UNITE HERE, the labor union representing textile and hospitality workers throughout North America, collected approximately 12,000 petitions and distributed handbills at 40 American Eagle stores over the past month in an effort to urge American Eagle to join the Accord.
In a message to the Global Union Federation IndustriALL on Wednesday, July 10, American Eagle stated its intent to sign on to the Accord and join this historic effort to improve workplace safety in the troubled Bangladeshi garment industry. Global Union Federations IndustriALL and UNI worked with companies and NGOs to draft the Accord and convened companies and unions as signatories; UNITE HERE is an affiliate of both IndustriALL and UNI.
American Eagle did not source from the factories where the calamities occurred, but as a significant buyer of Bangladeshi apparel, the company can play an important role in protecting worker safety and preventing future tragedies. Today, students and UNITE HERE members are joined by Amirul Haque Amin, President of the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) of Bangladesh, celebrating this victory and discussing next steps in the effort to expand the Accord to other retailers.
Visiting New York on a U.S. tour in conjunction with the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Mr. Amin is calling for greater cooperation through the Accord to improve conditions in the garment industry, and highlighting the urgent need to press other retailers to join in this initiative for meaningful reform in Bangladesh.
"It's an exciting day for garment workers in Bangladesh and throughout the world. I'm looking forward to harnessing the energy of this victory and continuing to fight for workers' rights abroad and here at home too," said Mike Stivers, a junior at the City University of New York's Hunter College, who was part of the efforts to collect petitions urging American Eagle to join the Accord.
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