New Era issues layoffs for more than 100 workers in Buffalo

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New Era Cap Company has issued layoffs for 187 workers, including 117 at its Buffalo headquarters, Chief Operating Officer Jim Patterson confirmed to News 4.

The company announced Wednesday that it had to resize its workforce to “better align operations with the new market reality” during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes less than three months after New Era was awarded between $5 million and $10 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program funds, according to U.S. Treasury records.

New Era Senior Vice President of Brand Mark Maidment says the majority of furloughed employees in North America are estimated to return between July and August.

“We are excited to be able to make this announcement after several months of uncertainty resulting from the significant economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our industry. However, all of our license partners, along with the retail sector as a whole, continue to struggle to find ways to recover. While we’re seeing some bright spots, it is now evident that it will take time for business to recover to prior levels. All of this means that we have had to resize our workforce to better align our operations with the new market reality.”

Mark Maidment

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz had strong words for the company regarding the layoffs. Poloncarz said in a press conference Wednesday that the company’s name should be taken off the stadium in Orchard Park.

“Their name shouldn’t be on the stadium if they are gonna continue to lay off our employees including the ones that worked in Derby. It’s very disappointing especially after the Payroll Protection Period expired.”

The company signed a seven-year naming rights deal for New Era Field in August 2016.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who visited South Buffalo Wednesday morning, said his staff was in touch with New Era to discuss the move.

“They’ve gotten money through federal aid. They were entitled to it,” Schumer said. “But then the minute the program ends, for them to cut their employees out is a bad idea. There is a better alternative, which I mentioned to New Era this morning. It’s called the Work Share Program.”

Under the Work Share Program, companies can keep workers on furlough, allowing them to keep benefits and draw on unemployment insurance.

“I hope that as they are able to review the guidelines of the other federal program, that New Era will be able to move in a different direction and not lay off employees,” said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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