June 15, 2006 – Cheap imports from China carried a high price for 186 members at the iconic Winchester rifle facility after parent company US Repeating Arms closed the New Haven plant on March 31, 2006.
Former Winchester workers spoke out at a Connecticut AFL-CIO rally in support of an unfair trade practices petition filed by the AFL-CIO to force the Bush Administration to take action against China’s violation of workers’ rights. Those violations, including slave-labor conditions and extensive use of child labor, give China an unfair competitive advantage and cost millions of North American jobs. Under the Trade Act of 1974, the U.S. has the ability to take action against China, but the Bush Administration has refused to do so.
“March 31 was a very sad day; 186 jobs, that’s 186 families,” Local 609 President and 40-year Winchester employee John Reynolds told the New Haven Register. “We are looking for our representatives in Washington D.C. to do something.”
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced legislation to stem the tide of manufacturing jobs going overseas and has urged the Bush Administration to take tougher action.
“The closure of the Winchester plant was a blow to both the generations of workers who were the backbone of the plant as well as the surrounding community,” DeLauro said. “Yet, the closure of this New Haven institution represents something much bigger — it is a symbol of the Bush Administration’s failed trade policies and its impact on families right here at home.”
“All these jobs going overseas, what is going on here?” asked 10-year Winchester employee Donald Harris. “Somewhere it has to stop.”