LS&Co. Employees Make a Difference for Democracy – Levi Strauss & Co

Brooke Bryant, Unzipped Staff
Levi Strauss & Co.
October 21, 2020

This year, in support of our focus on getting out the vote – and in response to unprecedented interest from employees – we expanded our efforts to give our workforce a host of new opportunities to engage before, during and after Election Day.

From volunteering to serving up civic inspiration, here are all the ways our employees have been activating around the election.

Volunteering as poll workers

We partnered with Power the Polls this year to recruit new volunteers to help fill the nationwide poll worker shortage and are giving employees, including our retail staff, paid time off to volunteer at the polls. We’ve had nearly 200 people sign up to volunteer in precincts across the country, and employees have been hard at work learning the ins and outs of the election process through online training.

Getting out the vote

Employees are also finding other ways to encourage voter turnout and contribute to the democratic process. Members of the Legal Team have been volunteering with the Election Protection hotline to answer questions and provide assistance to those who encounter voting obstacles. Others have been participating in opportunities like digital registration drives, registering their own friends and family and writing postcards to potential voters.

That includes Martyn Lindley in Eugene, who has written more than 500 postcards to people who might have been purged from the voter rolls and young people who are eligible to vote for the first time. “I find writing postcards more satisfying than phone banking, and I feel they reach more people – because everyone checks their mail,” Martyn said.

Serving as a voting advocate

We created our Voting Captain program to tap into the passion and energy of our most civic-minded employees, who have volunteered to bring voting reminders and resources to their colleagues and communities. These employees take the lead in making sure their teams are engaged around the latest voting efforts. Among the most active this year are our retail Voting Captains, who have been rallying retail workers, posting voting information in store breakrooms and serving as a resource for store staff – many of whom are first-time voters.

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“I am passionate about voting and voting rights,” said Voting Captain Sean Cox, a Levi’s® store manager in North Carolina. “I think too many people skip voting because they don’t believe their voice will be heard. But with the right information and encouragement, you can change people’s minds quickly and help them become an active participant.”

Voting Captain Danny Acevedo, a senior manager in marketing, has hung up huge letters spelling out V-O-T-E in front of his house. He has also convinced three family members to vote for the first time and is working the polls on voting weekend with a neighbor.

Voting Captain and manager on the IT team Tricia Young has volunteered to work phone banks and be a poll worker this year. She’s also leaning into something that voting advocates say is key: making voting a communal activity. Tricia has scheduled a video call with her mom and sons to review the ballot and talk through some of the more confusing propositions together.

Voting Captain Christine Funches, a store manager in Las Vegas, is also making voting a family affair. Early voting in Las Vegas kicked off last weekend, and she was hoping to be one of the first in line – along with her husband, children and granddaughter, who is voting for the first time this year.

Donating to nonprofits

Employees are supporting nonprofits that are doing important work to make elections safe and accessible to all – from ACLU, which has been defending civil liberties for 100 years, to Black Voters Matter, working on voter turnout in Black communities. LS&Co. is once again matching these contributions 1:1, up to our annual matching cap of $2,000. This is on top of the $2.8 million the Levi Strauss Foundation and company are providing to more than 20 voting rights and engagement organizations.

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Serving up civic inspiration

We’re committed to cultivating a culture of civic engagement, and our own employees have provided some of the most powerful voices of inspiration. They have been sharing their “Why I Vote” stories to help encourage others. See what they had to say:

See more vote stories here.

Helping employees activate

We have been providing tools and resources the last few months to make it easier for LS&Co. employees to get informed and involved and use their voices this election season. That includes:

  • Time to vote: Because no one should have to choose between voting and earning a paycheck, we’re making paid time off to vote available to our employees.
  • Rides to the polls: Another part of our commitment to reducing the obstacles to voting is partnering with the ride-sharing app Lyft to offer free rides to the polls to our retail and distribution center employees, starting on Early Vote Day on Saturday, October 24 and running through Election Day on November 3.
  • Understanding ballots: Our grant partner IGNITE – a movement of young women who are training to become the next generation of political leaders – organized a ballot education workshop for employees, breaking groups out by state to dig into the specifics of the ballot measures around the country.
  • Election information: We’ve been keeping our employees informed and up to date through our voting resources hub in partnership with Rock the Vote.

As our CEO Chip Bergh shared in a note to U.S. employees this week, “Our democracy has always been a work in progress. That’s what makes it special. We all have a say in it. We can improve it through our actions, by using our voices. Voting is more than a fundamental right; it’s the cornerstone of our democracy. And our democracy becomes fuller, fairer and more vibrant with each person who takes part.”


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