save an estimated 50 jobs at Penn Yan bus manufacturer Coach & Equipment.  Coach & Equipment is a small bus manufacturer that had nearly doubled the size of its union manufacturing workforce this year by hiring 40 additional fulltime workers in order to meet the demand of new bus orders over the remainder of 2013 - contracts which had been immediately cancelled due to the new FTA regulations that took effect in July 2013.  Before Schumer's intervention, Coach & Equipment would have had to layoff about 50 employees, nearly 50% of its manufacturing workforce, had the contracts remained cancelled.  But today Schumer explained that FTA Administrator Rogoff has heeded his call and confirmed that Coach & Equipment would be granted an exemption from these new regulations to allow them the rest of 2013 to finish up already agreedupon orders from bus authorities in states like Massachusetts and Maryland, and maintain their current workforce.

 

Schumer also noted that with this new opportunity, Coach will be able to move forward with plans to expand into a new 10,000 square foot satellite facility at Keuka Business Park.

 

"I am pleased the FTA has heeded my call to grant Coach & Equipment an exemption from new regulations that had threatened 50 jobs and would have essentially put the company into 'reverse,'" said Schumer.  "I have nothing against the new FTA regulations, but they unfairly delayed or disallowed agreements that were already in place, and threatened workers who had already been hired.  Allowing these agreements to move forward, and giving the industry time to comply with the brand new regulations, was a smart and practical decision by the FTA, and I thank Administrator Rogoff.  Now, Coach & Equipment, and 50 Penn Yan employees are back in the driver's seat for the expansion of their production this year."

 

Coach & Equipment makes small paratransit buses for public bus authorities and is one of the largest employers in Yates County.  Earlier this year, Coach had rehired 40 UAW union workers based on new bus orders it expected to receive totaling $25 million, from customers, specifically bus authorities in states like Massachusetts and Maryland.  For the past several years, the FTA has permitted other states and bus authorities to purchase new buses through the State of Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture, which meets all the federal procurement regulations, by piggybagging on their contract.  The State of Massachusetts and Maryland had planned to purchase Coach buses via the Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture since they were members of the Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture consortium.

 

But in July, the FTA changed its policy to bar states who had been members of the consortium from purchasing buses through Minnesota's federal contract, instead requiring them to seek their own procurement contracts, which could take a significant amount of time to set up.  In the interim, the purchase orders Coach had received would have been put on hold, forcing them to layoff potentially 50 employees, or half its current workforce.  Coach reached out to Senator Schumer to request his assistance in order to stave off the potential job cuts.

 

In a personal call to Administrator Rogoff, Schumer argued that states needed time to comply with the new policy, and that while they do so, the companies who had already secured purchase orders like Coach Bus should not be punished.  Schumer pressed him to grandfather the policy in for Coach Bus, as they had done for one of Coach's competitors, so that they may complete the orders they already received and keep the new hires they made in anticipation of the contracts.  Today Schumer announced that the FTA would comply with his request and grant Coach an exemption for their current contracts, taking 50 jobs off the chopping block.  Specifically the FTA will allow any state that was a member of the Minnesota Cooperative Purchasing Venture consortium prior to the FTA's July 2013 policy change, to be allowed to complete any contemplated bus order through the remainder of 2013.

 

Coach & Equipment Manufacturing Corp. is well known for making the "sturdy workhorse" of the midsized bus industry, manufacturing small and midsized buses for public bus authorities. Their bus building roots go back to the late 1890's, first as Whitfield Body Builders (1895) and then as Penn Yan Bodies in 1928. In 1948, former president of Penn Yan Bodies founded Coach & Equipment Manufacturing Corp., with a focus on small buses.  Coach's new 85,000 square foot stateoftheart manufacturing plant is located in Penn Yan, New York, situated on the north end of Keuka Lake.



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