Red Tab Foundation: Caring for those who built LS&Co
When the average person gets dressed in the morning, they likely have no idea how many hands have worked to assemble their outfit long before they put it on. LS&Co. employees have more insight into the manufacturing process than most, but it’s still easy to forget just how much labor it takes to produce a pair of 501® jeans. The Levi Strauss Foundation’s worker well-being initiatives and LS&Co.’s burgeoning Service Corps aim to ensure LS&Co. employees embody the company’s core value of empathy throughout the supply chain.
Through the Red Tab Foundation (RTF), we also remember the individuals who built our iconic products throughout the years. Before closing all of its U.S.-based plants in 2004, LS&Co. had over 15,000 employees – primarily sewing machine operators – at more than 30 manufacturing facilities throughout the country. Now, most of these individuals are living on fixed incomes – including a small pension from the company and social security – but experiencing increasing medical and living expenses. This makes it financially difficult for them to handle unexpected emergencies or basic living expenses on their own. That’s where the Red Tab Foundation steps in.
More than 82% of the grant money given out by the Red Tab Foundation last year benefited these retired factory workers and their spouses. For instance, last spring, a retired sewing machine operator who worked 33 years at LS&Co. reached out to RTF for food assistance after being hospitalized. The retiree’s limited fixed income was stretched thin by these unexpected medical expenses. Every winter, she also faces an expensive monthly oil bill for heating and hot water. When the valve on her heating oil tank broke, she was forced to use her food budget to replace it. To offset the medical expenses and address her immediate need for food, RTF filled her heating fuel tank for the remainder of the winter and provided funds for groceries.
Last year RTF purchased 282 pairs of eyeglasses for needy retirees. We helped 80 of them with emergency home repairs and 156 with winter heating fuel. From fixing a dried up well in the mountains of Tennessee to providing much-needed hearing aids so a retiree can hear her grandchildren, the Red Tab Foundation exists to ensure that the individuals who built our iconic apparel always have a place to turn when they need help.
“The foundation is a true blessing for the retired employees of Levi Strauss…Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless each and every one that helps with the Red Tab Foundation.” – Mary L., Cherry Street Plant, Tennessee
To support the work that the Red Tab Foundation does to help retirees, click here.