09/11/21

US factories like Hickey Freeman have stepped up during the pandemic to make essential PPE for their communities; Feds will now call on American textile workers, like those of Hickey Freeman, to expand jobs in the United States and PPE production in the United States

Schumer: “Marshall Plan” for PPE is a huge potential windfall for Hickey Freeman & Rochester

Following his visit last month to announce 100 new jobs after years of fighting to keep the Hickey Freeman factory operating, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that his “Marshall Plan” to secure a land-based supply chain for US-made PPE created by domestic manufacturers, like Hickey Freeman, has been successfully included in the bipartite infrastructure agreement, passed by the House after the prior approval of the Senate. The bill is now on its way to the president’s office for enactment.

Schumer explained that the “Make PPE In America Act” provision he helped secure will secure long-term contracts for US-made PPE for federal agencies and federal strategic inventory. Schumer said American companies like Hickey Freeman would be eligible for the contracts, which will create jobs and boost American manufacturing. Schumer also noted that due to its volatility, relying heavily on the international PPE supply chain poses a threat to US national security, health workers and families.

“Make PPE in America” ​​provision built into bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, now passed by Congress as a whole, will boost American manufacturing and create American jobs – in places like Hickey Freeman in Rochester. Companies like Hickey Freeman have stepped up to help their communities in the darkest hours, and their contributions in countering the tide of COVID will never be forgotten. As Majority Leader, I am proud to have supported its world-class unionized workers in their struggle to successfully secure my “Marshall Plan” to make American-made PPE the national standard – as part of the project. bipartite infrastructure law soon to be signed. promulgated by President Biden ”, Senator Schumer said. “The infrastructure bill includes the historic new requirements for Buy America, including the Make PPE In America Act this will ensure that we continue to strengthen America’s critical supply chains while investing in top-notch American manufacturers and workers like Hickey Freeman’s in Rochester. “

Rochester’s iconic Hickey Freeman turned the corner at the start of the pandemic to manufacture basic PPE for Rochester General Hospital, to meet high demand from healthcare workers. The textile maker has reopened its factory which temporarily closed during the outbreak of the pandemic to produce thousands of face masks at a loss in partnership with the Xerox Corporation, also based in Rochester. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the absence of a coordinated federal strategy to purchase PPE from US domestic producers, revealing serious vulnerability in US supply chains for PPE. For example, while Hickey Freeman’s sister costume manufacturing plant, Samuelsohn in Montreal, was approached by Canada to manufacture $ 20 million worth of PPE for that country, companies like Hickey Freeman n ‘have not been requested in the same way by the US government to meet its PPE needs. This is why Schumer has pushed its disposition to create a robust, secure and fully national PPE supply chain to protect the public health and national security of the United States today and in the future.

The Make PPE in America Act will force US agencies to create long-term, multi-year contracts with domestic PPE suppliers, providing the necessary certainty and strong, consistent demand that US producers need to create new lines. of PPE manufacturing. The lack of multi-year contracts has been a major obstacle to increasing national PPE production. The bill will also require the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a new long-term U.S. domestic procurement strategy for PPE produced in the United States, including strategies to To incentivize investment and maintain U.S. supply chains for all PPE sufficient to meet U.S. needs during a public health emergency. The legislation would cover all types of PPE, from surgical masks, breathing masks and respiratory filters to face shields, protective eyewear, gloves, disposable and reusable surgical and isolation gowns, headgear and feet and other equipment or clothing.

Schumer fought for a long time to keep Hickey Freeman active in Rochester. In 2009, when Hickey Freeman’s then parent company, Hartmarx, declared bankruptcy, threatening liquidation and closure of the Rochester plant, Schumer led the charge to save that plant. Schumer successfully urged Hartmarx creditor Wells Fargo to continue providing Hartmarx with the credit they needed to continue building jobs in Rochester, saving hundreds of jobs. Ultimately, in 2012, Schumer helped save Hickey Freeman from bankruptcy, by leading a deal that enabled luxury men’s clothing group Grano Retail (LMAG), in partnership with brand owner Hickey Freeman, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), to take over the Hickey Freeman Rochester factory in 2013. Since then, Schumer’s support has helped LMAG and Hickey Freeman secure new contracts for the manufacture of costumes for the Dillard department store as well as for Ralph Lauren’s line of Blue Label polo shirts and sports jackets, and even for Hickey Freeman to help produce clothing for the 2016 Olympic Team USA.

In December 2018, Schumer secured the Federal Farm Bill provision that fully funded the Federal Wool Trust Fund program until 2023, saving Hickey Freeman up to $ 3 million per year in relief. unfair tariffs. The Wool Trust Fund was due to expire in 2019, and although the House of Representatives version of the Farm Bill included a provision to extend the trust fund until 2023, it also called for the fund to be reduced by 50%, which would have jeopardized the viability of the Hickey Freeman plant in Rochester. Fortunately, Schumer got a provision in the Senate version of the Farm Bill and in the final bill that was enacted in December 2018 that not only extended the trust fund program until 2023, but also fully funded it. 100 %. The Wool Trust Fund compensates the domestic costume industry for the competitive disadvantage resulting from an unfair “tariff reversal” where the duty on the imported finished product is lower than the duty on the inputs used to make the product here at home. The program is essential in putting Hickey Freeman on a par with foreign competitors who import suits into the United States without ever having to pay the same duties on wool as American costume producers. Without the Wool Trust Fund, Hickey Freeman’s overseas competitors would have an unfair head start while embarrassing our own American manufacturers like Hickey Freeman to make costumes in the United States. In 2014, Schumer was instrumental in the first legislation in the Federal Farm Bill of that year, in order to extend the authorization of the Wool Trust Fund for five years until 2019 and, as a second step, to reinstate adequate payment levels for the trust fund to cope with several years when the trust was underfunded. In 2019, he was granted the extension of the Wool Trust Fund program until 2023. Thanks to these efforts, Hickey Freeman’s plant in Rochester is one of the few costume and clothing manufacturers in the United States.

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