The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 23, 1999 - 7
evis to close it plants, cut thousands of jobs
NEW YORK (AP) - Levi Strauss, the
company that put baby boomers in jeans, is
closing 11 plants and laying off 30 percent
of its work force in the United States and
Canada after falling victim to a fashion gen-
eration gap: Kids don't think Levi's are cool
The 5,900 layoffs announced yesterday
are Levi's latest attempt to improve business
since its plain, five-pocket jeans began los-
ing out to trendier pants from the likes of
Old Navy, the Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, MUDD
"There is no buzz for Levi's anymore,"
said Irma Zandl, who runs the consulting
firm Zandl Group. "They missed the beat
over and over, and kids have just moved on
to hipper brands."
"The only one I know who wears Levi's is my
dad," agreed 15-year-old Susan Chang, wearing
a pair of JNCO jeans as she strolled down a New
York street yesterday.
"They don't have any styles I want," added her
friend Sam Lee, 15.
Levi's will close I1 of its 22 plants in North
America and eliminate the jobs over the next
year. Last year, it closed 13 U.S plants and cut
more than 7,000 jobs.
Levi's is moving more of its production over-
seas, where costs are much lower.
That will give it more time and money to
spend on product development and marketing,
two areas where it has been lagging in recent
The company that outfitted Gold Rush miners
and 1950s hipsters in copper-riveted blue denim
has had a tough year, watching its sales fall 13
percent to $6 billion.
Levi's is privately held and doesn't disclose
Levi's has been especially slow at spotting
fashion trends. For instance, it failed to jump on
super, wide-bottom jeans or cargo pants, which
have big pockets on the thighs.
"It is truly a fast-food consumer who we are
dealing with out there," said John Ermatinger,
president of the Americas division for Levi
"We need to get better at getting intimate with
our consumer and understanding what they want
Levi's will try to release new products every
60 days; it used to take up to a year.
Last fall, Levi's began a new advertising cam-
paign called "What's True," featuring teens
wearing its jeans in ways that fit their personal
In one ad, a young man wearing dread-
locks and wearing dark, baggy Levi's stands
near a sign that reads "Conformity Breeds
The company is also arranging to have its
baggy jeans and sexy shirts worn in movies and
is using young celebrities such as actress Claire
Danes to promote its brand.
"Levi's is very anxious to get cool again," said
Zandl, the marketing consultant.
"But what they need is a marketing blitz that
everyone notices and is talking about, like the
dog in the Taco Bell ads or the Gap's great swing
Levi's will close four plants in Texas, two in
Tennessee, one in Georgia, one in Arkansas, one
in Virginia, one in North Carolina and one in
At a sewing plant in El Paso, Texas, which
makes 501 red tab jeans, 700 employees were
told that their jobs would be terminated in the
It's the sixth Levi's plant to close in El Paso in
"I've been working here for about 20
years, and you know, it's like a family," said
machine operator Thomas Alvarado. "I feel
Broadcasters urge industry
to provide free antennas
WASHINGTON (AP) -
Broadcasters urged the satellite indus-
try yesterday to give some satellite cus-
tomers free TV antennas so they can
continue to watch Fox and CBS pro-
As it stands, 700,000 to I million
satellite TV customers nationwide will
no longer be permitted to receive Fox
and CBS programs via their satellite
systems on Feb. 28.
The National Association of
Broadcasters asked the satellite indus-
try to provide those customers - along
with others who are slated to lose CBS
and Fox programs on April 30 - free
rooftop TV antennas so customers can
try to receive these broadcast signals
over the air.
"Some of our member companies
are looking at offering free-of-
charge antennas, but the problem is,
you can't do millions at once"
because it would be an administra-
tive headache, said Chuck Hewitts,
president of the Satellite
Broadcasting and Communications
Satellite TV customers, mean-
while, can contact their local CBS or
Fox affiliate to try to obtain a waiv-
er so that they can continue to
receive CBS and Fox shows on their
The waivers permit satellite systems
to beam the signal of a Fox or CBS
affiliate from a distant market into the
satellite viewer's local market only if
the local station determines that the
viewer can't receive the local signal on
a rooftop antenna.
The NAB didn't know how many
satellite viewers have either requested
or received such waivers.
But Hewitt contends that "tens of
thousands" of customers are going to be
cut off even though they can't receive
focal Fox and CBS signals from rooftop
At the request of CBS and Fox, Judge
Lenore Nesbitt of the U.S. Southern
District Court of Florida issued a pre-
liminary injunction last year to discon-
nect satellite customers nationwide
from CBS and Fox signals by Feb. 28.
That order covers customers who
signed up for the service between
March I1, 1997, and July 10, 1998.
Another injunction, by the same
court, will cut off 1.5 million more cus-
tomers from CBS and Fox signals by
April 30. The injunction covers cus-
tomers who signed up for the service
before March 11, 1997.
Both injunctions are against
PrimeTime 24, a leading distributor
of programming to major satellite
providers such as DirecTV and
EchoStar, for violating copyright
Specifically, the court said
PrimeTime 24 was illegally distrib-
uting distant Fox and CBS signals to
satellite customers who can receive
local CBS and Fox stations from
Congress hopes to pass legislation
this year that would make it easier for
satellite customers to legally obtain net-
work programs on their satellite sys-
Matt Stockman, foodrunner for Food Gatherers, hands business manager Marti Loader loaves of bread for a local church
yesterday. The organization, which is looking for volunteers, redistributes food to places that host shelter meals.
Meeting fails to yield contract agreement
ntinued from Page 2.
In this section of the policy, a formal
3rgss would be established to allow
lened applicants to appeal the deci-
Ward said this proposal would trivial-
ze the tenure process because the
enure committee's decision is intended
o be final, rather than up for further
ebate if a candidate is not satisfied
vith the outcome.
But biology Prof. Lewis Kleinsmith,
i member of the tenure committee and
AJA, said adding an appeal clause
o the tenure policy would be valuable
because many denied candidates are
unaware of why they did not receive
tenure track positions.
"The tenure committee could have
received faulty information about the
candidate,"Kleinsmith said, adding that
the revision would allow candidates to
know what information about them was
presented to the tenure committee.
But Ward said providing information
to candidates is quite different than
allowing them to contest a denial of a
tenure-track position. He added that
Medical School candidates almost
always know why they do not receive
Sociology Prof. Donald Deskins said
he also completely disagreed with the
addition of a candidate appeal process,
claiming he did not understand how this
would benefit the tenure policy.
Deskins added that the revision was
filled with "glaring errors."
Garvin admitted the revised docu-
ment needed further work and said the
tenure committee would consider
SACUA's input while continuing its
"I don't want anyone to buy this
hook, line and sinker," Garvin said. The
revision "is a step in the direction of
what type of tenure document the facul-
ty and University want to see."
Garvin said his team would continue
to revise the policy and present it to
Senate Assembly, the faculty governing
Continued from Page 1
those GSIs with lower appointments, stating all GSIs will
receive at least a 2.5 percent increase in salary Sept. 1.
But GEO spokesperson Chip Smith said a larger raise is
necessary, especially since many GSIs can barely work the
amount of hours a .5 appointment requires.
"International GSIs cannot work more than 20 hours a
week" - the minimum amount of time a GSI with a .5
appointment must work - because of visa constraints, Smith
said. "If the work amount creeps up, if it goes up to even 20.5
hours, those positions are no longer open to international
Gamble said he was unable to comment on the amount of
hours international GSIs are permitted to work.
Odier-Fink said the University's fraction recalculation is
not only a disadvantage to international GSIs but to all grad-
uate students who teach discussion sections.
"A .5 appointment means less time a GSI can spend grad-
ing papers, less time in office hours with a student" Odier-
Fink said. "Many departments offer .5 appointments to cur-
rent .4s but they don't want to accept them. A .5 appointment
negatively affects teaching."
Odier-Fink added that the passing of the University's
proposal would make professors less accessible since
more of the teaching burden would shift from the faculty
Smith said GEO members will discuss the University's
wage proposal in greater detail at their membership meeting
tomorrow night. The meeting, where members will also dis-
cuss the possibility of a walkout or strike, is open to the pub-
lic and is scheduled to take place from 7 to 8 p.m. in the
Michigan League Ballroom.
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