CHICAGO – HartMarx workers won a court battle in their fight to keep the suit maker in operation and save over 3,000 union jobs. On June 1 Federal Bankruptcy Judge Bruce Black approved the bid of the British private equity firm Emerisque to buy the company. Wells Fargo Bank, the chief creditor of HartMarx, who wanted another bidder to be approved so the company could be liquidated, had fiercely opposed the bid. They relented under immense pressure.
“We are quite pleased with the progress and are optimistic,’ said Workers United Midwest Treasurer Joe Costigan before a crowd of HartMarx workers and their supporters. Workers United represents the workers at their production facilities in Des Plaines and Rock Island, Ill., and Rochester, N.Y.
The workers have fought hard to save their jobs. They recently voted to sit-in at the production facilities to prevent their closure.
However, the fight to keep HartMarx open is not over. The judge set a deadline of June 22 for additional bidders to come forward, followed by an auction on June 24 and a sale on June 25. It’s possible a new bidder will emerge with an offer that surpasses Emerisque, including one that seeks its liquidation.
“We like where we stand,’ said Costigan, vowing to continue the fight. “We are going to remain vigilant. We are not out of the woods by any circumstances.”