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Senators Urge City Business To Remain Open

U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday called on Institutional Casework Inc. to reconsider the closing of Jamestown Metal Products. The manufacturer was slated to lay off about 80 employees and close by Sept. 4 P-J file photo by Eric Tichy

New York’s two U.S. Senators are urging Institutional Casework Inc. to reconsider closing Jamestown Metal Products.

In a joint news release Friday morning, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand noted that the Jamestown-based manufacturer, slated to end operation by Sept. 4, remains open as of this week. The senators, both Democrats, are hoping the company will “work with local officials to overcome financial challenges the company may be facing.”

In May, Institutional Casework announced it would be laying off about 80 employees and closing its 178 Blackstone Ave. plant, which produces painted and stainless steel furniture and equipment.

“While we understand that Institutional Casework Inc. has fallen on hard times during the pandemic, the human cost of closing Jamestown Metal Products is simply too high,” Schumer said. “Jamestown’s closure will have ripple effects throughout the entire region, weakening Western New York’s ability to rebuild after the pandemic. I urge Institutional Casework Inc. to rethink their plans to close Jamestown Metal Products and work with the community to find a solution that will help both the company and the region thrive beyond this crisis.”

Added Gillibrand: “This pandemic has put enormous strain on historic businesses across New York and unfortunately, Institutional Casework is no exception. However, closing Jamestown Metal Products means the region will lose 80 more jobs at a time when people need them the most. To rebuild a strong economy, we must keep people employed and create good paying jobs, which Jamestown Metal Products has helped do in Western New York for decades. I hope that Institutional Casework reevaluates their plans to close this facility so that the community can recover and rebuild Jamestown Metal Products stronger than ever.”

A notice filed with the state Department of Labor, which initially indicated that layoffs would begin in May, states that no layoffs have taken place.

A message to Institutional Casework on Friday was not returned.

“The working families of Jamestown and the surrounding communities built this company,” said IAMAW Eastern Territory General Vice President Jimmy Conigliaro, Sr. “Generations of dedicated workers, their families, and communities stood by Jamestown Metal Products during wars, conflicts, and economic disasters. Leaving these workers high and dry during the pandemic is selling them, their families and all of these communities out to the lowest bidder, and it is despicable.”

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