BAE Systems armaments facility in Fayette to close
The military's M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M109 self-propelled howitzers — visible through the chain-link fence along Route 119 in Lemont Furnace, across from Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus — soon will be gone.
BAE Systems announced on Thursday that the plant, part of the Bradley Industrial Base for nearly 20 years, will close by Dec. 31, because of the “planned completion of existing contracts managed at the Fayette site and no prospects of future work at the facility,” according to the company's press release.
Stephanie Bissell Serkhoshian, spokesperson for BAE systems, said the closing will mean the loss of 78 full-time and 35 contract jobs at the BAE Systems Land & Armaments Fayette facility.
“The plant closure in no way reflects upon the work and dedication of the employees,” according to the release.
“The downturn in defense spending has had a severe impact on the manufacturing base throughout the country, including the Bradley Industrial Base,” wrote Serkhoshian in an email. “This facility is a part of the Bradley Industrial Base, which is at significant risk of experiencing even further cuts and impacts to jobs and communities across the country.
“This is an unfortunate business decision we've had to make and are doing everything we can to prevent this from continuing to happen across the Bradley Industrial Base.”
Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, in whose district the plant is located, reacted on Thursday.
“The closing of the BAE Systems facility in Uniontown is yet another example of President Obama's sequester damaging the livelihood of Southwestern Pennsylvanians,” Shuster said through his staff. “The employees of BAE Systems were truly patriots, working to ensure that our war fighters are provided with the highest quality equipment. I encourage all of those affected by this closing to contact my office for any assistance we can provide in moving forward.”
Two employees at the plant were willing to voice their opinions.
Sharon Kosisko, 42, of Connellsville, an administrative assistant, has worked at the plant for nine years. She will not relocate to another BAE facility.
“I will not go that path,” she said Thursday afternoon, adding that she will have to find another job locally. “Personally I'm very sad. I've made a lot of good friends. We're like a small family. Everybody knows everyone.”
Does she blame the closing on problems with the Obama administration?
“Well, I believe our customer is the Army,” Kosisko noted. “I have two daughters in the National Guard. These are innocents. They go out and get banged up. That's my personal opinion.”
Another worker, Marilyn Tacconi, 59, of Scottdale, a support specialist, has worked at the plant for 15 years. She said she probably would not take a transfer.
“We knew it was coming, but the announcement is a reality check,” she said, holding back tears. “It's been a good 15 years, but it's sad. It's emotional, a tough day for us here. I've made a lot of friends.”
Any feeling about the political situation? “Not that I'd like to voice,” she said.
Attempts to contact other local, county and federal representatives were not successful.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 projects suggested for block grant funding in Connellsville
- Puppeteer from Connellsville native has talent
- Dunbar authority to sign railroad accord
- Engine roar lures fans to Fayette County Fair Demolition Derby
- New Fayette County assistant DA named
- Barn fire no obstacle to opening of farm store near Dawson
- Record golf ball collection drives Connellsville native
- Fayette County firefighters group elects new president
- Fayette County stabbing suspect accused in 2009 attack
- Lawyer wants Fayette wind turbines shut down
- Pilgrims ready to return to Mt. St. Macrina