An Ilion, New York, gun plant that started in 1828 is set to close. Owner RemArms, the successor to historic gunmaker Remington Arms, is moving operations to Georgia.
Of the factory’s workers, 270 are represented by the United Mine Workers of America, which was notified of the decision to move by the company in a letter Thursday.
The plant is slated to close on March 4, with layoffs taking place from that date until March 18, according to Utica’s Observer-Dispatch.
Around 309 people work at the factory, the largest employer in town, Ilion Mayor John Stephens told WAMC radio.
RemArms didn’t specify where the new factory will be in Georgia but did say cost of operations, maintenance and insurance were the main reasons for the move, according to the Observer-Dispatch.
The union decried the decision.
“The workers in Ilion enabled RemArms to rise from the ashes of the Remington Arms bankruptcy in 2020-21. … Merry Christmas from RemArms. The simple fact is that RemArms will never be able to match the experience and dedication of the workers in Central New York, who for generations worked in this plant and kept this company alive,” UMWA International President Cecil Roberts said in a statement.
Remington began making guns in the region in 1816, starting with flintlock rifles. The Ilion site dates to 1828, with much of its infrastructure built in the early 20th century, according to The Associated Press.
The Ilion plant is the longest-operating gun factory in America, according to Outdoor Life magazine.
Local officials mourned the move.
“It’s shocking because, you know, it’s like, cold water hitting you in the face,” Mr. Stephens said, adding that there is “disappointment not with the company, but with New York state.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York Republican, also blamed state leadership, saying in a statement, “It is because of New York Democrats’ unconstitutional gun grab policies that the oldest gun manufacturer in the country has been run out of the state.”