Hugo Boss Will Stay Open in Ohio
A campaign to save 300+ jobs at a Hugo Boss plant in suburban Cleveland resulted in victory last week when the company reversed their decision to shutter the plant! The workers, members of Workers United Local 10, voted overwhelmingly to approve a new union contract that preserves jobs and benefits.
The campaign to save these jobs started back in January, when Hugo Boss abruptly cut off contract negotiations after workers refused a $5/hr pay cut. The company issued a WARN Act notice that they intended to close the plant on April 27 (the NLRB later found reasonable cause to believe that the company had violated the NLRA). Hugo Boss, a high-end clothing line, reportedly intended to shift operations to Turkey, where labor costs are cheaper.
The campaign got a boost from celebrities, politicians, and labor-community solidarity. Actor Danny Glover recruited fellow actors to not wear Hugo Boss on the red carpet this season, and came to Ohio to speak at a major rally with the workers on April 7th. Ohio politicians, including Senator Sherrod Brown, Governor Ted Strickand, Representative Dennis Kucinich, and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, were vocal in their support of the workers. Union members from across the country and around the world also voiced their support for keeping Hugo Boss open in Ohio. Some state pension funds protested the closing, and union leaders from Europe sent letters of support.
From the beginning, the workers had the support of Cleveland Jobs with Justice. Members mobilized for rallies, did informational leafleting at malls, and met with representatives of Nordstrom, where Hugo Boss clothes are sold.
"This is a huge victory for the labor movement and the Cleveland community as well,” said Cleveland Jobs with Justice Organizer Debbie Kline. “Against all odds we proved it is possible to win when everyone joins together to fight for justice for workers! Congratulations to the Hugo Boss workers and Workers United!"