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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Support for Hart Schaffner Marx

More on the plight of Illinois clothing manufacturer, Hart Schaffner & Marx:

Sun-Times: Workers fear what suits bank will hurt them:

These are decent jobs, nothing that's going to make anybody rich at wages averaging $12 an hour, but still good work if you can get it....

The jobs could be lost:

Liquidation would mean selling Hartmarx's inventory, machines and brand names. There would still be Hart Schaffner & Marx suits, only they'd be made in Singapore or China, like everything else. The 1,000 Hartmarx workers in Illinois -- at plants in Des Plaines and Rock Island -- would join the unemployment rolls, along with a few thousand more around the U.S. and Canada.

New York Times: Illinois Puts Pressure on Bank to Keep a Suit Factory Open:

Workers at a suburban Chicago suit company, which calls President Obama one of its customers but has filed for bankruptcy protection, are getting support from the Illinois treasurer, who said Friday that if Wells Fargo liquidates the company, the bank could forfeit the state’s $8 billion portfolio. (Emphasis added.)

Crain's Chicago Business: Obama's suit maker gets big political help

[Congressman Phil] Hare so far has enlisted the help of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and says he intends to contact White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
Also reportedly involved in the effort to pressure Wells Fargo is U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, according to Joe Costigan, treasurer of the Chicago region of Workers United, a division of the Service Employees International Union. The union represents about 450 workers at a Des Plaines plant in Ms. Schakowsky's district.

Wells Fargo says it only has to answer to its shareholders despite getting federal bailout money. Let's hope the political pressure will make it see things differently so we can continue to make quality suits in Illinois.

Posted by Marie at May 9, 2009 12:25 PM


Yes, they answer to shareholders - which now includes the U.S. government and indirectly millions of taxpayers who have a strong interest in keeping these good-paying jobs here. I admire Giannoulas' stand, but it won't be enough. It's up to the Obama Administration to lean on the bank to do what's good for the country as a whole, especially since the country has already stepped up at the bank's time of need.

Posted by: Pete at May 9, 2009 2:58 PM

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