Des Plaines: Workers threaten sit-in at Harmax factory

Hartmarx Corp. garment workers voted on Monday morning to stage a sit-in at a Des Plaines factory if a new owner tries to shut it down.

The plant, where suit jackets are made, halted production for about 15 minutes Monday morning so workers could vote on union leaders' recommendation to be prepared to stage a sit-in to save their jobs, said Ruby Sims, president of Local 39C of Workers United, which is affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.

The workers voted in favor of a sit-in by show of hands, Sims said. During a sit-in, workers refuse to leave the factory.

Workers at Republic Windows and Doors drew national attention to their cause in December when they staged a six-day sit in after their Chicago factory shut down abruptly. The workers won back severance pay and health-care benefits. And when the factory reopened this year under new ownership, some workers returned to their jobs.

Chicago-based Hartmarx filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and is in talks to be sold. The apparel maker employs about 3,000 unionized workers including 600 at the Des Plaines factory.
from the Trib

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