NIKE TO CUT MORE POSITIONS: The fourth-quarter nevermind this year is not shaping up to be a winner for many employees of major brands and Nike is no exception.
The athletic juggernaut has revised its plans for layoffs in Oregon facilities. Initially pegged around 500, Nike now plans to cut 700 positions. In a filing with the Office of Workforce Investments/Higher Education Coordinating Commission, the increase is for permanent reductions through Jan. 8, 2021. The impacted workers are nonunion represented.
In July, Nike Inc. executives revealed the company would reduce its workforce at its world headquarters in Portland, Ore., and surrounding areas. At that time, Nike executives said it expected to incur between $200 million and $250 million in employee termination costs. It also mapped out a series of senior leadership changes.
The job cuts were said to include workers at its child-care facilities, where 192 employees would be affected. The reductions would also impact members of the corporate leadership team and some of their corresponding executive assistants, according to last summer’s filing with the state.
The permanent job reductions had been expected to start last month.
Furloughs and layoffs have impacted the sporting goods industry as well as other areas of the fashion and retail sector in recent months. In addition, Nike’s home city of Portland has been besieged by months of protests that in some instances have led to violence and substantial property damage. As the number of cases of the coronavirus continue to spike across the country, brands like Nike have extended their work-from-home policies.
As of the end of May, Nike had 75,400 employees globally, including retail and part-time. Like other brands, it was forced to close some stores due to the pandemic shutdown. Valued at nearly $35 billon, Nike has reported robust digital sales and an increase in sales in China for the first quarter ended Aug. 31.
In a letter dated Thursday and sent to the city of Beaverton’s Denny Doyle, OWI’s rapid response coordinator John Asher and the Washington County board of commissioners’ Kathryn Harrington for a Monday delivery, Nike’s vice president of total rewards Kim Lupo informed them of the sneaker giant’s change of plans. Lupo said Nike will provide the job titles and number of affected employees in each impacted job category upon request.
The Nike executive also noted that the soon-to-be displaced workers are not represented by a labor organization and will be notified directly.
A Nike spokesman acknowledged a request for comment Monday, but declined comment. Asher said Tuesday, “This just seems to be an adjustment of their company’s business. This doesn’t have to do with COVID. It doesn’t have to do with anything about fires [in Oregon.] Just like a lot of companies are adjusting to the current times, that’s what they’re doing. It’s big here and nationwide because Nike is such a huge company.”
Noting that Nike is a leading employer in Oregon, Asher said he couldn’t speculate what the ripple effect of the 700 job cuts would be on area suppliers and local businesses.