Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-I-C – Batavia) has been working behind the scenes to help protect the jobs of close to 850 employees at the Washington Mutual (WaMu) national customer service center in Albion, the seat of the 139th Assembly District. Today, following the bank’s announcement that the facility will be saved, the Assemblyman released the following statement:
“We look forward to strengthening the relationship with JP Morgan Chase, which was established during the process. I am thrilled that these jobs are saved. The employees of this facility have proven themselves to be hard-working, loyal and valuable assets to their new managers at JP Morgan Chase and I am very pleased that the CEO of JP Morgan Chase has listened to our pleas that these jobs are kept. As one of the largest employers in Western New York, and certainly in our community, it is vital to the future of our region and our state’s economic health that these jobs be maintained,” said Hawley, who has been in constant communication with both the bank and federal officials, collaboratively working to save the Albion jobs.
This is not Hawley’s first attempt to ensure Albion and Western New York jobs are protected. Throughout his first term, the Assemblyman embarked on a series of local business tours, including the WaMu facility, to help learn directly from the employees, managers and employers how the business climate could be improved at a state level. As a result of these tours, Hawley has led the fight in Albany to eliminate business taxes, including property taxes, and to help create a number of business and tax incentives to help attract and retain businesses to New York State, especially in the Western portion of the state.
Upon learning of WaMu’s financial problems, earlier this fall, Hawley began working with the institution, JP Morgan Chase and its CEO Jamie Dimon and Charlie Scharf, the Executive Vice President-CEO, Retail Financial Services, and other elected officials including U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, State Senator George Maziarz, Congressman Thomas Reynolds, and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter to assure these jobs would be retained for the citizens of Western New York and the 139th Assembly District. Additionally, last week, Assemblyman Hawley had the privilege of bringing Congressman-elect Chris Lee to talk with on-site top management and to tour the facility. The facility is the largest employer in the 139th Assembly District.
In late September, WaMu went bankrupt and was bought out by JP Morgan Chase for $1.9 billion. Founded in 1889, and located in Albion since 2001, WaMu was based in Seattle, Washington and is the largest bank to fail in national history.