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Local Dresser-Rand Plant Employee Featured in National Event Highlighting the Struggles of Working Families

May 9, 2018
Press Release
Machinists Say Corporations Are Taking Tax Cuts With One Hand and Handing Out Pink Slips with the Other

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined members of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, including Western New York Dresser-Rand plant employee James Lewis, and fellow House of Representatives leaders to highlight the struggles of working families in the aftermath of the GOP tax bill. 

To access video of the remarks by Congressman Higgins & James Lewis go to: https://youtu.be/e_UAU4TEiY8?t=27m6s 

Lewis, a Dresser-Rand (Siemens) employee for 30 years,  IAM Local 1580 member and Wellsville, New York resident, was among the members of the Machinists union facing layoffs due to plant closures and consolidations. 

During the event Higgins said, “Workers, including those at Dresser-Rand, have built that company for 100 years. It was highly profitable.  A changing world economy has affected that but the commitment of the workers has not changed.  There used to be a deal in America.  Our corporate leadership believed in shared prosperity, a virtuous cycle of growth.  And that was that as they benefited, their workers benefited, the managers benefited and all those communities within which, like Wellsville, would benefit – shared prosperity.” 

Higgins, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, voted against the GOP tax bill last year, calling it a “hit on fundamental fairness” and a “fraud being perpetrated against middle America.”

Lewis said, “….This was putting 250 employees, including myself, out of a job.  But the affects go far beyond us; that 4,600 people in Wellsville, it’s going to devastate because this is about $20 million annually that is not going to be circulated in this community anymore.  What good has this corporate tax scam done for us?”  

On February 19, 2018, Siemens Government Technologies officials announced the impending sale and closure of the historic Dresser-Rand plant in Wellsville, NY. This affects nearly 260 IAM Members of Machinists Local Lodge 1580 and some 100 non-union workers in Western New York.  IAM members at Dresser-Rand produce steam turbines for government applications such as the Department of Defense nuclear power plants and propulsion aircraft and submarines for the U.S. Navy.

The Dresser-Rand sale will split between two companies.  Curtiss-Wright is purchasing the government business and services portfolio department.  The commercial Power Generation Services division is scheduled to be transferred to the Siemens facilities in Charlotte, N.C.

Dresser-Rand is the largest manufacturer in Allegany County and has been operating in Wellsville for more than 100 years. .  The first layoff notices will be issued in September 2018, with more layoffs in February and March 2019 and then again in 2020. 

Video of the full event is available on House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/NancyPelosi/videos/10156698828544384/