“Eat the Street” Food Truck Rally in Hawaii

Honolulu, HI – The OBB team hit the streets of Kaka’ako during the “Eat the Street” food truck rally with their guerilla theater skit, entitled “Trouble in Paradise”. The skit received rave reviews and encountered run-ins with the event staff and local police. The skit sought to educate and engage the public through the portrayal of the current condo conversion crisis, which threatens local union jobs and drains valuable resources out of our state.

“On July 17, the OBB crew participated in two exciting actions. Starting at the delegate convention of Local 5 membership, we encircled Kaiser’s corporate office to demonstrate our disappointment in their attempts to bully employees and cut their pension plans and the negative impact on patient care in our communities, while they increase their profit. Then the OBBs met our Aikea community members and Local 5 members at the historic Ilikai Hotel. The OBBs were part of staging the largest rally Local 5 has done in years. After leading chants they developed and performing their skit, “trouble in paradise”  the OBBs finally ended the day at a festive dinner with the delegates, shop stewards, and organizers of Local 5.”

– Kimiko, Summer Organizer, Hawaii


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.

Long Beach Training – The Living Wage Campaign

I was very honored to go to Long Beach with some of the other San Antonio folks to learn about what Local 11 was doing in their multiple campaigns going on at the time. We started very early in the morning in San Antonio, landing at LAX by early afternoon. From there, it was non-stop activity, but in the best way possible. We started at the campaign office in Long Beach and learned from a panel of workers what the conditions were like at the hotels and some of the history of the fights with the hotels in the area, especially the Holiday Inn LAX. All the people we met were so nice, and I got to meet people from many different backgrounds. All of us coming together to share our ideas was a little awkward, but only at first. We quickly certainly learned more about each other. I won’t go into a play-by-play of the whole weekend, but some of the highlights: We were helping to canvass in favor of Measure N, the living wage campaign. This type of canvasing—door to door in residential neighborhoods—was a new experience for me, and it really taught me a lot not only about California but also my home state of Texas by comparison. I was astonished at how willing people were to learn about the political goings-on of their city; whereas in Texas I am often met with rejection at the mention of anything having to do with democracy. It helped me think about new ways to approach people about politics in Texas. The weekend taught me a lot about running an efficient campaign, especially with time resources. If you only have so many volunteers and you need to confirm a certain number of votes, allocate your time wisely when talking to people. It’s okay to admit that some people just don’t want to be convinced. The weekend also taught me about what could happen in San Antonio in the future as the union power here grows. Seeing Local 11 fighting several campaigns at once was just amazing to me, and it gave me hope for the future in both Long Beach and San Antonio.

John Dean, San Antonio

Northern California to Arizona Freedom Ride

Hello, my name is Justin and I would like to tell you about my second trip to Arizona to help register voters as part of the Adios Arpaio campaign. The decision to drive a van of twelve people fourteen hours each way to register voters was an easy one to make. The struggle for Immigrant workers dignity in Arizona is the most important thing I could do ever with my weekend and I had eleven other people with me who agreed. Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio was one of the key proponents of SB1070 and has led its enforcement in Maricopa County. Because this was my second trip to Arizona, it gave me a little perspective on what to expect on the ground.  The thing I would never have expected was the hard work and amazing results Union Organizers and community volunteers in Phoenix had accomplished in such little time. My first trip in July of this year, I recall the numbers of registrations the Union had helped facilitate as close to ten thousand. Over those two months the volunteers and Union Organizers had garnered a total of twenty five thousand voter registrations. Less than two weeks after our trip, the final numbers of voters registered would be thirty our thousand. I remember two of the most amazing volunteers were two young men who were brothers. These brothers were an inspiring duo. I watched one of them register sixteen voters in a four hour period and the other power map a local library like a pro because he wanted to be able to register voters inside and not at the curb. It was inspiring for all of us to volunteer our time for something we believe in and deepened my commitment to the Union Movement in America.

– Justin, 2012 OBB Summer Organizer

HEI Boycott Campaign in San Diego

My time this summer organizing with HEI hotel workers transformed the way I view meaningful activism. My time in San Diego was a key part of this.  Dozens of HEI worker leaders from across the country gathered with 12 summer organizers for two days of actions and inspirational meetings. We saw management avoid us when confronted with a large delegation of students and workers. We picketed with people of all generations as management attempted to physically block our action with busses and speakers.   And, perhaps most importantly, we met and shared our stories.

I learned that true change comes about as a result of sincere and diligent attention to the relationships I make, as well as listening, responding, and organizing my efforts according to the needs of others. Our boycott campaign to move business out of the Sheraton hotel in Crystal City is an ongoing struggle, but my time spent on it this summer has helped hone my abilities toward a sharper understanding of what it takes to defeat a company that seems powerful beyond relief. The longer I’ve fought, the more familiar I’ve become with how powerful the union really is, and I know that everyone I’ve worked with this summer at the hotel has what it takes to beat HEI.

Matthew, 2012 Summer Organizer, Washington D.C