An amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act could prevent Siemens from closing down their Wellsville plant. Representative Tom Reed and New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have been working together to save 250 skilled jobs from leaving the state.
The amendment asks for a national security review of government business being moved like the one in Wellsville. They produce parts for the Navy like steam turbines.
Gillibrand, Reed, and Schumer have all sent letters to Siemens USA CEO Lisa Davis asking her to reconsider this decision.
Schumer said the company has agreed to save 120 jobs, but that’s not good enough.
“When Siemens took over Dresser-Rand, they came and promised me they would grow the business, not shrink it,” said Schumer. “I also made a real pitch to keep it strong in Olean. That’s their biggest facility. I think it has 1100 workers.”
Siemens, who owns the plant, was recently sold to Curtiss-Wright. They plan to move their business to Charlotte and close the Wellsville plant in phases by 2020.
Reed said there may be a national security concern in relocating the plant.
“I just can’t imagine uplifting and moving this product line, this service line elsewhere and seeing a horrific situation develop where an aircraft carrier is called to respond and protect our men and women in harm’s way and is unable to do that because of the obvious disruption in moving the supply chain to Carolina,” said Reed.
The bill has already passed through the House. Reed said he hopes the bill can be done by summer.
“Ya know we have until 2020, but I would assume that’s going to take longer to conclude,” said Reed. “Maybe we have an opportunity to make another argument to Curtiss-Wright that keeping those jobs in Wellsville is not only in the best interest of the country from a national security perspective but also in the interests of the people that are working there.”
Reed said he met with the head of Siemens USA last week and believes there is a real opportunity to keep the company in Wellsville long-term.