ILION, NEW YORK –-(Ammoland.com)-According to an article on Syracuse.com, the new owners of RemArms, Roundhill Group LLC, is in hot water with the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). UMWA is a powerful union and represented former employees of Remington Arms.
Roundhill Group LLC purchased Remington’s gun factory in the Village of Ilion, NY, and the handgun barrel factory in Lenoir City, TN, for $13 million. A bankruptcy court split up the company and sold off individual parts of the firearms giant to various companies. The factory employees were under union contract until Remington furloughed most of its 701-employees strong workforce at the Ilion factory. About 600 employees were United Mine Workers of America union members.
The new owners sent job offers directly to 200 of the 600 furloughed employees and offered them “at-will” employment within RemArms.
“At-will” employment means that the owners of RemArms could fire the employees at any time without cause as long as the company didn’t terminate the worker for illegal reasons such as race or religion. According to a union spokesperson, Phil Smith, the previous union contract outlined specific reasons why the former owners could fire an employee. The union would defend the employee.
The company is waiting for the ATF to issue a federal firearms license (FFL) to the company before reopening the plant for business. According to the employment offers that RemArms Managing Partner Richmond Italia signed, the projected start date is February 15th of 2021. The union feels that the company should not contact the workers directly and be working with them instead.
The union also disagrees on how RemArms selected the employees that it offered the jobs. The union believes that RemArms have to bring back employees by seniority, but according to the union, the company did not use seniority in its decision-making process. It isn’t clear how RemArms chose the employees to bring back to the plant, and the union doesn’t know the criteria.
Kevin Fagan, an attorney for the union, said that employees would not return to work unless under the previous contract. Fagan also explained that the UMWA would not permit workers to return to work unless it was with the union’s blessings.
“As I am sure you know, our members constitute an experienced and highly productive workforce,” Fagan wrote to the management RemArms. “They worked diligently for your predecessor to manufacture world-class products and will do the same for you. However, they will not – and the UMWA will not – permit their work standards and conditions to be unilaterally imposed.”
The union claims that in Roundhill Group LLC’s deal for the plants, the company said it would abide by the union contract. Smith argues that it was one of the sale’s conditions and insinuated that the court would not have approved the deal without the union contract’s protections. Smith says that the RemArms has not claimed that the contract was invalid.
RemArms also asked the employees to give up certain legal rights. One of the rights that the union highlighted was the right to separation pay. Under the union contract, the previous owners guaranteed employees severance packages. Under the new offer, RemArms could fire employees without any severance terms.
AmmoLand could not reach anyone at RemArms for comment.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.