Leaders React to Sikorsky Layoffs
Big Flats (WENY) - Sikorsky executives relayed some devastating news to nearly 600 of its Southern Tier workers today. They'll be closing both facilities in Big Flats. County leaders say they were even planning to attend meetings that would add to Sikorsky's business locally. Both Southern Tier Economic Development president George Miner and County Executive Tom Santulli said they had no idea these closures were coming.
“I was absolutely shocked that they had made a decision and I think its happened very quickly I'm not even sure the local folks even knew prior to maybe last night.”
Santulli says he was driving down the highway when he was blind sided by a call from Congressman Reed's office with the news of the closures.
“There are local businesses that supply Sikorsky there are hotels there are restaurants there are retail stores it is all of the above when you take roughly 35 million dollars out of the economy its going to have a huge ripple effect.”
George Miner, President of Southern Tier Economic Development says the closures will have a ripple effect on other businesses in the region.
“We always talk about the multiply impact to create new manufacturing jobs in the area will this has the same impact. When we lose manufacturing jobs so there are going to be people that are going to lose their jobs in retail places and residential places," Miner said.
An official statement from Sikorsky cites "declining defense budgets" and global economic weakness as reasons for the plant closing.
The Southern Tier is losing a $35 million a year business, but county leaders are more concerned about the workers and their future.
“I feel so bad for all those people who have worked there for so long and have done a great job we are going to have to work as hard as we can to see what we can do,” says Santulli.
Sikorsky says it plans to provide transition support to its employees.