Montana Rifleman Closing, Flathead Job Service Looks To Help - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Montana Rifleman Closing, Flathead Job Service Looks To Help

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KALISPELL - Almost 100 people will lose their jobs in the Flathead.

The Remington Outdoor Company just announced they're closing many of their plants across the country, including the gun barrel manufacturer in Kalispell.

In an email, officials from the Remington Outdoor Company, the parent company of the famous arms maker, said they're consolidating and focusing on their facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

This means in a few weeks the 60 to 80 people left at the Montana Rifleman plant won't have work.

The company says it's a "strategic business decision" and that they're "working hard to retain as many people from the affected facilities as possible."

"We want to be able to help them with whatever we can at this time," said Laura Gardner, the workforce supervisor at the Flathead Job Service.

The announcement about Montana Rifleman actually comes at a pretty good time. The Flathead Job Service says they have more jobs listed now than they have in a long time, and the tourist season is just about to kick off, meaning people who are getting laid off might have a few options locally.

"There is a silver lining," said Gardner, "I don't know if the people are going to be wanting to relocate or if they're going to be wanting to stay locally, but there are some opportunities out there."

Right now, the Flathead Job Service has just under 600 jobs listed, but they're not just going to take this lying down. A cutback of this size means the job service will go out and meet with the people who are losing their jobs.

They'll help with everything from sprucing up a resume and filling out job applications, to signing up for unemployment insurance and knowing where to find health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Remington Arms is also closing two plants in New York that make Bushmaster rifles and R-1 pistols, as well as a Minnesota plant that makes AR-15's. This production will move to Huntsville as well.

Overall, it doesn't look like this loss will really put a dent in the Flathead's economy.

"Because the economy is doing so well right now, I don't think we're going to see a huge ripple effect on that," said Gardner.

No one from Montana Rifleman was able to comment on the closure.

Gardner says she's been working with human resources over at the plant. They're planning on having an initial meeting with the workers sometime next week.

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