Portland-headquartered Danner Boots employs 180 members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 who make and sell work, outdoor, and military boots. The Danner brand is currently owned by LaCrosse Footwear Inc., a publicly-traded company that bought Danner in 1994. LaCrosse relocated to Portland in 2001.
Last month, Tokyo-based ABC-MART announced plans to purchase LaCrosse. ABC-MART is the largest retail shoe company in Asia.
Following the announcement, CEO Joe Schneider said the Portland factory would not be affected.
During a recent tour of the plant, company officials told the Northwest Press that Japanese citizens love Danner Boots and that Japan has been a big customer for more than 20 years. They said the recent Korea Free Trade Agreement also has opened up a new market for its boots.
Jeff Anderson, secretary-treasurer of Local 555, said “we look forward to continuing our good working relationship with Danner, and we look forward to expanding our domestically-produced boots globally.”
A few weeks ago the U.S. Marine Corps placed an order for 220,000 pairs of Danner’s Rugged All-Terrain (RAT) hot weather and temperate boots. That’s a $29 million pay day.
With that order Danner is recalling 15 workers who were laid off in March after their last big military order was completed. The company also is ramping up to hire 90 more workers in the coming months for a second shift, said Union Representative Omar Aviña-Trejo.
“Not only is the United States Marine Corps’ request for more RAT boots a testament to the boots’ proven performance in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, it speaks to our outstanding employees’ dedication to quality and service excellence,” CEO Schneider said in a news release.
Danner does manufacture some of its boots in Asia. All boots made in Portland have a flag of the U.S. stitched on it, along with a label on the box that says, “Made in the USA with Union Labor.”
UFCW ratified a new three-year contract at Danner in January 2012.