TELL AMERICAN EAGLE MANAGEMENT: BE STRAIGHT WITH YOUR WORKERS!

Earlier this month, American Eagle sent a letter to its retail workers telling them about UNITE HERE’s American Vulture boycott campaign. But Tom DiDonato, AE’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources, who signed the letter, told an incomplete version of the story. Send a message to DiDonato and the rest of AE management and let them know they need to be straight with their workers and customers. First, a little background on the boycott: American Eagle outsources its Canadian distribution operations to a company called NLS. Until 2006, the clothing company directly owned the distribution center. American Eagle remains NLS’s largest customer. Since American Eagle sold the facility, workers have reported conditions have deteriorated, wages stagnated, and they lack job security. When workers at NLS tried to improve conditions by forming a union, they faced harassment and intimidation. American Eagle’s own Code of Conduct specifically protects workers’ freedom of association and other basic rights. So students and activists across North America joined UNITE HERE to launch the American Vulture Back-to-School Boycott, calling on the company to live up to its values and enforce its Code of Conduct. It’s time for American Eagle to step up and take responsibility. Already, more than 4,000 supporters have signed on to the boycott or contacted American Eagle and NLS to voice their outrage with the tactics used at the warehouse.


Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
AE’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources Tom DiDonato

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: BE STRAIGHT WITH YOUR WORKERS!

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

I am aware that you sent a letter to your employees about the Back-to-School Boycott of American Eagle and the situation at National Logistics Services. I am very concerned that you failed to mention the existence of your own Code of Conduct for Vendors and Contractors, or the fact that NLS is accused of serious violations of workers’ rights, or even that American Eagle is not just “one of NLS’s many retail customers” but rather the largest and most important customer.

I ask that you tell the whole story to your employees. And if you really “take your role as corporate citizens very seriously,” you should take action to enforce your Code of Conduct at NLS and ensure that workers there have the opportunity to form a union free from management harassment and intimidation. My friends and I won’t be shopping at AE until you do so.

Sincerely,

Your name here

What’s At Stake:
American Eagle outsources its Canadian distribution operations to a company called NLS. Until 2006, the clothing company directly owned the distribution center. American Eagle remains NLS’s largest customer. Since American Eagle sold the facility, workers have reported conditions have deteriorated, wages stagnated, and they lack job security. When workers at NLS tried to improve conditions by forming a union, they faced harassment and intimidation. American Eagle’s own Code of Conduct specifically protects workers’ freedom of association and other basic rights. So students and activists across North America joined UNITE HERE to launch the American Vulture Back-to-School Boycott, calling on the company to live up to its values and enforce its Code of Conduct. It’s time for American Eagle to step up and take responsibility. Already, more than 4,000 supporters have signed on to the boycott or contacted American Eagle and NLS to voice their outrage with the tactics used at the warehouse. Here’s where American Eagle management got it wrong in their letter to workers: 1. They claim “…American Eagle has not been involved in any way with NLS operations for over one year and we are simply one of NLS’s many retail customers.” In reality, AE is NLS’s largest customer and has staff and an office at NLS. AE could sway the contractor to do the right thing if they wanted to. AEO’s adoption of a Code of Conduct for Vendors and Contractors means it still takes responsibility for the labor conditions at the Ontario facility where its clothing is packed and shipped. 2. They say “…NLS associates overwhelmingly voted against the union.” What they don’t say is that workers at NLS originally sought a union to improve deteriorating conditions at the warehouse, but faced harassment and intimidation when they tried to form a union. A majority of workers had expressed a desire to form a union just one week before the vote. Then NLS hired an American consulting firm that orchestrated an anti-union campaign. After that campaign, workers lost the vote to join UNITE HERE. 3. They tell workers that they “take (their) role as corporate citizens very seriously and have taken many steps to ensure that (they) are maintaining high standards.” Then why don’t they enforce their own Code of Conduct for Vendors and Contractors that says they won’t do business with any company that doesn’t respect its employees’ freedom of association and other basic rights? American Eagle management would like their workers and customers to think they are being unfairly targeted by the boycott, but really the boycott campaign is simply calling on the company to adhere to their own principles.
Campaign Expiration Date:
September 26, 2007

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