Sealy company loses Army contract appeal

February 12, 2010 6:31:14 PM PST
A battle with thousands of jobs and millions of dollars on the line may have been lost as a company in Sealy that makes armored trucks will lose its contract with the Army after all. This is a huge blow to the town of Sealy. The Army decided not to reverse a decision to award a new contract to build armored vehicles to BAE Systems. The plant in Sealy, that has had that contract for almost two decades, employs about 3,000 people. There are just over 6,400 people in the entire town of Sealy.

Last year, the Army decided to award the contract to a Wisconsin company. That decision was met with protest from people in Sealy and state lawmakers. After pressure, the Army said they would reevaluate their decision. Now, they say they are going with the Wisconsin company. The Army claims the new contract will mean a significant savings.

Governor Rick Perry said, "I am extremely disappointed with this decision, which clearly illustrates the need for a complete re-examination of the bidding process. Today's decision speaks volumes about how a bureaucratic mindset can trump the needs of our fighting men and women."

Securing the contract would have meant $1.8 billion to the local economy each year. BAE Systems has made the vehicles in Sealy for the past 17 years.

Bob Murphy, president of BAE Systems' Land & Armaments group, said, "BAE Systems is disappointed with the Army's decision. Our goal now is to work with the Army to ensure a low-risk transition of FMTV production and secure an uninterrupted supply of these critical vehicles to our soldiers. It is too early to say what long-term impacts of the Army's decision will have on our tactical vehicles business, but we know that it poses a significant threat to our Sealy, Texas operations. It would be a significant blow to the U.S. defense industrial base to lose this world-class production facility in Sealy and the 3,200 skilled workers in Texas, Michigan and Ohio."

"We are proud of our 18 year track record of providing our men and women in uniform with the world's safest, most reliable medium tactical vehicles. Our workforce remains committed to uninterrupted delivery of quality FMTVs through our existing production commitments which run through October 2010. As the transition to full-rate Oshkosh production proceeds, we welcome the opportunity to partner with the Army to ensure a smooth transition and mitigate any risk to production," said Dennis Morris, president of BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems. "We are extremely grateful for the support we received from the Texas community, the Sealy FMTV Task Force, the Greater Houston Partnership and our state and federal elected officials who stood with us throughout this challenging period."