Updated 10/22/2012 05:25 PM
Hickey Freeman Workers Rally
Hundreds of Hickey Freeman workers rallied Monday morning like their jobs depended on it. They do, in a way, as the company's owner goes through bankruptcy proceedings. A top federal lawmaker is going to bat for Hickey Freeman, again.
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"Are we going to keep the jobs of Hickey Freeman Right here in Rochester?" asked Sen. Charles Schumer, (D).
American pride in American jobs. The workforce at Hickey Freeman is about as diverse as it gets, with 450 jobs, but they're in jeopardy of disappearing.
"We have to be vigilant,” Schumer said.
Schumer organized the rally at Hickey Freeman as the Rochester suitmaker's owner, HMX Group, goes through bankruptcy proceedings. Schumer wants assurances that whoever buys Hickey Freeman keeps the Rochester factory open.
"They might want to take the label Hickey Freeman, close the plant down, and try to make the goods overseas. We are telling those liquidators – hands off Hickey Freeman."
"We work hard. Everybody here works hard,” said Debbie Glinski.
Glinski is one of the 450. She's been here 19 years. She's seen Hickey Freeman struggle under previous ownership, but remains confident bosses will come through.
"I'm pretty sure they will. We came through it the last time, and I think we have as much if not more support from a lot of people this time."
Other workers share not only the optimism, but the pride.
"Our quality is number one. We do the best job with quality work,” said Raju Karki.
"This is a good American product, Hickey Freeman, and I know for a fact because I work here,” said Roberto Perez. "If you wear one of these suits, you think you are in heaven."
The CEO of HMX, Doug Williams, wasn't at the rally. He was in NYC for bankruptcy proceedings. Williams told YNN by phone last week that he plans to travel to Rochester this week to talk to employees.
"The brand is a good brand, and it's not sold in a lot of places that would want to buy it,” Schumer said.
Schumer told workers he's spoken with two potential buyers who assured him they'd keep the Rochester plant open.
Workers hope so.
"There's not a lot of jobs out there. Four hundred people looking for jobs at the same time, you're not gonna find it,” Perez said.
In business, and in bankruptcy court, there are no guarantees.
"Things are gonna work out, one way or another," said Glinski.