Significant progress was made in the effort to resume operations at the famed Remington firearm factory in Ilion, NY, when on April 2 the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced it has reached a letter of agreement that will pave the way for reopening the plant.
The document formalizes language between the union and RemArms—owned by Roundhill Group—that recognizes the union as the hourly employees’ collective bargaining agent when they return to work, establishes a recall process for more former Remington workers to return to jobs, and sets up a 60-day time frame for the parties to begin negotiating a full collective bargaining agreement that will be in effect upon ratification.
“This letter of agreement was a long time in the making,” said UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts. “It is the first step toward reestablishing a normal relationship between the union and the operators of that plant, one that will allow the professional craftspeople who have built firearms in Ilion to return to doing what they do better than anyone.”
The factory closed and workers were let go when Remington Outdoor filed bankruptcy last year. The Ilion factory and firearm-related assets were subsequently purchased by Roundhill Group and just before the holiday season it sent letters to 200 of the plant’s former employees asking if they would report back to work on Feb. 15. The date proved optimistic after the union raised several concerns, including whether the returning staff was selected by seniority.
Subsequently announced reopening dates passed without resumption of operations. The April 2 announcement indicates that may change soon although Roberts said, “There is more to do here. The company needs product to sell and we fully understand and support that. We are pleased that UMWA members will soon be going back to work at the plant, if the company holds to its expected timetable. The next step is to negotiate a full collective bargaining agreement that the members can ratify and then get operations fully back to normal.”