Obama Suit Makers Say Yes We Can To Sit-In

Workers link struggle to Republic Windows & Doors

By Zach Christman
|  Thursday, Jul 30, 2009  |  Updated 1:44 PM CDT
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WMAQ / Dick Johnson

Hartmarx employees promise to stage a sit-in if Wells Fargo gets its wish for a buyer that tries to liquidate the business.

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Life-long Hartmarx Employees Vow Sit-In

Employees struggling to save their jobs from liquidation say they'll chain themselves to the equipment if necessary.
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Workers at Hartmarx -- the suit maker whose wares are favored by President Obama -- voted to hold a sit-in Monday as the company is on the verge of going under.

The company's creditor, Wells Fargo, is pushing for a bankruptcy closure and liquidation of the Des Plaines business.

Five hundred workers promised that if Wells Fargo or any company buyer tries to liquidate or close the factory, they'll refuse to leave the premises, according to the Service Employees International Union.

Hartmarx workers are relating their own struggle to what happened Republic Windows and Doors, where hundreds of workers protested when the factory was closed without warning. Eventually, a buyer re-opened the facility and hired back some of the workers.

Last week, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias promised that Wells Fargo will not be able to do business with the state if Hartmarx is closed.  Wells Fargo manages the state's $8 billion portfolio.

SEIU said Hartmarx is the largest menswear manufacturer in the U.S.

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