07.29.16

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES: HICKEY FREEMAN TAPPED BY RALPH LAUREN TO MANUFACTURE BLAZER FOR TEAM USA’S UNIFORM FOR THE OPENING CEREMONY IN RIO THIS SUMMER; WORLD WILL SEE PRODUCTS MADE IN ROCHESTER & CEMENT HICKEY AS NATIONAL LEADER IN THE SUITING INDUSTRY

Schumer: Made In America’ Means ‘Made In Rochester’ By Hickey Freeman Workers 

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that Ralph Lauren has selected Hickey Freeman, to produce Team USA’s blazer for the Opening Ceremony uniforms. Schumer played a pivotal role to help position Hickey Freeman to grow in Rochester and be positioned to secure this contract, which will help maintain and support jobs in Rochester. Schumer said the blazer being made by Hickey Freeman would also be available for sale to the public at all Ralph Lauren stores and online. This manufacturing contract is an extension of the work awarded by Ralph Lauren to the Hickey Freeman factory to produce elements of Team USA’s Parade Ceremony uniforms which also included the twill shorts for Closing Ceremonies.

“It may still be seven days before Team U.S.A. takes to the Olympic field in Rio, but Rochester has already won a gold medal  I commend Ralph Lauren for selecting Hickey Freeman as one of their manufacturing partners to produce this year’s Ralph Lauren-designed Team USA’s Opening Ceremony Olympic uniforms. When it comes to dressing our Olympic Team ‘Made in America’ means ‘Made in Rochester’. Ralph Lauren, a great New York company, joining forces with a fellow New York company, Hickey Freeman, to produce Team USA’s apparel is truly a match made in heaven. This partnership means Ralph Lauren is doubling down to support Rochester’s top notch workforce. Not only are Rochester workers making the twill shorts for the Closing Ceremony uniform, but they are making the blazer for Team U.S.A’s Opening Ceremony uniform too. This will not only guarantee our Olympians have the best uniforms to wear, but also continues a bright future of stability and expansion for manufacturing in Rochester. Year after year, I’ve committed to making sure this company can remain a strong force in Rochester – because we all know that these good-paying, middle-class, American manufacturing jobs are hard to come by. We all know that, when allowed to compete on a level playing field, top-notch U.S. businesses like Hickey Freeman and Ralph Lauren Corporation will win out. So I could not be more pleased that the growth we have worked for is taking shape – for the whole world to see,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.

Ralph Lauren is the Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams and today revealed the Opening Ceremony uniform. For the 2016 Summer games in Rio, Ralph Lauren identified a select group of manufacturers from across the United States, including Hickey Freeman’s Rochester factory, to produce Team USA’s Opening and Closing Ceremony uniforms. In April, Schumer announced Ralph Lauren had selected the workers at Hickey Freeman’s Rochester factory to manufacture the shorts for the Closing Ceremony uniform. Today, Schumer explained Ralph Lauren chose the Hickey Freeman factory in Rochester as a manufacturing partner, and tapped them to manufacture the blazer for the Opening Ceremony uniform that will be worn by Team U.S.A. in Rio during this Friday’sOpening Ceremony. In addition to outfitting more than 1,100 members of Team U.S.A., the shorts and blazer manufactured by the Rochester factory will also be available for purchase by the public at all Ralph Lauren stores and online.

“We appreciate Senator Schumer’s long support for Hickey Freeman and our Rochester workforce.  From his work to pass legislation that fixes tariff rules so that U.S. wool suit manufacturers can compete globally to enabling us to tap job training grants so that we can hire new Rochester residents and train them for a skilled career, the Senator is helping position us to win new contracts for our Rochester factory, including our private label work with Ralph Lauren, the Official Outfitter of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams,” said Hickey Freeman CEO Stephen Granovsky.

Schumer, who co-sponsored the “Team U.S.A. Made in American Act of 2012,” praised Ralph Lauren for its commitment to make 100 percent of the Olympic athlete’s uniforms in the United States.  From yarn to dye to finished product, for the 2016 summer Olympic games in Rio Ralph Lauren has contracted with more than 40  U.S. manufacturers to craft Team USA’s official parade uniforms in America.

Schumer has been actively working with Hickey Freeman’s owners, Samuelsohn, to grow the business in Rochester since they purchased Hickey Freeman in 2013. Schumer has supported the owners plan to add work and grow jobs at the Rochester factory. In 2014, Schumer joined Hickey Freeman CEO Stephen Granovsky to announce that Polo Ralph Lauren would begin manufacturing its “Blue Label” tailored clothing line of suits and sport jackets at Hickey Freeman in Rochester, a major win for the Rochester economy. The agreement, along with a similar deal with Dillard’s department store to manufacture their line of suits and sport jackets helped boost production and jobs at the factory. Last spring in 2015, Schumer organized a meeting for Hickey Freeman with representatives from the Department of Labor and local workforce development agencies that enabled Hickey Freeman to secure a job training grant to hire and train new workers for skilled manufacturing jobs at the Rochester factory.

Schumer has been very involved in keeping Hickey Freeman thriving in Rochester for years. In particular, in August 2012, Schumer worked with Hickey Freeman's parent company, HMX, and its then-lenders—Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase—to help secure new vital bridge financing that avoided liquidation. Schumer’s efforts at that time helped prevent the unplanned sale of HMX, which would have been a significant detriment to the American clothing manufacturer’s prestige and the Rochester workforce. Schumer also led the charge in 2009 when Hickey Freeman's then-parent corporation declared bankruptcy, which raised the potential for its lead creditor, Wells Fargo, to close the company and liquidate its assets. Schumer successfully urged Wells Fargo to keep credit flowing to Hickey Freeman’s parent company, Hartmarx, so the people employed by the company would not be at risk of losing their jobs.

Schumer also fought for Hickey Freeman, and other clothiers throughout New York State, in his effort to extend and strengthen the Wool Trust Fund program, which was passed in January 2014 as part of the farm bill. The extension and strengthening of this program puts Hickey Freeman back on a level playing field with overseas suit competitors who, until recently, could import suits into the U.S. without ever having to pay the same wool duties as U.S. suit producers.  This created an uneven playing field that gave an unfair leg-up to foreign suit manufacturers while putting our own U.S. manufacturers like Hickey Freeman in the lurch. The program was created more than a decade ago to compensate the domestic suit industry for the competitive disadvantage that results from an unfair tariff inversion where the duty on the imported finished product is lower than the duty on the inputs used to make the product here at home. Hickey Freeman has saved millions of dollars over the past few years through the program.

Jeremiah Hickey and Jacob Freeman began manufacturing men’s suits at the end of the 19th century, and today Hickey Freeman still specializes in making high-quality tailored garments that are built to last. Their factory now employs some 450 people and makes more than 100,000 pieces annually. 

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