NEW YORK — The roughly 200 manufacturing workers at Judith Leiber LLC’s Manhattan factory on Tuesday ratified a three-year contract with their employer and returned to work.

That ended a two-week strike during which the workers formed a picket line outside the firm’s West 33rd Street offices.

According to a statement released by Local 342 of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union, which represents the workers, the new contract offers wage increases each year and protections against outsourcing. It prohibits the firm from outsourcing work unless all workers at its West 33rd Street factory are employed and entitles them to two and a half hours of overtime during weeks when work is outsourced. The contract also provides for employer-paid family medical coverage.

Judith Leiber president and chief executive officer Maggy Siegel said in a statement, “With the signing of this contract today, Judith Leiber is further demonstrating our commitment to remaining a truly American luxury brand.”

The company noted that during the period covered by the last contract that expired April 24, its domestic manufacturing workforce grew by 20 percent. That contract had stood for four years.

The union statement said, “The members remained solidly firm in their demands and their unity forced the company to end the strike by meeting those demands in a new three-year contract.”

The firm’s bags are known for their detailed beading and stones, which are applied by hand. The 40-year-old firm is believed to have about $30 million in annual sales.

Apparel manufacturing has been on the decline in New York City for decades. As of July, the industry employed about 29,500 workers, a 12.5 percent decline from a year earlier, according to data from the New York State Labor Department.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus