Tough news for the City of Auburn. One of its largest employers is shutting down operations by the end of next year. Daikin McQuay announced the news Wednesday, surprising both employees and city leaders. Iris St. Meran has more.
AUBURN, N.Y. -- No one in Auburn was prepared for the news that McQuay International would close the doors to its Auburn facility.
Auburn Mayor Michael Quill said, "There had been no indications of layoffs, closings anything of that nature. Auburn is a small community. There's very little that goes on that someone doesn't know about. This was shocking to all of us."
McQuay's Marketing VP Don Winter said the employees and union were told Wednesday the Auburn facility will close at the end of 2014. Production will be transferred to their sister facility in Fayetteville, Tennessee in April. It was just a few weeks ago, local leaders took a tour inside of the heating and air conditioning company.
Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce Andrew Fish said, "From my understanding it went very well and there was optimism on behalf local management. So I'm guessing this may have been much of a surprise to them as it is to the rest of us."
Mayor Quill says McQuay wanted to leave the area in the past, but city leaders then came up with a plan to keep them here. They hope they can do the same this time around.
"We're all in this together. None of us are giving up. We're working hard trying to resolve this issue," Quill added.
McQuay is negotiating with the union over the impact. It’s unclear how many jobs will be lost. The chamber executive director says in November 2011, about 350 people worked here.
Auburn Mayor Michael Quill issued this statement Wednesday evening:
On Wednesday February 20th the Auburn community received news that Daikin Corporation, the parent company of McQuay, plans to close their Auburn facility by the end of 2014. This news was very surprising to all of us at the local, regional, and state level.
As a result of this announcement in the afternoon of the 20th Mayor Quill convened a group of stakeholders representing the City, Cayuga County, the CNY Region, and the State to discuss the possibilities of forming and implementing a plan to keep the company from relocating these jobs out of our community and to their newly acquired Fayetteville, TN location. This group also discussed potential measures to assist the employees in finding new employment and assistance if the retention efforts were unsuccessful, which included finding jobs with other companies in Central New York that specialize in the same type of processes and systems that are currently seeking employees with their skill sets.
At this time the group is seeking more information from the company as to challenges that it faces at its and what types of resources they would need to keep the Auburn plant operational. Our community has a long history of working very well with McQuay and doing everything possible to retain them as a company in Auburn. As a team we stand ready to once again do everything within our power – from the local level all the way to the state level – to retain McQuay and the quality workers they employ. We look forward to hearing from Daikin directly on this issue.