Congressman Tom Reed is pressing Sikorsky leadership to provide details about the closing and future of affected workers as a result of last week's decision to shut down its operations in Big Flats. "I have talked with many affected workers since the announcement," Reed said. "They are understandably anxious and deserve answers."
Reed has spoken with management of both Sikorsky and its parent company, United Technologies Corporation, and will be meeting with company leadership. "We are demanding they reconsider their decision to abandon our very productive local workforce," Reed said. He also noted that Sikorsky has invested millions of dollars in multiple facilities in Chemung County and questioned the competence of management asking, "Why would they choose to walk away from such a valuable workforce and world-class facilities?"
Reed has reached out to the union and vowed to stand with the affected workforce through impact bargaining negotiations and to fight for additional retraining resources for the local workers. He also pledged to fight to ensure that all taxpayer dollars Sikorsky is obligated to pay back as a result of this decision are paid in full. "If Sikorsky doesn't reconsider, we will make sure our workers and taxpayers are fully compensated," Reed stated.
In a broader sense, Reed called Sikorsky's decision another example of why private sector manufacturing and job creation must be encouraged by government rather than discouraged by uncompetitive tax policy. The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. Over-regulation, and the lack of a domestic energy policy also hurt the U.S. when competing for manufacturing jobs.
In addition to the meetings, Reed has also begun conversations with other aerospace and manufacturing companies so that they are aware of the available facilities and local work force. "In the Southern Tier we have a work ethic which is second to none," he said. "Other companies will recognize the quality of our local workforce and fill the void left by Sikorsky. We won't stop until new jobs replace the ones lost."