Levi Strauss Shuts All U.S. Plants

September 26, 2003

Levi Strauss is one of several clothing companies nationwide
that has been shutting down U.S. plants and moving production 
to other countries with cheaper labor in recent years. 

(AP) Levi Strauss & Co. will close its last manufacturing 
plants in the United States and Canada, eliminating 
nearly 2,000 jobs, the struggling jeans maker said Thursday. 

The company will close two sewing and finishing plants in 
San Antonio by year's end and lay off 800 workers. It will 
also shutter its three remaining plants north of the border 
that employ 1,180 people. The company will contract with 
foreign plants to make up for the closings. 

The move will allow the company to focus more on product 
design, marketing and sales of its jeans, said Julie Klee, 
general manager of Levi Strauss & Co. in Canada. 

"The closures are an absolutely necessary part of ensuring 
the long-term competitiveness of our business," Klee said. 

San Francisco-based Levi Strauss, which just turned 
150 years old, became one of America's iconic brands 
in the 1950s and '60s as Levis became a wardrobe staple
 of baby boomers. 

But the company has struggled in recent years to 
connect with younger consumers. Sales peaked at 
$7.1 billion in 1996 but have fallen for six straight years 
to $4.1 billion. In 2002, Levi's U.S.-based parent company
 closed six U.S. manufacturing plants, eliminating 3,600 jobs. 

In an effort to bounce back, the company has designed 
more clothes to appeal to teenagers and young adults, 
and cut costs to lower the prices of its jeans. The company 
also entered the discount jeans market earlier this summer 
with a new brand called Signature that is sold in Wal-Mart stores. 

Levi Strauss is one of several clothing companies nationwide 
that has been shutting down U.S. plants and moving production
to other countries with cheaper labor in recent years. 

What they USED to stand for - - - http://www.levistrauss.com/responsibility/ Our corporate values -- empathy, originality, integrity and courage -- are the foundation of our company and define who we are. They underlie how we compete in the marketplace and how we behave. They enable our vision of the future and reflect the legacy of our founder, Levi Strauss, who devoted substantial time and resources to charitable and philanthropic activities. These values guide our foundation's giving programs, the support we provide to communities where we have a business presence, our employee community-involvement programs, and our code of ethical conduct for manufacturing and finishing contractors working with the company. FOR EXAMPLE Our commitment to equal employment opportunity and diversity pre-dates today's programs and began in the 1940s when we desegregated our factories in California. In 1968, we pioneered an employee volunteer effort called "Community Involvement Teams" or CITs. There are now 80 CITs worldwide. For the past three years, we have been ranked as one of "America's 50 Best Companies for Minorities" by Fortune Magazine. We have played a leadership role in educational programs and policies regarding AIDS in the workplace. We have made more than $25 million in grants for AIDS care and prevention in the last two decades and have received numerous awards and recognition for our efforts to combat the HIV epidemic. In 1991, we became the first worldwide company to establish a comprehensive ethical code of conduct for manufacturing and finishing contractors working with the company. In 1998, we received the U.S. President's Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership for outstanding achievements in employee and community relations. We were recognized for creating Project Change, an initiative of the Levi Strauss Foundation that combats institutional racism. For more than three decades, we have promoted the active, local involvement of our 12,400 worldwide employees. In September 2000, LS&CO. inaugurated Volunteer Day at our San Francisco Headquarters and has since expanded it beyond the United States and Canada to include sites throughout Latin America and Asia, as well as our Brussels office. In 2002, more than 2,300 employees volunteered more than 10,000 hours to 66 charitable organizations. The Levi Strauss Foundation The Foundation is an independent legal entity that provides grants to community-based organizations working to create meaningful social change. The Levi Strauss Foundation funds programs worldwide where LS&CO. has a business presence and gives approximately $15 million annually. The Foundation also funds disaster relief efforts, makes charitable donations to organizations where employees volunteer, matches cash donations by employees to local charitable organizations, provides grants to community organizations located in LS&CO.'s sourcing communities, and funds college scholarships for the dependents of LS&CO. employees. Corporate Giving LS&CO. makes charitable donations to smaller community organizations outside the United States. We also support branded philanthropy initiatives and sponsor select charitable fundraising activities throughout the world. LS&CO. has an annual charitable giving budget of approximately $3 million and supports the Levi Strauss Foundation with periodic contributions. Employee Community Involvement Our employees are a big part of how we give back to our communities -- we invest in what is important to them. We encourage employees globally to give back to their communities through employee-led Community Involvement Teams and through the sponsorship of an annual volunteer day.
I sent this e-mail to them. Its very sad that yet another company is selling out. You may as well take this page down: http://www.levistrauss.com/responsibility/ If this type of thing keeps happening the US and Canada are going to be in major financial trouble ! This was a company that really cared at one time. Dave Kaspersin

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