Target: Robert Greenburg, Chief Executive Officer of Skechers
Goal: Urge the company to demand improved pay, benefits and working conditions for its supply line employees
Despite Skechers’ image as a footwear and apparel brand symbolizing the “California Dream,” workers in the company’s supply chain toil in hazardous conditions and without adequate pay or benefits. Their labor has helped Skechers become America’s fifth-largest athletic footwear brand, according to Common Dreams. It’s time for the company to support the warehouse workers and truck drivers who bring its goods to market and cease exploiting them to increase profits.
A recent report from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) details these abusive labor practices. Out of Step describes how Skechers’ record profits can be linked to the exploitation of low-wage workers, many of them immigrants. Peter Dreier, Director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College, writes in Out of Step that despite growing to become a $1.8 billion business, “the company does not share that prosperity with most of the workers who deliver its products.” He goes on to say that “Skechers is representative of the entire goods movement and logistics industry, which has become a critical part of California’s economy and is characterized by low wages, few benefits, poor working conditions, and resistant to giving workers a voice at work.”
Depending on independent contractors, part-time and temporary employees who receive little or no benefits is nothing more than a ploy to lower costs. The companies Skechers partners with to deliver its products pay poverty wages and are known to sidestep laws intended to keep workers safe. Out of Step documents millions of dollars in stolen pay, and millions in lost tax revenue for the state of California. Yet this arrangement, sometimes referred to as the “Walmart model,” allows Skechers to take zero responsibility for these practices.
Call on Skechers’ senior management to address the systematic exploitation of its supply line employees and ensure improvements to their pay, benefits and working conditions.
Dear Mr. Greenburg,
The subcontractors Skechers depends on to transport its footwear, apparel and luggage products are being systematically exploited. Skechers has risen to become a $1.8 billion corporation, in part by contracting with warehouse and truck driving companies known to subject workers to low pay and benefits and dangerous working conditions. To simply claim that you aren’t responsible for these practices does these workers a grave injustice, and threatens your company’s carefully-constructed image.
I urge you to take a careful look at this systematic problem. Read through Out of Step, a report which documents the way your contracted companies violate labor laws and abuse employees. You directly benefit from these violations in the form of increased profits, but the human cost is unacceptable.
Consumers are increasingly aware of how labor practices impact product costs, and will no doubt see this exploitation as reflecting your company’s values. Demand that the companies you partner with fairly compensate their employees, refrain from wage theft and other gross violations, and improve working conditions to ensure safety. Skechers’ reputation, and long-term profits, may very well depend on it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hans Olav via Wikimedia Commons