Casey to Warnaco: Stay here

By:  Walt Frank

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., said Monday he has sent a letter to Warnaco urging them to remain in Blair County, amid reports that the company is considering closing.

In his letter to Emanuel Cherico, Warnaco's chairman and CEO, Casey highlighted the quality of the region's work force and urged him to discuss the company's plans with the community.

"With 260 employees, Warnaco is a major employer in central Pennsylvania. It's critical these jobs be maintained," Casey said in a statement. "Residents of Duncansville are highly concerned about the future of Warnaco. I'm urging the company's leadership to address these reports of closure and do all they can to maintain jobs."

In March, Blair County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Joe Hurd said he had heard through what he called a "legitimate source" that PVH Corp. of New York, which acquired The Warnaco Group Inc. in February, is planning a three-phase shutdown of the facility, which would be completed in 2014.

Hurd said Monday he still hasn't heard anything official from Warnaco.

"If Sen. Casey is able to somehow take some steps to clarify what still seems like a closing from their end, I give him credit for trying to at least do that. I can't imagine even with his political power, the decision seems irrevocable to me," Hurd said.

Altoona-Blair County Development Corp. President and CEO Marty Marasco said he has not heard anything official from the company.