NEW YORK — About 20 ILGWU members showed up outside the doors of Macy’s Herald Square flagship Wednesday morning to protest The Leslie Fay Cos.’ plan to halt its U.S. production.
The union members, who work at Leslie Fay’s facilities in northeast Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, came on a bus and passed out leaflets for 1 1/2 hours at the store’s entrances. The leaflets asked shoppers to support workers by contacting Leslie Fay and its president, Michael J. Babcock, to demand the company keep production in the U.S. In the meantime, several ILGWU representatives met with Les Miller, Macy’s East’s vice president for human resources, for a half-hour.
As reported, Leslie Fay, which has been operating in Chapter 11 since April 1993, said last month it was proposing to shut down all of its domestic manufacturing. Domestic production accounts for about half of its manufacturing, and the shutdown would eliminate about 1,200 jobs, the company said.
The ILGWU also sent a letter to Myron E. Ullman, Macy’s chairman, alerting him that the closing of Leslie Fay’s domestic factories “would have a negative impact on its major retail customers like Macy’s.” It also claimed that Leslie Fay contractors in Guatemala violate human rights and labor standards.
“We want to make sure Macy’s is aware of these issues,” said Alan Howard, assistant to Jay Mazur, ILGWU president. “Leslie Fay’s decision to move production offshore puts retailers at a disadvantage when it comes to keeping pace with fashion trends.”
Howard, who met with Miller, described the meeting as positive. A Macy’s spokesman described it as a “listening session.”
A Leslie Fay spokesman discounted the ILGWU’s latest protest as “scare tactics.”
“We are just focusing on reaching a fair proposal at the bargaining table,” the spokesman said.
Although the union earlier stated that more than 100 members would show up for the demonstration, Howard said the number was held back for “tactical reasons.” He would not elaborate.