Levi ups PR efforts amid plant closings

SAN FRANCISCO: Levi Strauss will implement a series of community and employee relations efforts as the company closes its last five North American manufacturing plants. Three of those plants are in Canada, and two are in San Antonio. The plant closures will cause 1,980 layoffs.

SAN FRANCISCO: Levi Strauss will implement a series of community and employee relations efforts as the company closes its last five North American manufacturing plants. Three of those plants are in Canada, and two are in San Antonio. The plant closures will cause 1,980 layoffs.

Senior manager of corporate communications Linda Butler said those plants produced less than 5% of Levi's merchandise.

"We will work with those communities in areas such as retraining, career development, and economic development," said Butler.

Levi Strauss launched similar community relations efforts in April 2002, when the company closed six plants in Texas, California, and Georgia.

Butler acknowledged the heavy media coverage of Levi's decision to close its last North American plants. But she added that this step was nothing new, as the company has been moving away from owning its own factories - and toward outsourcing production - for some time.

Butler didn't think this latest round of closures would hurt Levi's all-American image, as the company has been shifting its production from the US to Latin America and Asia over the past decade.

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