Hickey Freeman's parent company files for bankruptcy protection
Posted at: 10/19/2012 12:54 PM
| Updated at: 10/19/2012 6:01 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion | WHEC.com
It's known for its tailor-made suits worn by celebrities and most recently NBC announcers at the summer Olympics, but now workers at the Hickey Freeman manufacturing plant in Rochester may soon be fighting for their jobs after its parent company HMX files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Hundreds of jobs are in jeopardy. Hickey Freeman is once again, considering shutting down its Rochester plant after a very big move from its parent company.
According to the New York State Department of Labor, HMX group, who owns Hickey Freeman, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday. HMX employees 1300 people in the U.S., 400 in Rochester who make suits and apparel, some of which are worn by Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. The brand is known for its unique manufacturing technique and the suits range from $1,495 and up.
The company makes about 150,000 units of clothing a year, but as of right now, HMX has listed $50 million in debt. It now plans to sell its operation to authentic brands.
Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement Friday, “Hickey Freeman has always been the crown jewel brand and has provided profitability to its owners, thanks to the over 450 workers and tailors that hand craft its exceptionally high-quality clothing right here in Rochester. Unfortunately, the company's previous investor failed to live up to its commitments to execute on its own business plan, and the company is now seeking new ownership. I have helped save this company from liquidation twice, am in close contact with company executives, and will stand shoulder to shoulder once again with Rochester’s Hickey Freeman workers over the coming weeks to ensure any new owner commits to preserve hickey freeman's Rochester factory and its workers."
Some of the workers are represented by the Workers’ United Union. They say they are planning to join the fight to keep these jobs in Rochester.
Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards released a statement, “The Hickey Freeman brand has been an icon in the clothing industry and one of Rochester's proudest employers for more than a century. Today's announcement that HMX Group, the owner of Hickey Freeman, is seeking bankruptcy protection is disappointing news for our city and especially troubling for the 431 employees who work at the company's facility on North Clinton Avenue. The City and I will work with Senator Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and the management of Hickey Freeman to lend whatever assistance we can to help keep this proud company thriving in Rochester.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter issued a statement Friday saying, "Over the last 48 hours, I've been in conversations with senior management at Hickey Freeman and am heartened that the company plans to emerge from bankruptcy with their manufacturing operation intact. The actions currently underway by Hickey’s parent, HMX group, are designed to preserve the iconic Hickey Freeman brand and retain 1,300 American jobs, 400 of which are in Rochester. My commitment to the 400 Rochester-based employees, their families and Hickey Freeman will never waver, and I'm looking forward to meeting with senior management to work together on the company's future."