levi jeans history timeline
In June 1996, the company offered to pay its workers an unusual dividend of up to $750 million in six years’ time, having halted an employee-stock plan at the time of the internal family buyout. However, the company failed to make cash-flow targets, and no worker dividends were paid. 
From the early 1960s through the mid-1970s, Levi Strauss experienced significant growth in its business as the more casual look of the 1960s and 1970s ushered in the “blue jeans craze” and served as a catalyst for the brand. Levi’s, under the leadership of Walter Haas, Peter Haas Sr., Paul Glasco ,and George P. Simpkins Sr. expanded the firm’s clothing line by adding new fashions and models, including stone-washed jeans through the acquisition of Great Western Garment Company (GWG), a Canadian clothing manufacturer acquired by Levi’s. The acquisition led to the introduction of the modern “stone washing” technique, still in use by Levi Strauss. Simpkins is credited with the company’s record-paced expansion of its manufacturing capacity from 16 plants to more than 63 plants in the United States from 1964 to 1974 and 23 overseas. Levi’s’ expansion under Simpkins was accomplished without a single unionized employee as a result of Levi’s’ and the Haas family’s strong stance on human rights and Simpkins’ use of “pay for performance” manufacturing from the sewing machine operator level up. As a result, Levi’s’ plants were voted the highest performing, best organized ,and cleanest textile facilities of their time.  From a company with fifteen salespeople, two plants, and almost no business east of the Mississippi in 1946, the organization grew in thirty years to include a sales force of more than 22,000, with 50 plants and offices in 35 countries. 
Despite these moves, sales stagnated, and in 2011 Levi Strauss hired Chip Bergh as CEO. He was credited with turning the company around as he instituted various changes, such as modernizing its e-commerce division and expanding overseas markets. In March 2019 Levi Strauss went public again, and its IPO raised more than $620 million.
In 1991 an investigation revealed that some products that Levi Strauss had represented as made in the United States were actually manufactured in the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. commonwealth) by Chinese labourers working in illegal sweatshop conditions. The subcontractor managing the island factories was fined nearly $10 million by the U.S. government, and Levi Strauss subsequently took steps to improve labour standards and inspection practices for its offshore suppliers.
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When he was around the age of sixteen, Strauss lost his father to tuberculosis. He, his mother, and two sisters made their way to the United States of America two years later. Upon their arrival, the family reunited Jonas and Louis, Strauss’s two older brothers, in New York City. Jonas and Louis had established a dry goods business there and Levi went to work for them.
An early American clothing success story, Levi Strauss was born in Germany in 1829, and came to America in 1847 to work for his brothers’ dry goods business. In 1853, Strauss went out West where he soon started his own dry goods and clothing company. His company began making heavy-duty work pants, now known as jeans, in 1870s, and it continues to operate to this day.
1997 – LS&CO. receives the Organizational Award for a Large Business from the Centers for Disease Control.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change presents LS&CO. with the 1996 Management Award. The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), which represents several LS&CO. owned-and-operated manufacturing facilities, made the award nomination in recognition of the unique partnership between LS&CO. and UNITE.