ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — About 250 Hickey Freeman workers rallied in the clothing plant's parking lot Monday following last week's news that the parent company has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Sen. Charles Schumer and the Workers United labor union organized the rally and a call for a boycott of the men's clothing brand if a new owner closes the western New York plant.
"We are telling the liquidators: Hands off Hickey Freeman!" Schumer said. "If these jobs are taken overseas, I'm telling you they won't sell a single suit here in the United States. There will be an international boycott."
HMX Acquisition Corp., which owns labels Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. It also filed a notice with the New York labor department indicating the plant could close in December, affecting 431 jobs at the plant and 71 jobs at its New York City corporate headquarters.
The Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx labels got their start in 1887 in Chicago and have been worn by presidents, including Barack Obama.
Their original parent company, Hartmarx, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and was acquired by British company Emerisque Brands and the North American branch of Indian clothing company SKNL.
HMX has lined up $65 million in debtor-in-possession financing to let it pay vendors and continue operations.
Authentic Brands Group LLC, a licensing company affiliated with private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, has agreed to submit an initial bid for the company, known as a "stalking-horse bid," in a court-supervised auction of the business.
Besides Rochester, the company also has manufacturing facilities in Des Plaines, Ill., and Hamilton, Ontario.