Midwest Locals Take Action at Chicago American Eagle

Chicago, IL – “Upon arriving at Water Tower we quickly strategized outside then proceeded to the action. We took the escalator up to the sixth floor and had one more short prep session. We walked into American Eagle and immediately asked to speak with the manager on duty. A young lady who looked to be about 25 informed us that there were several on duty but that she could help us. I told her about the conditions of many of the American Eagle facilities overseas and of course she was not aware. I also told her about the Bangladesh accord that American Eagle had not signed on to yet and she was not aware of that either. After several more uncomfortable questions one of her fellow managers came to her aid and promised us he would contact someone in their corporate office.  We left the register and talked to the few customers that were in the store and left fliers in the pants and shirt pockets.

After about 15 minutes of leafleting the store we were asked to leave by the same manager that we approached. After a few awkward minutes of back and forth we left the store. Then right on queue mall security walked up to the store and told us there was to be no soliciting in Water Tower and asked us to leave. Even though we were not soliciting anything we complied and followed mall security down the escalators. Initially there was one man but by the time we reached the doors to the street there were about five or six of them.

This was a great action that I learned a lot from. First I learned that the employees are just as clueless as the customers. That is, the company does not inform them about their business practices. Not even the store managers knew. I was a bit surprised that they did not know anything about what had happened in Bangladesh either. I also learned that the employees are not on the board. What I mean by this is that they don’t make the decisions as to where American Eagles builds factories. The employees do not make the decision to exploit workers in foreign lands. It felt good to know that I was helping them learn about the true practices of their employer. Finally I learned that it is not hard to get kicked out of a shopping mall. Overall the action was very fun and I am excited to do more of them. It feels good being apart of something bigger, knowing that this was going on simultaneously in 20 other cities. I believe that the strategy will work because after about ten minutes of being in the store we got one of the managers on the phone with corporate. If they receive enough of those calls something will change.”

–  Erik 22, OBB Chicago Local 1


Pittsburgh supports!

Staying Busy in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh represents

The last few weeks have been inspiring and very active for us in Pittsburgh!

We have done leafleting at local CVS stores for the Sky Chefs actions, as well as rallying outside of Lufthansa’s headquarters in New York with over 200 members and students! We also attended the sustainable foods module in Connecticut and left with a better understanding of how we can bring the Labor Movement into focus within the Sustainable Foods Movement.

On Saturday we had our last Social Justice Organizer Training, during which Cleve Jones spoke and blew everyone away with his powerful experiences and dedication to moving the fight for civil rights forward.

In the upcoming days we are also going to do leaflet actions for Hyatt Hotels and meet with our local members to update them on the community outreach we have been working on. All in all it has been a great summer with numerous opportunities to learn and grow. UNITE HERE is an amazing organization and it has been a true honor to work alongside its members and organizers. Here in Pittsburgh we intend to keep close contact with our local, and continue to contribute to the ongoing struggles and campaigns.

-Meredith, Summer Organizer, Pittsburgh