Mayor briefs alders on U.S. Repeating Arms
(3/17/2006) Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. briefed alderpersons representing the Newhallville area on the status of U.S. Repeating Arms Co.
The City is pursuing two strategies. One is to ask Herstal, the Belgium-based owner of U.S. Repeating Arms, to transfer its interest in the facility, the inventory and the intellectual property to the City in exchange for a waiver of the financial obligations owed to the City, the union and Science Park. “If Herstal is willing to do this, it would help the City move ahead smoothly in finding a new user for the site. We have several interested companies,” DeStefano told the alders.
The second strategy is to convince Olin not to allow the Winchester brand name to leave New Haven. Olin controls the Winchester brand name. “We have asked that Herstal not renew the Winchester license now, or for a term of not less than 10 years,” the Mayor said. “We also have been in conversations with the president of Olin, and have enlisted help at the highest levels, including from Senators Dodd and Lieberman and Congresswoman DeLauro in communicating to Olin how important the Winchester name is to New Haven and to the U.S. I am optimistic that Olin shares our belief that the Winchester name should continue to be a U.S. brand.”
“Winchester has operated in New Haven for 140 years, and is an American icon,” the Mayor said. “The 186 workers here are part of that history and we will continue to focus efforts on creating a future for these employees.”
The Mayor provided copies of correspondence between the City and Herstal and said the most optimistic signal from Herstal is that the company intends to honor its financial obligations and “leave New Haven in an honorable and responsible fashion.” DeStefano also said that the City is working with DeLauro and Dodd to ensure that U.S. Repeating Arms Co. employees take advantage of the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, which provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose hours of work and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports.