Story at a glance
- The sportswear giant will fill 30 percent of new roles with black and Latino hires.
- This comes after black employees demanded more investment in the black community from the company.
Athletic company Adidas has pledged to hire people of color for 30 percent of new job openings in the U.S.
This comes amid national protests calling for the dismantling of racist power systems in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. In addition to this catalyst, Adidas has been accused of profiting off the merchandising of black culture without doing anything to help advance black Americans economically or socially.
In response to the criticism, 30 percent of all new positions in the U.S. in both Adidas and Reebok stores will be staffed with black and Latino employees, and the company will also finance 50 college scholarships for black students every year over the next five years.
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The Wall Street Journal reports that Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted stated that “The events of the past two weeks have caused all of us to reflect on what we can do to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism.”
As Adidas, like many other retail companies, has voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement and solidarity with protesters, its employees are holding them accountable.
Earlier this week, industry website Footwear News reported that roughly 13 black employees at Adidas formed a coalition to represent more than 100 employees, and submitted a 32-page document to corporate leaders at the company demanding change.
The coalition represents international workers as well as domestic ones, with the document reportedly stating that in Germany, where Adidas is based, workers of color face greater disparities and discrimination than in other locations.
The coalition asked the company to invest more in the black community, with specific key performance indicators, or metrics, to track the company’s progress.
Corporate Adidas responded by saying it will invest $20 million in black communities in the U.S. over the next four years, primarily aimed at serving underfunded athletic programs.
“We recognize the immense contribution of the Black community to our success and that of others,” the Adidas board said to the Journal in a statement.
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