Union workers brace for more HMX trouble

CHICAGO—Workers United, the union that represents employees of the tailored clothing factories owned by HMX, is rallying its members against the threat of factory closures. HMX, which owns the Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx and Coppley suits brands, emerged out of Hartmarx in 2009 with new ownership. Factories in New York, Illinois and Canada were saved.

In August, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helped HMX secure new financing after months of rumors that the company was having trouble paying its bills and sought a new buyer. Sen. Schumer was particularly interested in helping keep the Rochester, NY Hickey Freeman factory open. That facility employs 450 people and produces about 150,000 units of clothing a year.

According to Workers United, that new financing may not be enough to save HMX from bankruptcy.

“We fought this same battle before and won,” commented union president Noel Beasley in a statement. “We’re ready to fight again to save these good, manufacturing jobs. We are launching a North American campaign to keep HMX from liquidating our jobs along with the company’s assets.”

Six hundred union workers at the Des Plaines, Ill. Hart Schaffner Marx plant and those at the Rochester, NY Hickey Freeman facility have pledged to occupy their factories if HMX comes to liquidation.

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