Rally at Seattle Pride Parade

Seattle, WA – “ Pride was an awesome opportunity to connect the LGBTQ community and labor movement, as well as show Seattle about our fight for justice at the Space Needle! Everyone liked our float and hopefully will be ready to fight with us for dignity and equality in Seattle!”

– Megan, Summer Organizer, Seattle

“This year was my first time attending Pride. Watching people, if even just for one day, being accepting of each other unconditionally was a powerful thing. It made me see how the world could be if we just embraced our differences.”

– Crystal, Space Needle Worker, Local 8 Member

“This rally was very emotional for me. I was very happy to see all the couples and allies celebrating this victory. It was amazing to see the different generations of people fighting for equality in America”

– Maria, Summer Organizer, Seattle


Victory Lap – NYC Delegation to American Eagle Headquarters


New York, NY – “The action on Friday for the American Eagle campaign was exciting and eventful. Being part of the leading delegation at the headquarters I watched as the Bangladesh garment workers union representative, Amin, and Unite Here’s Local 100 Organizer, Milan, spoke with an executive. The conversation went well despite the fact that security forcibly pushed us out. This particular action did get the attention of the company. Afterward, at the Gap, we were able to have conversations with two managers and had a successful mike check and leafleting drive. Lastly, we gave the managers at American Eagle the petitions and congratulated them, who seemed to respond positively. Overall the actions were fun and felt like they made an impact.

– Shamima, NYC Research

As some of you may have already heard, our OBB, Organizing Beyond Barriers, Summer Organizers have led a very impressive campaign with American Eagle, pressuring the company to sign the historic Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety—which has ended in VICTORY!

We received word from our allies that American Eagle had agreed to sign the accord as of Thursday of last week. The next day they changed the Corporate Social Responsibility page on their website to read that, indeed, they were publicly acknowledging that they had signed the accord! This is the binding agreement that many international labor groups helped craft, not the non-binding, extremely weak Walmart-Gap agreement that became public the same day.

Our allies in this effort have made it very clear that the reason for American Eagle’s decision in contrast to other retailers is the relentless ground campaign that we ran, which included 40 delegations and over 12,000 signatures collected on petitions in only 4 weeks culminating in a NYC-OBB-Team-led delegation to Corporate Headquarters alongside Amin, the president of the Bangladeshi Garment Workers Union.

In Prayer and Solidarity

– Stuart Mora, American Eagle Outfitters Campaign Coordinator for Organizing Beyond Barriers

“I am a student-writer at San Diego City College and a Summer Organizer with OBB reporting briefly from two intense days of learning and actions in L.A.  In particular, I was affected by the actions taken at the American Eagle stores in Los Angeles.  As many of us know, the story of UNITE HERE includes more than a century in the textile and clothing industries.  The action against American Eagle connected us to this history while advocating for workers in another part of the world.  When we performed the delegation I felt we made a connection with abused workers not only in Bangladesh but around the world.

When the delegation began, for a few seconds I was frightened…what gave me strength was to think on all the workers and children that died in the worst garment factory accident ever; only because corporations are too greedy to care about workers. I could finally hear my voice, at first with fear, later, I did not care who was watching me. We cannot show fear when fighting for the rights of workers.  When it was time to leaflet outside the store and talk to customers passing by, it was empowering to see that you don’t need to be an expert to raise awareness and create consciousness among the public, you just have to put yourself out there and take a stand. I liked seeing how each of the participants had a unique way to get the message across. And in the end, we delivered the message!  One woman told me , This is eye opening for me; I didn’t realize the suffering of other people, we are really lucky.

In the end, learning that American Eagle signed the Agreement on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a lesson we can never forget; the people have power when fighting in solidarity.  It’s an achievement we earned together. The passion and hard work of many of us together made the change.  With our actions we are building bridges with all workers.”


Sandra, San Diego OBB Summer Organizer

We came to punish the glutton with a substance that can’t be contained, FOOD Brand Foods ©

Press Coverage:

MarketWatch (Wall Street Journal) – http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unite-here-international-labor-rights-forum-and-bangladeshi-garment-workers-president-announce-american-eagle-as-latest-retailer-to-join-bangladesh-safety-accord-2013-07-12?reflink=MW_news_stmp

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/american-eagle-agrees-to-sign-accord-on-safety-in-bangladesh-garment-industry-695220/

Woman’s Wear Daily http://www.wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-scoops/american-eagle-signs-on-7050837

American Eagle Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/americaneagle/posts/10151654874619039

ILRF http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/sweatshops/sweatshop-fires-in-bangladesh/news/nite-here-international-lab

Fibre2Fashion http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/apparel-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=148597

Just-Style http://www.just-style.com/analysis/social-media-misses-the-mark-when-it-matters_id118450.aspx

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Marine Corps did not renew sponsorship of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Las Vegas, Nevada – After a nationwide public outcry, the U.S. Marine Corps did not renew its sponsorship of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the Las Vegas-based promoter of cage fighting events.

“We applaud the Marine Corps for taking this important step that respects the dignity of our men and women in uniform,” said Beatriz Topete, a U.S. Army veteran and director of the Veterans Committee of UNITE HERE, a labor union that represents more than 250,000 workers in the hospitality industry in North America. “We believe it is time for other sponsors to follow the lead of the Marine Corps and sever all ties with the UFC.”

The decision by the Marine Corps follows months of outrage and media attention. Military veterans, LGBTQ activists and survivors of sexual assault publicly called on the Marine Corps to sever its ties with the UFC over violent, homophobic, misogynistic and otherwise socially irresponsible remarks made by UFC fighters and its president, Dana White. The campaign to end the UFC-Marine Corps partnership was supported by more than two dozen state and national organizations. They included the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Protect Our Defenders, National Institute of Military Justice, Veterans For Common Sense, Veterans For Peace, Veterans United For Truth, Women in the Military Project, and Sanctuary Project Veterans, as well as individual survivors of military sexual assault.

“This action by the Marine Corps is a step in the right direction. Military culture for too long has permitted degrading, violent and hate-filled speech and behavior towards men and women,” said Nancy Parrish, President of Protect Our Defenders, a national group that advocates for survivors of military sexual assault.

Popular UFC fighters have joked about rape on their public Twitter accounts, and made remarks that are demeaning towards women, gays and Latinos. In a disturbing video published in April on YouTube, UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson pretends to sexually assault a woman in a parking garage using chloroform and zip ties. Jackson is scheduled to fight on the “UFC on FOX 6” event on Jan. 26th.

Other sponsors or business partners of the UFC include: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Edge Shaving Gel, Electronic Arts, FOX, Harley-Davidson Inc., MetroPCS Communications, MusclePharm, SafeAuto, Toyo Tires, TapouT, and XYIENCE Energy.

Pride Day in Seattle

Pride this year exceeded the expectations set by previous years. The Local 8 staff came together on a rainy Saturday to put together a fabulous float for the parade on Sunday. The float was filled with balloons, streamers, union members in hotel worker costumes, and of course a bed fulfilling the ‘Sleep with the Right People’ motto. It was encouraging to see how many friends and family members came out to support the LGBT + Labor cause. The crowd participation showed the support that the Seattle community has for their LGBT union members and the reaction reinforces the solidarity between these groups. As OBBers we took initiative to not only help with preparation but fully participate in the dancing and parade activities. We also were excited to see our fellow OBBers from Portland come and join the celebration by dressing up and marching with us. We are looking forward to next year, which will hopefully bring an even more colorful and fabulous float as well as more member and community support.

“The best part was being able to dress up in a housekeeper uniform and having a real housekeeper show us the moves of what it really takes to get the job done.” – Amy, Seattle OBB Intern

“The energy of the crowd was awesome and we definitely fed off that. So much support.” – Chris, Seattle OBB Intern

Above Photo: An UNITEHERE staff member’s baby enjoying the LGBT parade.
Below Photo: Chris, Seattle OBB Intern, showing his support by dancing in the LGBT Parade.

Read smiliar stories from OBBers during Pride Week in Chicago and New York !


Montana UFC Delegation

“On July 12th, our local participated in the nationwide delegation to the United States Marine Corps Recruiting offices.  In attendance was our fearless leader, Executive Officer Mark Anderlik, the OBB interns, Rory and Shannon, as well as a local activist and Army veteran (Spec 4, Vietnam 1966-67, 4th Infantry) Mick Harsell. Upon our arrival both recruiters were polite but firm in stating that they had time demands elsewhere.  They allowed us five minutes and we took the time and ran with it. We made the ask, and reinforced our demands.  They declined to take the video material provided or the petitions but we were still able to make an impression on them.  They responded with a referral to their senior M.P.A. in Salt Lake City.  We have the contact information and will be doing some follow up. For Rory and I, our first delegation went as well as we could have expected it to.  We learned quite a bit and were able to sharpen our skills and think on our feet.  We enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of this nationwide campaign and look forward to more exciting actions to come!”

– Shannon (OBB Montana)

Photo: The Missoula USMC Delegation on July 12, 2012 before entering: (L-R) Mick Harsell, Spec 4, USA, 4th Division Vietnam 1966-7, retired APWU Postal Worker; Rory, OBB intern; Shannon, OBB intern.

Seattle Westin Flash Mob

Check out this flash mob at the Seattle Westin, led and organized by Seattle’s Summer Organizers!