Update (Jan. 21, 2023): While the BorgWarner spokesperson quoted below initially said the merger and closing plan would be completed by Q3 2023, another official, Michelle Collins, corrected that timeline after publication. He said they plan to have the closing completed by Q4 2024, giving the company a full year.
Original story (Jan. 20, 2023):
ITHACA, NY – One of Tompkins County’s largest providers is cutting back on domestic workers, The voice of the Ithaca he confirmed. Over the next two years, automaker BorgWarner will close one of its two plants at its Warren Road campus near downtown Lansing and the Ithaca border.
The sealing plant is used for the production of the valvetrain. The technical center and another plant in the area, for chain production, will remain operational, but a wide range of jobs may be affected by the decision.
“The company has decided to consolidate its valvetrain manufacturing facility at another existing BorgWarner facility and close its valvetrain research technology center on its Ithaca, NY campus,” said Alexis Grimshaw, public relations specialist. “BorgWarner plans to continue investing in the product in New York and continues to invest in the United States to bring the success of the technology to market.”
Grimshaw said the merger and closing are “expected to be completed by [Q4 2024].” BorgWarner currently employs about 1,500 workers in Tompkins County, the third largest employer in the county behind Cornell University and Ithaca College. The company’s presence in Tompkins County stems from the Morse Chain Company, which was founded in Trumansburg in the late 1800s. The company joined BorgWarner in the 1920s, and its presence in the area has been steady ever since.
Grimshaw said the company has already announced its intentions to make “market-driven restructuring to adjust its value structure to remain competitive in the current environment, including restructuring, closure, or consolidation of production and / or technical centers in all major regions” and this was the result of that plan.
Tompkins County Legislature Mike Sigler and Ithaca County Economic Development Executive Director Heather McDaniel both lamented the closings and job losses. The full transition involves moving part of the work to an existing location in Mexico.
The final number of jobs affected is not known, but McDaniel said it could be “a quarter of the base employment over the next two years,” although with retirements and regular incomes, the number will be less than that, according to McDaniel. . The total number could take two years or more to actually determine. Sigler said he was told about 280 jobs could be lost.
Unfortunately, businesses must make decisions that maintain their competitiveness nationally or globally, McDaniel said. “The truth is they couldn’t keep that part of the business competitive [New York State]. We can’t just throw money away so they can make a profit, they had to make decisions.”
Notification to employees of this decision began this week. Grimshaw said the company is “committed to ensuring the smoothest transition possible for any affected employees while continuing to support our customers and suppliers in the coming months.”
McDaniel said he contacted New York State and the federal government about incentives to keep the shuttered factory open, but to no avail.
“It’s important to look on the bright side,” McDaniel said. “It’s not good that jobs will be lost, but in the long run, it makes part of their business more competitive. We are pleased to have BorgWarner as one of our largest employers in Tompkins County and will continue to work with them to help them make their business profitable here.”