Brooks Brothers Will Pay Employees Sick and Vacation Time, Health Insurance Through August

Mayor James J. Fiorentini; City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and then-City Councilor X. Andy Vargas toured Haverhill’s Southwick manufacturing in November 2016. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The 413 laid off Brooks Brothers’ Haverhill workers will receive vacation and sick time owed to them and the company will pay for health insurance until the end of August.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he received confirmation of the vacation and sick time yesterday afternoon from the office of Attorney General Maura Healey. The mayor, Sen. Edward J. Markey, Congresswoman Lori Trahan, Rep. Andy X. Vargas and others have been calling on Southwick Clothing—the local division of Brooks Brothers—to pay severance pay. The mayor added the union is reporting the company has agreed to pay for health care.

“I congratulate the union and the Southwick workers,” Fiorentini said.

Trahan, who opened a joint press conference two weeks ago, summarized two demands they made of the company’s CEO.

“We’ve made it clear to Mr. (Claudio) Del Vecchio that Brooks Brothers owes Southwick workers real, substantial, severance pay so they can keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table for their families, and the company owes them health coverage,” she said.

The mayor said Haverhill is filing a claim in bankruptcy court in Delaware to seek to “claw back” the local property tax benefits it gave Southwick to expand in the city.

In a letter to Southwick’s May Tan, signed by state Economic Development Incentive Program Director Annamarie Kersten, said she will notify Fiorentini of the city’s rights to receive repayment of local property tax relief.

Vargas told WHAV recently that state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy’s office sent Southwick Clothing a “Notice of Decertification” because the company did not meet its “job creation and job retention commitments.” He said state tax credits alone total $2.1 million.

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