ACT NOW TO SAVE 3,500 GOOD AMERICAN JOBS

Back when I had a job requiring me to wear suits, my brands of choice were Hart Shaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman. Fine suites they were, too – good cut, fine craftsmanship, fair price. Made me look mighty snappy, which isn't easy.

Back when I had a job requiring me to wear suits, my brands of choice were Hart Shaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman. Fine suites they were, too – good cut, fine craftsmanship, fair price. Made me look mighty snappy, which isn’t easy.

Wear it like you mean it.

Gear for progressive populists in the Lowdown store.

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Both of those brands are now united in Hartmarx Corporation, which employs 3,500 top-quality workers in places like Rock Island, Illinois, and Rochester, New York. But now, those jobs and the future of Hartmarx, the largest maker of menswear in the nation, are in doubt.

The company still turns out great products, has an excellent distribution network, and has a strong and loyal customer base. However, the thing it does not have is the financial credit it needs to manage its business, thanks to the credit crunch created by Wall Street. Because of this squeeze, Hartmarx was forced into bankruptcy in January.

Its fate is now in the hands of its chief creditor, which can choose to close all Hartmarx plants and liquidate the company – or sell it to a firm that will bring in new credit and revive the whole enterprise. Unfortunately, the creditor is said to be leaning toward cashing out the company and running off with all of the money it can salvage.

Who is this potential plunderer of good American jobs? Wells Fargo. Yes, the giant bank that was just saved from bankruptcy itself by grabbing a $25 billion bailout from us taxpayers! What bitter irony that 3,500 workers who helped finance that bailout with their tax dollars would now be offed by the bank they saved.

But the deal is not done. Hartmarx workers are rallying to save this American icon, and it can be done. Wells Fargo has received at least two bids from investors who would keep the company going. To urge Wells Fargo to do the right thing, connect with the union that’s leading this fight: www.workersunitedunion.org.

Counter conformity.

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“Hartmarx Workers Vote to “Sit In” to Save Their Jobs,” www.commondreams.org, May 11, 2009.

“Schumer to Wells Fargo: Keep Hickey Freeman-Hartmarx Open and Viable,” Press Release from Senator Charles Schumer, May 12, 2009.

“Tell Bailed-Out Bank to Save Jobs at Hartmarx,” Press Release from Jobs With Justice, May 2009.

“Lawmakers Intervening to Try to Save Hartmarx From Liquidation,” www.shoppingblog.com, May 1, 2009.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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