Labor Solidarity Protests Successful!
International Actions (targeting FootLocker and Tainan Industries) get results!
From Campaign for Labor Rights:
Over 20 actions happened on that day across the U.S. Actions happened in Taiwan and El Salvador as well, so we were resisting the union-busting closure of the Tainan factory on three continents at the same time!
Foot Locker called us (Campaign for Labor Rights) about half way through the day on Thursday, and folks at US/LEAP actually talked to Foot Locker representatives who said that they would consider writing a letter to Tainan regarding the abuses in the Salvadoran plant.
Also, representatives from Tainan Enterprises met with activists in Taiwan after their rally and agreed to meet with the union to discuss the situation in El Salvador. While there is still significant doubt that the company is willing to negotiate the reopening of the factory, it is a big step forward that they have even agreed to sit down to talk!
Though we haven't yet heard from the Foot Locker about whether or not they sent the letter to Tainan, the fact that they responded so quickly to our collective pressure and that Tainan will be meeting with the workers' union demonstrates how powerful we can be when we act together across borders.
Thanks to organizers in the following cities and towns for pulling actions together on such short notice:
Washington, DC (two different actions)
New York City
This would be incredibly long if I were to include report-backs from all of these actions - so here are just seven of the reports:
1. San Salvador, El Salvador (Report by the STIT union):
"We took part approximately 40 persons since they will see and went approximately two stables up to the embassy. Initially they did not want to receive our letter, but the noise was very much like to put I trouble the ambassador in the exclusive neighborhood of the zone rose. The consignias was similar that in Taiwan and that in the messages of alert. The workers of Tainan felt very moved, it was a small but very significant protest. Few ones go to protesting in exclusive neighborhoods. Well, many hope is the one that we feel in this moment. So much as the pride of being a part of this effort in several parts of the planet. We estimate very much the support of your, yours advices, yours actions and yours words of breath in the difficult moments."
2. Taipei, Taiwan:
"In spite of the rain in Taipei, there are some forty representatives from trade unions, student groups, religious groups and other organizations showed up in front of the TE headquaters at 10:00. We called out our slogans: Stop Union Busting! Stop Plant Closing! Defend the Right to Organize! The demonstrators played a satire "action theater" showing how Tony Yang (CEO of Tainan) claimed to be a good Christian but violates the ethical teachings of the Bible. The unrepentant Tony Yang in the skit eventually burned in the sulfur fire. Then, representatives from various groups spoke out in support of Salvadoran workers and denounce the union busting. Trade unionist especially noted the similarities between the TE Salvador case and many disputes we have experienced in Taiwan. A company officer then came down to receive our protest letter. Despite the presence of the police and company security guards, the protest is peaceful and upbeat...Finally, they asked our opinion about how to resolve the problem. Our response was this: If they reopen the ES plants and resume negotiations with the STIT union for a collective bargaining agreement, the dispute will be over and everyone will be happy. We, the supporters, cannot agree on anything lower than this. Only the STIT union have the authority to agree on a negotiated outcome...Wu Tao-Chang promised to take our demands back to the company board and seriously consider the matter. Wu Tao-Chang said that he is willing to go to the US for negotiation."
3. Merrillville, IN:
"I left...when a security guard said 'they' had requested that I leave. I explained the flyer to him, and commented that he might belong to a union himself. He asked for a few more copies and I also gave him copies of the information sheet. He said he would put the flyer up in the squad room. He may have just wanted to humor me. One shopper commented that, 'All the clothing companies do it.'"
4. Tucson, AZ:
"We planned to flier at the Foot Locker on the South (brown) side of town. It's the only one of the three local FL's that isn't in a mall. They had a security guard hired since they had heard an action might take place. She was OK w/ us leafleting as long as we didn't obstruct traffic, and then after about forty minutes a more zealous security guard told us the that the entire strip mall was private property, and that we couldn't stay on the sidewalks. Since we had minors with us, we decided to just bail and try our luck at the FL in the El Con Mall. We passed out fliers there for about fifteen minutes (inside the mall) before getting caught and escorted out by security. Cops were called and showed up, but we were already on our way out."
5. New York, NY (Delegation to Foot Locker Headquarters):
"[We] had a relatively successful visit to Footlocker's office today. There's no real security in the lobby of the building: you can go straight up to Footlocker's floors; 2-4. Once there, someone has to buzz you in, but they've got phone directories with every employee's extensions right out on the table, and they tell you to just call directly...we dialed Matthew Serra's extention: 3832, and told his assistant that we had this letter we wanted to give him: she came out and met us, and We sort of bent her ear for a minute, telling her the whole story, asking whether She knew if he'd received other letters or emails on the topic (she didn't), And urging her to make sure he read the letter and got back to us... So it was useful as a reconnaissance visit, if nothing else."
6. Portland, OR:
"There were six of us in the mall yesterday, and we were able to leaflet a lot of people for about a half an hour - standing right in the mall entrance to the Foot Locker - before the security called the police. (And we stayed a bit longer even then, which thoroughly agitated them.) We had a couple big signs and talked to a lot of people. Footlocker heard our message. (Maybe Ann Taylor too -- coincidentally right across the mall aisle from Footlocker.) I'm sure you'll keep us informed of what happens - people were really excited to know that it was happening in so many different places at the same time."
7. Washington D.C:
"About 10 AFL-CIO staff and interns from a nearby labor-affiliated non-profit international institute leafleted the downtown Footlocker store in the rain today at lunchtime. The store manager was suitably unhappy about our presence and was on the phone with his higher-ups during most of the leafleting."
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