Reports surfaced Thursday that one of the largest employers in Central New York nearly decided to close its doors. Lockheed Martin considered pulling out of its location in the Town of Salina and it's a plan that could resurface in the future. As our Candace Hopkins explains, the push is now on to stop that from happening.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Lockheed Martin has been a staple of the Central New York economy since it merged with Martin Marietta in the 90s. But Thursday, we learned company officials have been secretly considering closing their Salina headquarters. That plan has been scrapped, but only temporarily.
In a statement, the company says it could revisit the idea down the road. It reads in part, "Given the current sequestration environment we have to look across our business and determine what actions are required to maintain our competitiveness and the health of our business. While we will continue to assess potential actions based on the potential negative impact of sequestration and other factors, we will not consider any plans that would impact the future of our Syracuse facility for at least the next year."
That revelation drew immediate reaction from local officials and lawmakers.
"I'm going to do everything I can to maintain that plant, not just for the next year, but for years and years to come," said Senator Charles Schumer. "It's too important to the Central New York economy and too important to our United States defense to close."
"They're a critical employer to the region and figuring out how to make sure that they have a long term future here in Central New York has always been a key community priority and I think is even more a community priority today," said Centerstate CEO President Rob Simpson.
Senator Schumer says the first step in keeping the company here will be offering any possible county and state incentives. Second, he wants to see the sequestration cuts reversed.
Schumer said, "If we can undo sequestration budget at the federal level, the defense department will have more money and any of the cut backs that Lockheed Martin planned will probably not go into effect."
But if a solution can't be found, Salina town officials say the impact could be devastating.
"Certainly with that money people working on their campus, many of them live in Salina and the surrounding areas and they buy their goods and services and do a lot of business in the town and if that dries up, it's a domino effect, which will impact right down to the guy who sells ice cream," said Town of Salina Supervisor Mark Nicotra.
And while the Central New York location could close, the jobs wouldn't be completely lost. They could simply be moved to another Lockheed Martin facility in another part of the country.