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Remington Arms retirees reunite

By GARY LIBERATORE

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - About 300 Remington Arms retirees gathered at the Herkimer V.F.W. Hall Friday afternoon.

Retiree Pat Goggin, who worked for the company for 42 years, started the annual reunion when he retired more than four years ago.

"We spent more time with those people at work, than we did with our families," Goggin said.

Goggin says that the gathering has grown from 20 retirees the first year, to about 300 this year. The oldest is Stanley Vanalstyne, who is 90 years old.

"I worked 38 years, I've been retired 32," Vanalstyne said.

Vanalstyne says he worked on everything from cutting to grinding, and wouldn't have rather worked for another company.

People at the reunion say it's so nice to see faces they haven't seen in years.

George Land says he has been enjoying retirement for about 10 years now, after working for Remington for 35 years.

"I went in there, $1.95 an hour in 1968," he said.

Land says he and his wife brought five kids up on that wage, and he says it was a darn good wage with a pension which helped him enjoy the retirement he is enjoying today,

All of these former workers know that workers now, within companies all across the country, are dealing with pension reductions or even eliminations, and the same goes with health benefits.

Goggin says the 'Good 'ol Days' of retiring with a good pension are slowly eroding.

"I got out in a good time," he said. "Now they've changed the pensions and everything. All companies have done it. It's not just Remington, they've all done it."

Despite a trend of jobs leaving communities across the country, Remington Arms has been doing pretty well recently, actually hiring more than 100 new workers each of the past two years.

The folks at the annual retirees party say Remington Arms is one of the only remaining large manufacturing companies left, not only in Central New York, but throughout the state.

Charlie Collins, who worked for Remington for 28 years, and retired as the company's Fire Chief says he is glad that Remington is standing the test of time when other companies have not.

"I know a lot of stuff has gone overseas and thank God Remington Arms has stayed here," Collins said.

Collins says if Remington were to leave, it would be devastating for all of the younger people who rely on the company for their and their family's livelihood.

"It'd be another ghost town," Collins said. "A lot of these big manufacturing cities and towns are just a rest stop on the Thruway and don't have much to offer."

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