“It saddens my heart to say this, but in the next one to five years, most of us will retire with a pension of less than 1,000 a month after working 30, 35, even 40 years or more. We cannot let this happen to the younger employee coming behind us…Our senior employees deserve all the increases and benefits they can get in the next five years. This can only happen if labor and management can work together for a common goal to keep jobs at Winchester.”
-Nate McClam, candidate for President of Local 609, in a letter dated October 24, 2001
When the U.S. Repeating Arms Company declared bankruptcy in 1989, it was purchased by the Herstal Group, Belgian arms manufacturers. Whatever “partnership” may have existed between the Winchester plant and its community of workers did not reemerge in the 21st century. The Herstal Group closed the New Haven plant in March of 2006, throwing its remaining 198 employees out of work.