NYAB shifts some manufacturing to North Carolina

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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New York Air Brake LLC will be moving its Watertown, N.Y.-based peripheral product assembly to NYAB operations in Salisbury, N.C. The change is part of what the company describes as “a realignment strategy [of] North American manufacturing operations.”

NYAB told employees of the move at a quarterly Town Hall meeting on Aug. 17. The transition will begin in 4Q17 and is expected to wrap up by the close of 1Q18. The company employs more than 425 workers at its Starbuck Avenue facility. The shift of products impacts approximately 40 of those Watertown-based jobs. NYAB said it is making the move in phases “to minimize disruption to customers.”

“One thing must be made very clear: The decision to move production is in no way reflective of the commitment, nor the performance of, our dedicated shop floor employees,” said New York Air Brake President and CEO Michael Hawthorne. “Instead, it is consistent within our overall strategic plan to optimize our manufacturing locations, and strongly reflects our long-standing approach to operate in a total cost-competitive environment.

“Despite significant productivity gains resulting from the dedication and hard work of all our employees, two significant factors contributed to this move. First is the globalization of the company’s business, which places greater pressure to reduce costs to a level that allows NYAB to compete effectively in the worldwide marketplace. Second is the strategic direction New York Air Brake has established across the organization to align its factories with its product lines and services to achieve planned productivity, flexibility, and efficiency improvements necessary in Watertown if we are going to be successful long-term.”

The Watertown facility is the sole location for the design, testing and manufacture of freight car brakes. “Retaining the more complex assemblies aligned with this work enables the company to create a high-tech manufacturing hub,” Hawthorne noted. “Shifting peripheral product production to NYAB’s Premtec facility in Salisbury, N.C. consolidates the less complex assemblies into another manufacturing hub, while at the same time improving NYAB’s proximity to its customers.”

“We are committed to making every effort to ensure that the needs of the affected employees will be met,” said Hawthorne. “To that end, we will be meeting with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union leadership to discuss the effects of the company’s decision, including providing severance pay and other benefits to union employees. We have also enlisted the aid of outplacement and governmental agencies that will assist those employees impacted in securing alternate employment opportunities.”





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