Funding Bills Include Landmark Provision Requiring Department of Defense to Provide American-made Athletic Footwear to Recruits
Rockford, Mich., June 21, 2016 — Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) today commended members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation for their support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2017. Both the House and Senate have now passed their respective versions of the NDAA, which authorizes defense-related programs for the coming fiscal year. The House and Senate versions of the NDAA include language that directs the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to comply with the Berry Amendment and provide 100% American-made athletic footwear to service members upon their entry into the armed forces. The House defeated an amendment proposed to the defense appropriations bill that would strike this provision from the NDAA.
Members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation, notably Representative Bill Huizenga, Senator Gary Peters, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative John Moolenaar, strongly supported this NDAA provision. Their hard work and leadership during NDAA consideration has ensured that military recruits will have access to high-quality, American-made athletic footwear for training. Their support and dedication to this effort has also aided the expansion of manufacturing opportunities in Michigan.
“I thank the members of our Congressional delegation for their unwavering commitment to the footwear needs of our armed services,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine Worldwide’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “Supporting this critical provision demonstrates a clear understanding of the importance of manufacturing in our home state of Michigan and ensures that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will be provided with world-class, American-made athletic shoes for use in basic training. Senator Peters, Senator Stabenow, Representative Huizenga and Representative Moolenaar are leading the way toward maintaining a strong industrial base in Michigan and throughout the United States.”
Members of Michigan’s House of Representatives, in particular Representative Bill Huizenga, led the effort to prevent any changes to the athletic footwear provision during consideration of the House’s defense appropriations bill.
During the amendment debate, Representative Huizenga was quoted as saying, “In Michigan, Bates produces Berry-compliant combat boots and dress shoes for our warfighters and is ready to do the same for military recruits with its All-American-made Saucony athletic shoes.”
A majority of the Michigan Congressional delegation voted to defeat the amendment and protect American jobs.
Enacted in 1941 to ensure the United States‘ ability to maintain viable industries for key military items, the Berry Amendment requires the Department of Defense to purchase only American-made and sourced clothing, textiles, foods and other essential military items for our men and women in uniform. Currently, the Department of Defense provides a cash allowance to new service members for the purchase of foreign-made athletic footwear for physical training.
In support of its longstanding partnership with the United States Department of Defense, Wolverine Worldwide has a manufacturing plant located in Big Rapids, Mich., which employs more than 600 people who proudly build a broad spectrum of footwear for the Department of Defense. Products manufactured in Big Rapids include combat boots for the service branches, mountain combat boots for Special Operations Forces, and military dress shoes.
Wolverine Worldwide has footwear manufacturing capabilities in its Big Rapids facility for several of the Company’s brands. Bates Footwear is a critical provider of combat boots and uniform dress footwear to the U.S. military, and the Company recently invested in an advanced manufacturing line to produce 100% Berry-compliant Saucony running shoes in this facility. Wolverine’s Saucony brand is a global leader in high performance running shoes and the Company is looking forward to the opportunity to build Saucony-branded, American-made athletic shoes for American service members.
ABOUT WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world’s leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company’s portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Merrell®, Hush Puppies®, Wolverine®, Sebago®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT® and Harley- Davidson®. The Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in more than 190 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.
Saucony, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, is a leading global running lifestyle brand that fuses performance, innovation and style to create compelling footwear and apparel with its widely recognized brands Saucony and Saucony Originals. Founded in 1898, Saucony continues to inspire runners everywhere with its award winning innovations, including the “Geometry of Strong™, PWRGRID+™, ISOFIT™, EVERUN™, and the Total Run System™ apparel line. At Saucony, a good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run. For more information, go to www.saucony.com.
ABOUT BATES FOOTWEAR
With a reputation for uncompromising performance in uniform footwear, Bates Footwear has been an industry leading tactical footwear brand for more than 130 years. As the leading supplier of uniform footwear to all branches of the United States military, Bates prides itself on providing footwear vested in superior protection and comfort. Engineered advancements such as Endurance Performance System, Code 6, Bates Individual Comfort System and Bates DuraShocks® set the brand apart and cement its status as the gold standard in uniform footwear. For more information and to view the product lines visit www.batesfootwear.com.