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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 shorts for the closing ceremony uniforms. Schumer played a pivotal role to help position Hickey Freeman to secure this contract, which will help maintain and create new jobs in Rochester. Schumer said the ? shorts being made by Hickey Freeman would be available at all Ralph Lauren stores and select department stores across the country.

“Before the Olympic games have even begun, Rochester has won a gold medal,” said Senator Schumer. When it comes to dressing our Olympic Team ‘Made in America’ means ‘Made in Rochester’ by Hickey Freeman workers. 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. Hickey Freeman’s partnership with Ralph Lauren will not only guarantee Team USA will have the best uniforms to wear, but also continues a bright future of stability and expansion for Hickey Freeman and their highly talented workforce in Rochester.”

"We appreciate Senator Schumer’s long support for Hickey Freeman in Rochester.  Whether helping us fix tariff rules so that U.S. wool suit manufacturers have an even field to compete, or helping us tap job training grants that are now enabling us to hire new workers and give them on-the-job manufacturing skills to prepare them for a new career, the Senator's support is helping us grow in Rochester,” said Hickey Freeman CEO Stephen Granovsky.

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 will 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.