WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today wrote to Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert Manfred following reports that the New Era Cap Company plans to shutter its manufacturing facility in Derby, New York, and move production to a non-union facility. The move will eliminate over 200 high-skilled, union jobs. Brown called on Manfred to urge New Era to reconsider its decision.
“The sound of ‘play ball’ and the optimism of opening day – not the loss of good-paying union jobs – should be what is on the mind of baseball fans across America,” Brown wrote in his letter.
A copy of Brown’s letter appears below:
Dear Commissioner Manfred:
I am troubled by recent reports that the New Era Cap Company plans to shutter its manufacturing facility in Derby, New York, and move production to a non-union facility. This move will eliminate the jobs of over 200 skilled workers and erase a baseball hat-making tradition in the region that goes back over 40 years. I call on you to urge New Era to reconsider its decision, and to continue supplying America’s pastime with high-quality, union-made products that reflect the skill and dedication that Major League Baseball’s (MLB) players bring to the game.
As you know, New Era holds an exclusive contract to produce on-field hats for every Major League Baseball team. Since 1993, MLB’s contract has required that these hats be manufactured in the United States, something that New Era has done in its Derby, New York, plant since the 1960’s.
As MLB teams prepare for another opening day, the workers in Derby are preparing for their plant to close. In the past, the MLB worked with apparel providers to continue manufacturing union-made uniforms at a facility in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania. Given these prior efforts, I hope that you will work with New Era and the workers in Derby to ensure a similar outcome for their facility. The quality of the game’s most iconic apparel – the baseball cap – should reflect the quality of play that we see in MLB stadiums each season. The union workers in Derby have the skills and experience to provide a product that cannot be matched elsewhere.
Pitchers and catchers have reported to camp. Opening day is not far off. The sound of “play ball” and the optimism of opening day – not the loss of good-paying union jobs – should be what is on the mind of baseball fans across America. I appreciate your attention to this matter.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown