Press Release

American Textiles - The Story of American Made PPE

By Workers United

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             

October 20, 2021                                                          


Made in America video highlights the importance of rebuilding America’s domestic supply chain


PHILADELPHIA, PA  -- This American Textiles – The Story of American Made PPE video, launched by the National Council of Textile Organizations, in partnership with Workers United and 1199SEIU, showcases the importance of rebuilding America’s domestic supply chain, and the importance of preserving good union jobs that make safe products for essential front line workers.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted an urgent need in the United States to address supply chain deficiencies that were apparent with the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers during the pandemic. 

U.S. manufacturers quickly retooled production lines to manufacture over a billion items of critical PPE such as face masks, isolation gowns, and testing kits for frontline workers and the American people. These manufacturers planted the seeds of a budding reshoring and nearshoring effort and for the first time in years, we have fully constituted U.S. supply chains for critical medical supplies.

Among these manufacturers were Workers United’s partners, Ferrara Manufacturing and Unionwear. Both manufacturers, in partnership with Parkdale Mills, a domestic textile supplier, were awarded a contract to produce 20 million face masks early this year. This award was among the first allocations of the $3 billion allocated in the 2021 American Rescue Plan for federal procurement of domestically made PPE. In a time of economic uncertainty, this contract stabilized companies and helped create hundreds of union jobs in New York and New Jersey, and thousands across the impacted supply chain in the Southeastern United States.

“We’ve done good business creating good jobs serving our national security through this crisis,” said Mitch Cahn, CEO of Newark N.J. based Unionwear. “We are part of a supply chain solution that will keep our country safe now and into the future.

Members and representatives from Workers United are working closely with 1199SEIU and partnering companies to pass the “Made in America PPE Act” which enjoys bipartisan support and is part of the current infrastructure Bill being negotiated in Washington D.C. This Act will require all federal procurement of PPE to be made from domestic textile sources and produced in American Factories.

“Our members are proud to partner with responsible companies like Ferrara and Unionwear to make safe, high-quality products for essential workers. We deeply appreciate the support from Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the federal delegation from New York, New Jersey, Illinois and beyond who stand with manufacturing and health care workers,” said Edgar Romney, Secretary-Treasurer of Workers United, and Manager of the New York Metropolitan Joint Board, which represents members from Ferrara and Unionwear.

“Investing in American businesses and the American people is a smart and necessary move,” said Lynne Fox, International President of Workers United. “There is no better time than now for us to innovate and invest in America. This will help ensure we never have to see any more images of U.S. health care workers wearing garbage bags as gowns and reusing N95 masks to protect themselves.”





Workers United is affiliated with SEIU, representing 80,000 apparel, laundry, food service, warehouse distribution and manufacturing workers in the U.S. and Canada. Workers United is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. The New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board, which represents workers at Ferrara Manufacturing and Unionwear, is one of 13 affiliates of Workers United.

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