As Gun Plant Downsizes, Nearby Manufacturers Vie for its Workers

One local executive called it “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson last month announced plans to relocate its headquarters and shift hundreds of jobs from Massachusetts to Tennessee.

The company, based in Springfield for nearly 170 years, cited pending state legislation that could restrict its production of assault weapons.

The gun maker plans to make the move beginning in 2023, and vowed to provide assistance for any workers willing to move with it.

But amid an extremely tight labor market, rival industries reportedly hope to pounce on employees who may want to remain in the Bay State.

The Springfield Republican detailed efforts by numerous local companies to recruit Smith & Wesson workers.

Precision aerospace manufacturer VSS parked a billboard truck outside the firearms factory’s gate, while a Coca-Cola juice plant bought a nearby highway billboard.

Eastman Chemical and contract manufacturer DFF are also on the hunt for potential new employees.

VSS’ chief executive said a lack of skilled workers has hindered his business for years and called the Smith & Wesson decision “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

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