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.