Rep. Jim Hagedorn is continuing to speak out against the closure of a factory in a small Minnesota town known for its production of MLB gear.
He and four other House members introduced a resolution criticizing the loss of 80 well-paying jobs from Caledonia’s Miken Sports factory, some of which are heading to China.
“Miken has been one of the largest employers in Caledonia for decades, and this community will face major hardships and job losses due to this closure,” Hagedorn said. “We are urging MLB to reverse this decision, purchase products that are made in America, and work to keep these jobs at home.”
“We must always ensure that American workers, families, and communities are treated fairly and come first,” he added.
The Miken factory produces batting helmets for Major League Baseball players, as well as bats for softball players. MLB batting helmet production is slated to shift to a Miken factory in the state of Missouri, while the softball bats will be produced in China, according to CBS News.
Although Hagedorn and his colleagues blamed Major League Baseball for the decision to close the Caledonia plant, the league has long insisted that it was not involved in the decision.
“The sole MLB product made in this facility will continue to be manufactured in the United States as are all MLB batting helmets, on-field uniforms and hats,” an MLB spokesman told CBS News.
Major League Baseball and Seidler Equity Partners share ownership of Rawlings, the sporting goods company that owns Miken. CBS News reported that the factory closure will save Rawlings several million dollars per year. The low estimate is four million, while the high estimate is ten million.
Hagedorn publicly criticized the announcement of the factory closure in July, and he was not the only federal lawmaker from Minnesota to do so. At that time, Sen. Tina Smith also wrote a letter of concern to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Seidler Equity Partners. She said the Miken factory’s closure would “erase a key point of pride for the local community” and leave Caledonia “without a key employer and economic contributor.”