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Smith Corona Workers Not Optimistic About Chances To Save Their Jobs With

October 6, 1992

Smith Corona Workers Not Optimistic About Chances To Save Their Jobs With AM-Senate-Filibuster

CORTLAND, N.Y. (AP) _ Smith Corona factory workers said they were one lunch-break closer to losing their jobs Tuesday after Sen. Alfonse D’Amato’s failed effort to prevent layoffs by filibustering in the Senate.

″He’s one step too late,″ said Betty Orr, an assembly-line worker for 22 years. ″If only he had done this a year ago, or even six months.

″But maybe he can get something done that will save other jobs in the country,″ she said.

″It’s all political,″ said Richard Tehan, a section chief for 36 years. ″It’s an election year, right? Where was he last year when his help could have counted?″

D’Amato, a second-term Republican who is running for re-election, was demanding legislation from Congress to save the jobs of some 875 employees of a Smith-Corona manufacturing plant in Cortland, in upstate New York about 25 miles south of Syracuse.

D’Amato was seeking to have Congress restore legislation stripped from the tax bill. He conducted a 15 1/4 -hour filibuster before relinquishing the Senate floor Tuesday and dropping the matter because the House had already adjourned.

Smith Corona stunned the community in July by announcing that it will move its manufacturing operations from Cortland to Mexico by next July.

The company blamed ″dumping″ by Brother Inc., a Japanese-owned competitor. D’Amato has charged that a provision in the 1988 trade law allowed Brother to dump its product in the United States at below-market prices. The legislation D’Amato wanted restored was aimed at closing the loophole that allowed dumping.

″It’s a shame the politicians and the business leaders have let it come to this,″ said Barbara Myers, an assembly-line worker for 42 years.

″I’d like to think D’Amato’s really trying to do something but I’m afraid my job is going to Mexico,″ she said.

Smith Corona, which began in Syracuse as L.C. Smith & Co., moved to Cortland in the early 1950s, At its peak, the company employed 4,200 people.

The company will keep 375 engineering and administrative support jobs in Cortland.

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