Schumer Visits Corning Plant in Canton, Touts CHIPS Bill
By Jeff Chudzinski
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited the North Country on Monday (Aug. 29), making a stop at Corning Inc. to announce $50 billion in funding for semiconductor manufacturing, which is expected to have a significant impact on the local job market.
Schumer started off the visit with a brief tour of the facilities and manufacturing processes that will create the highly specialized glass used in creating semiconductors before addressing a crowd of roughly 50 people, ranging from university presidents to local elected officials and Corning staff.
“I am always pleased to help Corning, I have worked with Corning for over 20 years now. I will always be loyal to Corning because they have always been loyal to New York,” Senator Schumer told the audience.
The Senator spoke at length about the CHIPS and Science Bill, which was recently signed into law by President Biden, and the positive impacts it will have on the North Country. The bill, which the Senator highlighted as “strong, bipartisan effort”, passed through the Senate with support from 17 Republican Senators, he said.
“I wrote the bill and I wrote it with the upstate in mind. This funding will act as a lightning rod for production of semiconductor chips at Corning,” Senator Schumer said.
Chairman and CEO of Corning Inc. Wendell Weeks said, “We’re grateful for Majority Leader Schumer’s leadership in passing this bipartisan legislation to strengthen semiconductor manufacturing in the United States. Corning’s advanced optics materials and products - made at our facilities in Fairport and Canton - and research in Sullivan Park in Corning are supporting the growing semiconductor industry.”
According to officials, the CHIPS bill represents the largest investment in U.S. manufacturing in decades, allowing the nation to move away from reliance on China and foreign manufactured chips. Officials say the foreign made chips, which “are integral to everyday life, from cars to refrigerators” pose a threat to national security, worsen inflation and increase costs for families, weakening U.S. competitiveness in the world market.
“The production of essential materials for the tech industry will function as a ladder up. It will help sustain families and it will provide future opportunities for our youth in the North Country,” Schumer said.
At present, Corning has a staff of 380 members, 90% of whom are from the North Country.
“I asked how many were from the area and was told 90%. I went into the lunch room and asked many of them and I can tell you, they really are,” Senator Schumer said.
Officials say next to Alcoa and Arconic, both in Massena, Corning is the single largest manufacturing employer in the county.
“Corning’s Canton location has been a linchpin of the North Country’s economy for over 50 years and my Chips and Science Bill that was just signed into law will power the facility with good-paying jobs now and into the future. This is the largest investment in decades in the future of American microchip innovation and manufacturing and that surge in domestic production will need the highly sophisticated glass made here in North Country workers’ hands,” Sen. Schumer said.
Sen. Schumer also highlighted the huge demand for the product, saying everyone will need the specialized glasses produced by Corning.
“We have an American made provision in the bill, which will require use of American made products in semiconductor production,” he said.
According to Senator Schumer, he has long been a critic of U.S. reliance on China.
“I was one of the first China critics in the Senate. We spoke to a number of professors about our reliance on China and after talking with our workers, it was obvious the average workers had a better grip on the situation than the professors did,” he said.
The bill will also provide a significant boost to funding education and training for future employees, Senator Schumer said.
“We will be able to train our graduates to work here. This is going to take us into a better tomorrow,” he said.
Though not specifically related to the announcement of the CHIPS bill, Senator Schumer also touched on last year’s budget and pending budget negotiations.
“We expect we will have the budget done by the end of the year and will continue to build on our success from last year. For the first time, New York received more than it paid in taxes. For every $1 paid in, New York received $1.59 back, allowing for investment in essential needs,” he said.
Though few details were offered, Senator Schumer also said significant funding for both Clarkson and SUNY Canton was likely in the near future.
“I don’t want to say too much, we’ll announce that very soon. But it is (an) additional investment in the North Country, in Corning and many other places locally,” he said.