Nervous Nike employees await dreaded layoffs

Finally, the days of $200 tennis shoes are over.  According to this Oregon Live report layoffs are on the way at Nike.

Nike Inc. implemented the second phase of its downsizing Wednesday, notifying hundreds of employees they were being let go.

The athletic footwear giant faces an increasingly difficult market environment and announced in June it would lay off about 2 percent of its workforce. That equates to about 1,400 employees.

The first cuts came in June — most of them in the product development and technology side of the company. Many more, from operations, sales support and customer service and other units, got the bad news this week.

Phil Gold worked for the company for 15 years, most of them in IT roles. He was one of hundreds of technology workers laid off in June. He said veteran employees who commanded higher salaries felt the brunt of the layoffs.

“They definitely targeted tenured, experienced employees as a money-saving thing with very little regard for how the work is going to get done,” Gold said. “It wasn’t about performance.”

High anxiety reigned inside the Nike hallways as employees got emails notifying them to report to a conference room on Tuesday or Wednesday. There, human resources officials made the notifications and told them what kind of severance package, if any, they could expect.

One veteran of more than 10 years told The Oregonian/OregonLive he received 25 weeks of severance pay. Like other newly unemployed workers, he didn’t want his name used for fear of losing his severance.

It’s unclear how many of the 1,400 layoffs will be in Oregon. The company employs 74,000 worldwide, including 12,000 at its headquarters and neighboring business parks in Washington County. It’s in the process of a billion-dollar expansion of its headquarters, launched long before it talked of cutbacks.

From the backwoods of Michigan, Thomas Dishaw is writer and health hacker. Thomas currently resides outside Philadelphia with his wife and dog. You can support Thomas' work by making a donation below or following him on Instagram. You can reach Thomas via email at

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