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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / New York Air Brake to open plant in Mexico, lay off workers in New York (updated)

New York Air Brake to open plant in Mexico, lay off workers in New York (updated)

By | September 30, 2021

Loss of 125 jobs at Watertown, N.Y., plant part of plan that will also see changes at plants in North Carolina, Missouri

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Large white manufacturing building
Large white manufacturing building
New York Air Brake announced it would lay off 125 workers at its Watertown, N.Y., plant, and begin manufacturing in Mexico. (New York Air Brake)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — New York Air Brake will launch a manufacturing operation in Acuna, Mexico, while laying off 125 workers of the approximately 400 workers at its Watertown, N.Y., plant, the company announced Wednesday.

On Thursday, the Machinists Union, which represents the 125 workers to be laid off, announced it would fight the move.

About 50 to 60 workers in Watertown will be laid off in January with the remainder of the jobs eliminated in March, the Watertown Daily Times reports. Employees were told of the plans on Wednesday afternoon.

The company said in a press release that it would “shift capacity and production scope” at its Salisbury, N.C., and Nixa, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo.. plants, while completing “a substantial manufacturing focus in Watertown to become a machining operation.”

Over 70% of the company’s original-equipment clients are producing railcars in Mexico, with that number continuing to increase, company CEO Ulisses Camilo said in the release. “Our strategic direction for manufacturing has long been to capitqlize on our locations and core competencies, always aiming to alight production closer to the point of final assembly.”

Those losing their jobs will receive a severance and benefits package and job placement services, with the company working with placement and governmental agencies to assist those affected, Camilo said.

In its Thursday statement, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers decried the planned layoffs, with Ron Warner, the District 65 Directing Business Representatitve, saying the company’s “decision to close this plant after 130 years is concerning, but what’s even more troubling is the announcement to move these jobs to Mexico and other non-union facilities. … It’s shameful that this profitable company is ending the careers of these dedicated employees.” Brian Bryant, the union’s Eastern Territory general vice president, said,  “The IAM will commit every resource and relationship to ensure we get clear answers on why the company is moving jobs south of the border to Mexico. We will continue to work on behalf of the more than 125 workers affected by a decision that will have a devastating impact on our members, other workers in the plant, and the Watertown community. We will sit down with the company to discuss the next steps and our next course of action.”

— Updated at 7:02 p.m. CDT on Sept. 30 with union statement.




11 thoughts on “New York Air Brake to open plant in Mexico, lay off workers in New York (updated)

    1. Exactly John, surprised this article doesn’t have a company statement like “but it’s for the shareholders”.

  1. With this announcement it seems like they should also be announcing a corresponding name change soon. “New York Air Brake” doesn’t really fit anymore.

  2. Another one bites the dust.
    NY state’s obscene taxes and general anti-business polices drive another employer out.
    Not just that, Watertown is less than desirable for a factory – cold, remote.

    1. I doubt the cold part is an issue because you can easily replace that with hot and now instead of heating the production floor you are cooling it. The remote part does seem a big part of it if 70% production is headed to Mexico it means a significant shipping cost. Their is a reason why states fight and give big subsidies to have an auto assembly plant because it usually means other production and warehousing follows it.
      But to everyone else points, Their is no real commitment on American Manufacturers to find ways to keep jobs if they find a cheaper way somewhere else. This is just another of many examples.

      I don’t know what to think about taxes. On corporate tax side any company of any size and revenues are already driving their effective tax rate into single digits. The big corporation effective tax rate on average last year was like 8% or so. I feel for the mom and pop, main street small business but not these type of Corporations when they cry for more subsidies or about a meaningless tax code.

      As far as taxing imports, mixed feelings because the rate has to be driven high enough to make it work but also means real pain. Just think of the China tariffs started by Trump and most of them still kept in place by Biden. Yet, we still have boatloads of stuff in containers sitting off our ports. I don’t think it matters anymore because we given up paying premium for quality long lasting for more stuff, maybe even in air brakes for rail cars for all know.

  3. This is where a split “sales” tax would come in play. Imported products sold in the U.S. pay a 50% sales tax, those manufactured in the U.S. pay 15%…but no one in D.C. could conceive of such a program.

    1. Actually such deals are in place. When GM started the importation of the Australian Holden Commodore as the Pontiac GTO and Chevy SS, it got a special import tariff waiver because the cars all contained a US made LS V8. When the Aussie dollar devalued, it made such a arrangement uneconomic.

      But manufacturers do actively track where their products export and then re-import through a finished product. Some companies, if large, have entire staff to track the tax credits to report back to the Feds on.

  4. It’s all about “efficiency”. When people say “efficiency”, for some reason, I hear “unemployment”… What’s worse is when a government allows itself to be “inefficient” in competition with other governments. Either domestic or foreign. Governments are only now realizing that they are in competition against each other when it comes to jobs. As with business, if governments can’t -or won’t- compete successfully, they fail.

  5. Nothing GOOD comes from Mexico or China. It is all poor quality junk. . The Chevy SS, Caprice, and Pontic G8, were Holden commodores. Good, fast cars with Chevy LS engines.

  6. This should be of NO surprise to anyone with the threat by the current administration to raise taxes and increase regulation.

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