Roughly 90 union staff at Hickey Freeman could discover themselves with out medical health insurance come Wednesday, the results of the longtime clothes supervisor being delinquent in paying its staff’ well being advantages, its union introduced Jan. 26.
Hickey Freeman is greater than $3 million delinquent in employer and worker healthcare contributions owed to the Amalgamated Nationwide Well being Fund, the Rochester Regional Joint Board (RRJB) of Staff United mentioned by way of a press launch that accused the corporate of the theft of staff’ wages. The fund not too long ago alerted the union that staff’ medical health insurance might be terminated on January 31 because of the firm’s delinquency.
As a part of a collective bargaining settlement with its union, Hickey Freeman deducts well being profit contributions and union dues, and in addition makes 401k contributions based mostly on staff’ pay. The corporate can also be in arrears in contributions to the employees’ 401K accounts and in forwarding the dues it collected from workers to the union, mentioned Gary Bonadonna Jr., supervisor of the Rochester Regional Joint Board.
“We’ve got represented staff at Hickey Freeman for practically 100 years and have traditionally had agreat relationship with the corporate,” Bonadonna mentioned. “The truth that the present homeowners at the moment are stealing staff wages, which must be going in direction of their healthcare and contractual advantages, is disgusting. We’re pursuing each treatment at our disposal and received’t relaxation till the employees obtain justice.”
Hickey Freeman acknowledged it’s behind on contributions to well being advantages, however mentioned that worker contributions, that are a fraction of the overall, will not be excellent. It despatched this assertion by e mail:
“HFTC has been proud homeowners of the Hickey Freeman manufacturing facility for nearly 10 years. Over that point, now we have invested considerably within the enterprise. We’ve got by no means stolen employee wages and the very notion that we’d is defamatory.
It’s true now we have arrears to our well being advantages supplier incurred primarily in the course of the pandemic when most of our gross sales had been worn out; we’re working tirelessly to ensure protection doesn’t lapse.
We’ve got had an excellent relationship with the union for nearly 10 years and we’re shocked at their behaviour now. However we’re working carefully with them to handle the state of affairs.”
Hickey Freeman, which dates again to 1899, is the final remaining garment producer in Rochester. Over time it has gone by means of a succession of father or mother corporations, the latest of which has been Grano Retail’s Luxurious Males’s Attire Group, led by CEO Stephen Granovsky. The corporate at the moment employs 215 individuals, in keeping with Hickey Freeman. Roughly 190 are union, and of these, roughly 90 are lined by medical health insurance.
The corporate has obtained substantial governmental assist over the previous a number of years. Amongst them: a $4 million loan-to-grant from the state, together with $500,000 from town, introduced in February 2019 when the corporate introduced plans to take a position $8 million and create no less than 80 jobs. The corporate employed 420 on the time.
In the course of the pandemic, the corporate’s enterprise dropped by greater than 75%. By 2021, the corporate had lower half its workforce and downsized its manufacturing facility. However in a October 2021 press convention led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, the corporate mentioned it deliberate so as to add 100 jobs and Schumer noticed a spot for the corporate to be an onshore provider for PPE.
Schumer, a longtime supporter of Hickey Freeman, mentioned his workplace has been in contact with Hickey Freeman union staff and with federal regulators to look into the allegations. “Senator Schumer has urged the feds to resolve this as quickly as attainable,” mentioned Schumer spokeswoman Allison Biasotti.
The union has been working to determine a short lived answer for staff’ healthcare, Bonadonna mentioned. The Rochester Regional Joint Board (RRJB) of Staff United additionally has filed an unfair labor follow cost with the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) towards Hickey Freeman and is pursuing arbitration to reclaim the cash.
“It is an iconic firm right here,” Bonadonna mentioned. “Everybody desires to see this firm succeed — together with the union.”
From 2019:Hickey Freeman to take a position $8M, create 80 jobs
From 2021:President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ensemble made in Rochester
From 2021Hickey Freeman downsizing its plant. The remainder might be transformed to housing
Extra:Hickey Freeman so as to add 100 jobs; Schumer sees alternative for extra by onshoring PPE manufacturing