Brad Messer Commentary
Friday, September 26, 2003


Levi's Goodbye

More than two decades ago, San Antonio set about romancing the Levi Strauss company to open a plant here.

Same as today, the city offered moonlight and roses and tax breaks, to bring jobs.

That was back around 1980. KTSA's most famous commentator, Logan Stewart, went on a radio rampage. He pointed out that we'd be spending taxpayers' money to attract minimum-wage jobs, and that Levi's plants had been criticized as sweatshops. There was quite a commotion.

When the smoke cleared, Levi's did move here, and became a pretty good corporate citizen, giving significant support to local causes.

Times changed. The world's largest branded clothing maker fell out of fashion. Baby Boomers wore Levi's: younger people didn't. Sales dropped by half, in a half-dozen years. Levi's kept closing more of its two-dozen American factories.

This week, we learned that sewing Levi's blue jeans in America is fading forever into the history books. Levi Strauss will close its last two U.S. plants— the ones here in San Antonio.

We'll miss Levi's. As my now-departed colleague Logan Stewart said before the beginning, the jobs didn't pay very well. They will be missed nevertheless.

Brad Messer commentary, KTSA.


9-25-2003 Miami Herald
Levi Strauss closing plants in San Antonio Texas

2-22-1999 SweatShopWatch.org
Ex-Levi's Workers Protest Layoff of 5,900 More

1999 Motley Fool
Report on Levi Strauss

Jan 1998 Labor Notes
Fuerza Unida Renews Call for Solidarity Against Levi's

 

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