20 Years Ago: Pataki Said 4,000 IBM Endicott Jobs Were Protected
It's been two decades since Governor George Pataki showed up in Endicott to try to reassure thousands of IBM workers that their jobs would be safe for years to come.
On July 1, 2002, employees at the "Birthplace of IBM" learned the company was selling off its manufacturing unit in Endicott to a group of Broome County investors in a state-sponsored deal.
Pataki - speaking before many workers at Heritage Circle off North Street - boldly proclaimed that "all 4,000 jobs are going to be protected and remain here in Endicott for at least the next ten years."
The statement was met with applause and skepticism by many in the crowd.
IBM earlier had indicated it was preparing to sell its microelectronics division. Pataki and Binghamton-area elected officials scrambled to try to save the 2,000 Endicott jobs tied to the unit.
The agreement resulted in the creation of Endicott Interconnect Technologies, which bought the business. Huron Real Estate Associates acquired the 130-acre complex of dozens of buildings in Endicott and Endwell.
Pataki said the jobs in that division along with thousands of other IBM positions at the site would be protected. He said "IBM has agreed to sign a ten-year lease to stay in this facility with Endicott Interconnect Technologies, so the other 2,000 jobs that IBM has... it's there intent to keep those here as well." The governor added: "It's rare that you get a ten-year commitment from a global giant like IBM."
Principals in the newly-formed EIT included William and David Maines of Maines Paper and Food Service and Jim Matthews of the Matco Group.
Endicott Interconnect Technologies got off to a shaky start in November 2002. The company laid 200 people - ten percent of its workforce - two weeks after it took over the IBM operation.
EIT filed for bankruptcy protection in 2013. The company moved forward under a new name - I3 Electronics. It ultimately moved its operations to Binghamton.
Phoenix Investors of Milwaukee acquired the Huron Campus properties last fall.
IBM maintains a small presence at the Endicott site. The company in recent years has not revealed how many people are assigned to the location but it is believed to be a few hundred.
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