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New Era Cap Factory Closure (Derby, New York)

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To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova and Vincent DeLaurentis
Date:March 14, 2019
Re:New Era Cap Factory Closure (Derby, New York)

Dear Colleagues,

Please find here a memo regarding the planned closure of a United States-based factory that supplies licensed apparel for the collegiate market. In November, New Era Cap Company (New Era) announced that they would be shuttering their Derby, New York production facility. With the closure of the factory, which is set for next month, 200 workers stand to lose their jobs, with few prospects of finding similar employment.

New Era’s Derby facility is well known for its relationship with Major League Baseball (MLB). The factory has produced the caps worn by MLB teams on the field for the last 60 years and has been the exclusive supplier of these hats since 1993.

The New Era Derby facility also produces university logo apparel for numerous colleges and universities. In 2001, in response to a complaint by seven New Era workers, the Worker Rights Consortium conducted an investigation of the factory in Derby, NY. After engagement by the WRC and by affiliate universities, New Era fully remedied the violations that were identified in the investigation.

While this factory closure is not a violation of university codes, the production shift will have real, negative consequences for the factory’s 200 workers, many of whom have worked at the facility for decades.

It is unfortunate that, after its decades of production in New York, and after the productive engagement with universities and the WRC that resulted in improved working conditions, New Era is choosing to close its Derby production facility. We all recognize that such dislocations of employment are common in the global garment industry, but that makes them no less painful for the people affected.

Scott Nova
Executive Director
Worker Rights Consortium

nova@workersrights.org