Schumer fights to keep Hickey Freeman in Rochester
Posted at: 10/22/2012 3:04 AM
| Updated at: 10/22/2012 6:13 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren | WHEC.com
Employees at Rochester’s Hickey Freeman plant have dealt with bankruptcy before and they’re hoping to make it through reorganization.
Hickey Freeman’s parent company, HMX, announced last Friday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On Monday, employees rallied to save their jobs.
Senator Chuck Schumer called Hickey Freeman the “Jewel” of Rochester and said he will fight to keep every single job at the city plant.
Having come through bankruptcy before, many employees News10NBC talked with say they’re not overly worried, but they are nervous. Nervous that the jobs they worked so hard to keep the first time could be taken out from under them yet again.
Hickey Freeman has been an icon in Rochester for more than 100 years with 442 employees, producing 150,000 units of clothing a year. They speak more than a dozen languages and they come from more than 25 different countries.
Debbie Glinski, Hickey Freeman employee said, “You talk to anybody and they know somebody that’s worked here at one time or another.”
Glinski has worked at Hickey Freeman for 19 years.
Glinski said, “My husband works here also. There are a lot of married couples that work here. So I mean if this place closed it would be, you know we’d have nothing.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “It makes money every year. This is not some losing money company that has to be liquidated, absolutely not.”
But right now, money is the problem. Some of the financiers of Hickey Freeman’s owning company, HMX, pulled back their funding, leaving HMX no choice. They had to file for bankruptcy and hope to sell the company.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “We know that there are at least two that are interested in buying the company and keeping the jobs here and growing Hickey Freeman in Rochester >
Worse case scenario, Hickey Freeman is sold to what Senator Schumer calls a “liquidator,” a company that could close the Rochester plant and move the jobs overseas.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “We are telling those liquidators hands off Hickey Freeman.”
Glinski said, “We can’t close, it’s got to stay open. I think we're going to come out ok. I mean I think that we're going to be here hopefully for another hundred years.”
Back in August, Senator Schumer secured bridge financing for Hickey Freeman. That money is being used to keep the Rochester Plant open and operating while HMX goes through bankruptcy proceedings.
Senator Schumer was not able to identity the two companies interested in buying Hickey Freeman, but says he has talked with both of them. They are American and have a longtime commitment to making things in America. He also said the contract doesn’t necessarily need to go to the highest bidder. It will go to the company that has the best interests of Hickey Freeman in mind.