Sen. Charles Schumer appealed to Northrop Grumman Corp. officials Monday to keep the company's approximately 2,000 local employees on Long Island after he helped push a bill through Congress that provided the aerospace manufacturer with full funding for a Navy surveillance plane.
Standing outside a building on Northrop Grumman's property in Bethpage, Schumer said at a news conference that he had spoken to chief executive Ronald Sugar while the bill was pending in Congress. A congressional committee had decided to reduce funding for the Navy's E-2D Hawkeye radar patrol plane.
Under the committee's plan, Northrop Grumman would have had funds to build only two Hawkeyes. Full funding of $100 million, approved by Congress in December, provides money for three of the planes, and $1 billion was added for research and development over the next few years. Engineering work is to be done in Bethpage.
"I told Mr. Sugar that I wouldn't fight for the [full] funding if the jobs were going to go elsewhere," Schumer said. Northrop Grumman officials said in response the company has not said it planned to move jobs off Long Island.
"Northrop Grumman is committed to remaining a high-technology employer on Long Island as we have been since Grumman Aerospace first opened its doors in Baldwin 80 years ago this week," the company said in a statement. The company said it has been having "discussions" with state and local officials about creating a "state of the art green campus" for all of its Long Island workforce.
Schumer was asked by a reporter whether he knew that Northrop Grumman said it planned to move jobs, or its operations, off Long Island.
"It has never said it is going to leave, but it's never said publicly it's going to stay," Schumer said in response. "I want it to say the latter."
A company spokeswoman said she believed Schumer was being "passionate about making sure these 2,000 high-tech jobs are on Long Island."