Posted: May 25th, 2022

Working Conditions essay paper

Levi Strauss case study brings to light working conditions for workers in foreign countries and incentive for employers to better such working conditions. One place, Dhaka, Bangladesh, is home to a multitude of apparel workers. While they experienced an increase in wages due to changes in national minimum wage, these same workers experienced increased expenses such as a doubling in rent (Associated Press, 2010). This demonstrates that while companies like Levi Strauss aim to improve working conditions or wages through top-down requirements, these actions cannot adequately address the multitude of hurdles workers face in raising their living standard.

Key Issues

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Levi Strauss & Co committed in spring of 2011, to build a new framework more aligned with Millennium Development Goals. The framework aims to encourage suppliers through incentives to improve the well-being of workers. For example, some of the new framework aligns with reduction of child mortality, ensuring environmental sustainability, and eradication of extreme hunger and poverty. The steps take appear to be a progressive stance, however, effectiveness lies in the company’s ability to monitor the supply chain and see if suppliers comply with the new framework. However, because the new ideals center on worker well-being, it is a step forward to eventual positive change. The first step towards promoting effective change and worker well-being is to become aware of the current actions of suppliers in relation to worker well-being. For example, going back to Bangladesh, the 2013 Savar building collapse a.k.a. Rana Plaza collapse, occurred due to a structural failure. Over one thousand people died that day with almost 2,500 injured (Manik & Najar, 2015). Regarded as one of the deadliest garment-factory accidents of modern human history, the disaster shows how effective reform is in foreign countries. While one area like wages may be increased, other areas like building structure, or use of building materials may not be improved, leading to unforeseen and deadly consequences. For any kind of approach towards improving worker well-being to be successful, there must be assessment of a multitude of areas such as building construction, working conditions, and so forth.


For Levi Strauss’ framework to work, the company’s modified framework must invest in the five pillars with the center of it being ‘improvement continuum’. Improvement continuum allows for continual change in focus and investment levels to suit the needs of workers in different factories and countries. One country, for instance, may have workers that need access to clean drinking water. Another may have workers that desire access to career opportunities. By focusing on three main areas of investment such as:

Assisting in extending benefits to the families of workers

1. Investing in community-level needs to improve the general living conditions for the local population

2. Meeting the basic needs of workers through utilization of the factory floor as an access point

Companies like Levi Strauss will be able to tackle the various potential problems that can occur in the supply chain.


In conclusion, Levi Strauss promotes use of incentives to improve worker well-being. However, many actions are required to ensure conditions for worker well-being are met. For example, the overall working conditions of workers need to be monitored as well as other important facets of worker-wellbeing like wages and breaks. These things must be actively monitored along with awareness of what suppliers do already, to meet the framework of improved worker well-being. Such action may help prevent disasters like the Rana Plaza collapse and promote worker well-being throughout the world. Without taking the necessary steps of monitoring for compliance of several key aspects of worker well-being, the incentives may be or remain ineffective.


Associated Press. (2010, July 29). Minimum wage for workers in Bangladesh raised after protests | World news | The Guardian. Retrieved from

Manik, J. A., & Najar, N. (2015, June 1). Bangladesh Police Charge 41 With Murder Over Rana Plaza Collapse – The New York Times. Retrieved from

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