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

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 !

 

Seattle Westin Flash Mob

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

Workers, Summer Organizers Rally in Downtown Seattle

During our first week as summer organizers with UNITE HERE Local 8 in Seattle, we were thrown into action head on! On Thursday, July 7th we rallied with over 150 workers outside of the Westin hotel in downtown Seattle. We even made it on the local news! In this video, Anh, another summer organizer, can be seen chanting into the camera about 13 seconds in:

New contract negotiations are coming up soon at the Westin and the contract demands are for better wages, job security, safe workloads, and basic respect on the job! Westin workers as well as workers from the Space Needle and the Edgewater hotel rallied outside in solidarity to demand a fair and just contract. It was awesome to witness workers and community members mobilizing for a cause that affects all of us. The commitment of the workers was especially inspiring as many people dedicated their day off or their 20 minute lunch break to rallying. Our members work hard, and they fight just as hard to improve their working conditions!

Local 8 in actionA big conference was going on at the hotel that weekend that brought people involved in an international service organization to the city of Seattle; members from many countries around the world were present. Having the rally during that time was the perfect opportunity to expose the plight of workers not only to the local community but also to the international community. Westin as a multi-national chain employs workers around the world to create luxury environments for hotel guests, and Westin needs to treat workers with the same dignity and respect as it treats customers.

The workers know what they are fighting for and won’t back down! We. Got. This.

-Kendra, Summer Organizer, Seattle