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New Era Cap to Keep Derby Plant, Close Alabama

In a decision that will keep New Era local, saving some 330 jobs and creating more, there are still worker concessions to negotiate with union members this coming Tuesday. 

Governor David Paterson and Senator Charles Schumer played a large role in keeping the 90-year-old hat manufacturer in WNY with $3 million in Empire State Development assistance and other incentives.  The Derby plant, opened in 1960, has employees with seniority over the 12-year-old Demopolis, Alabama plant, but in the shift, new jobs will be created here that Demopolis workers will have first dibs on.  This will also allow New Era to recall workers who were previously laid off.
Preceded by the November announcement of an upcoming New Era plant closing in Jackson Mississippi, it was a toss between whether Derby or Demopolis would be the last plant standing, but in the end, the New York incentives outweighed those offered by Alabama.
More details of the incentives offered, details of which are still being hammered out, can be seen in this Buffalo News story by George Pyle.  
The final result of keeping the Derby plant open will mean more jobs and the possibility of an influx of new residents from the southern plant closings.  As the economy strengthens and consumer demand increases, New Era stands to be a bigger regional economic generator than ever before.
Top Image: New Era founder Ehrhardt Koch in 1924 from the New Era archive.
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