For Immediate Release Contact: Amanda Cooper, 917-224-6904
Monday, May 11 Ray Quintanilla, 312-505-7862
Ali Jost, 202-730-7159
Hartmarx Workers Vote to “Sit In” to Save Their Jobs
TARP Recipient Wells
500 Hartmarx Workers Joined by Illinois Rep. Phil Hare, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias & Other State, National Leaders
“Everyone at the plant is worried about their future. It all hinges on Wells Fargo. They have to do the right thing and allow this company to be reorganized--so jobs can be saved,” explained Ruby Simms, a 32-year veteran of the Hart Schaffner & Marx factory in
The workers voted in favor of a “sit in” style action, which means that if Wells Fargo or a buyer tries to begin liquidation or close the factory, the workers will respond by physically remaining at their job site.
The struggle of the Hartmarx workers mirrors that of the 250 Republic Windows and Doors workers who saved their own jobs last December when Bank of America tried to shutter their doors. State and national leaders are increasingly standing up for Hartmarx workers, members of the union Workers United (an SEIU affiliate), and slamming Wells Fargo—a $25 billion taxpayer bailout recipient—for shortsightedly refusing to invest in
Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has vowed, "Unless the company remains open, [Wells Fargo] will not be doing business with the state of
"Wells Fargo has received $25 billion in taxpayer assistance through TARP. In other words, the workers Wells Fargo may throw out on the street have been subsidizing its operations during these tough economic times. So much for returning the favor,” said Member of Congress Phil Hare, who also worked in the men’s clothing industry as a cutter for 13 years.
The Hartmarx workers’ struggle sounds the alarm on what could be a cascade of job losses and company closures perpetuated by
“Voting to sit in, these workers are standing up for all of us,” says Noel Beasley, Director of the Chicago/Midwest Regional Joint Board and Executive Vice President of Workers United, the union that represents the Hartmarx workers. “The future of the economy and the future of this country are all about good jobs. The vote today says Hartmarx workers are going to hold banks accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ money and how they contribute to the future of our economy.”
Chicago-based Hartmarx, the largest menswear manufacturing company in the nation, filed for bankruptcy protection in January after
Tom Balanoff, president of the SEIU Illinois State Council, called on
Workers United, an SEIU affiliate, is a union representing more than 150,000 workers in the US and Canada who work in the laundry, food service, hospitality, gaming, apparel, textiles manufacturing and distribution industries. Workers United is a new union with a history of more than 100 years, and includes members from many predecessor unions, including the ILGWU, ACTWU, UNITE and UNITE HERE.
SEIU - With 2 million members in