Oct. 26--Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has written a letter to Major League Baseball's commissioner, urging the league to consider the effect on Lehigh Valley jobs in its reported plans to switch uniform suppliers.
Switching from Palmer Township-based VF Majestic to Baltimore-based Under Armour "could have lasting effects on the area," Casey wrote Wednesday in a letter to league commissioner Rob Manfred.
Casey asked the league to fully review "any options that will preserve these jobs and maintain the facility in Palmer Township." He offered to work with the league on maintaining the 620 jobs there, using any relevant federal programs.
He also praised the dedication of Majestic employees, citing the recent quick turnaround on jerseys to honor Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boat crash.
"There is no doubt that in this instance, the employees at VF Majestic were truly dedicated to their work, the sport of baseball, and to helping fans across the nation heal after such a tragic loss, and I would be hard pressed to find a more committed group of workers," Casey wrote.
The change in suppliers hasn't been officially announced. Several reports last week indicated that the partnership between Major League Baseball and VF Majestic, which manufactures team uniforms and replica jerseys, is expected to end after the 2019 season.
The switch raises questions about whether those uniforms would be produced domestically. In 2015, the publicly held Under Armour's products were made by manufacturers operating in 16 countries, according to the publicly traded company's annual report.
In his letter, Casey referenced that the uniforms currently are made in the United States, and that he hopes they continue to be produced here.
"Americans take pride in buying products with a tag that says "Made in the USA," because they know that the product is going to be high quality, and that their money is supporting the jobs of other hard-working Americans," Casey wrote.
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