Ilion, N.Y. - Energy filled the Village Hall in Ilion on Sunday; a lot of nervous energy.
Union leaders with The United Mine Workers Local 717, which represents the former Remington workers who lost their jobs this fall during Remington's Bankruptcy, held a meeting late Sunday morning into early Sunday afternoon at the Ilion Village Hall.
Union leaders learned that about 200 of the laid off 585 workers received a letter this week from Roundhill Group, the new owners who purchased Remington's Ilion assets.
Union leaders say the letter talked to each employee about being rehired and at what salary, but also asked them to waive their rights to any severance payments and other benefits from their former employer, Remington Arms Company, LLC..
Former Remington workers have been picketing for the past several weeks, over their loss of severance and other benefits from the former owners under their union contract, which in many cases is an awful lot of money that these workers have been counting on to live on and for retirement eventually.
The workers have until 5:00 Monday, December 21st to make their decision.
Some of the workers who received a letter from Roundhill Group and some of workers who didn't receive a letter were in attendance at Sunday's meeting to learn more about what's going on.
The workers did not speak about their quick upcoming decision.
UMWA local Vice President Keith Milligan said he is not sure how the new company went about choosing the 200 workers they sent letters to, he says he thought it was supposed to go exclusively by seniority, "When they're laid off, seniority, number one guy all the way down to the last guy. That's how they're supposed to run their seniority, but it seems like they haven't done that, but without a list we can't tell."
Milligan says it was expected that the new company would go through the union during the hiring process, "Oh yes, we should've been notified if there was going to ever be a list. It seems like they have done this for a while now and they haven't said a word to us."
Milligan says the first word of letters came on Thursday, "My phone's been ringing off the hook since Thursday."
Milligan says the hope by Roundhill Group is that workers would be back to work on February 15th, although there is no word that Roundhill Group has been granted its Federal Firearms License yet. Miligan added, "I think they expect to have it by then."
As far as the selected employees who did receive letters form the new company having to sign off on severance and owed vacation time, etc..., Milligan says that is something he believes can still be fought for for those employees even if they sign off, "If they sign off, it doesn't seem to be very legal, but we'll let that go as long as they can get their job going and we can fight the fight within the building itself too."
We reached out to the Roundhill Group on Sunday.
Roundhill Group Partner Richmond Italia released the following statement regarding the inclusion of the signing off on severance and other benefits under the prior owner, Remington Arms Company Inc.., "Personally I'm not asking any ex-Remington employees to give up any rights they may have against the old company or estate. The reality is there was a insistence from the estate that that language be put in the offer letter. My lawyer suggested that we comply with their request, all I could say is that if the employees give up that right or not, it will not affect our decision on hiring them."
Many of the workers at Sunday's union meeting say they will be out once again Monday morning at 11:00 A.M. in front of the former Remington Arms main building in Ilion to again fight for what they say is owed to them by their former employer under the union contract.
Milligan says the workers who have been sent the letter by Roundhill Group can continue to join the protest and he says they will not face any repercussions by Roundhill Group, "They're not discriminating against picketers. We've already talked about that in our meetings that the people that have been picking who've also got letters as well, so I don't think that's wrong for them to picket or think they're going to be zoned out, not gonna happen."