Sears Bails on YLC, Fears Media Attention

January 28, 2011 in Featured

Click Here to download our evidence packet concerning Sears’ Global Compliance

On January 20th, the Youth Labor Committee had been planning on meeting with representatives from Sears Holdings Corporation in order to discuss Sears’ global compliance program together. This was as a direct response to the result of their last meeting, on December 10th at Sears’ corporate headquarters. At this meeting, representatives of Sears had asked that the YLC examine their Global Compliance Program, as they believed that it would appropriately address the issues which the YLC had broached. The Youth Labor Committee followed this path of action, spending the weeks after the first meeting researching Sears’ Global Compliance Program and analyzing the issues within these standards.

On December 16th, a representative of Sears contacted the YLC and expressed an interest in meeting with the group and discussing Sears’ global compliance program. This quickly led to the setting of an official date, January 20th, which was agreed upon by both the representatives from Sears and the YLC to be a meeting in which they would discuss Sears’ compliance policies. The members of the Youth Labor Committee planned on this day and began conducting research, coordinating a place to meet, scheduling approximately five hundred students to attend, attempting to contact the local press, and preparing a presentation for the representatives from Sears.
Unfortunately, Sears was unable to attend the planned meeting. Approximately thirty minutes before the meeting had been planned to commence, the Youth Labor Committee received an e-mail from a representative of Sears which stated that there had been some difficulty in contacting the YLC, and that the representatives from Sears would not be able to attend, based on the grounds that the media had been invited. It should be noted, however, that only one media outlet was contacted as well as one third party, both of which stated it would be highly unlikely that either would attend, and indeed neither were able to attend.  Regardless of this information, the representatives from Sears chose to back out of the scheduled meeting.  The members of the Youth Labor Committee decided that the appropriate course of action would be to present the information to the students which had gathered to observe the meeting between the Youth Labor Committee and Sears.   Members of the YLC had prepared several speeches, a power-point presentation, and packets containing various reports detailing workers’ rights abuses in Sears’ factories across the world. The members who the YLC had designated to represent them in the discussion with Sears then gave the presentation, power-point, and speeches which they had prepared for Sears. This was both for the educational benefit of the student audience present, and also the members of Sears Holdings with whom the YLC had hoped to meet.  The three representatives of the Youth Labor Committee who spoke were Mike Kelley, Emily Voyles, and Nikolai Morse. They each gave a speech to the students gathered in the auditorium, and afterward answered questions from the audience.

The goal of the Youth Labor Committee at this meeting had been to hold an intelligent and civil discourse with representatives of the Sears Holdings Corporation in the hopes of demonstrating the necessity for Sears to take clear steps to aid its workers around the world. This was not possible as Sears was not present; however, it remains the ardent desire of the Youth Labor Committee to schedule another meeting with representatives of Sears, and to work closely with them in order to aid their workers who are suffering across the globe. Together, the Youth Labor Committee and Sears can aid these people, and help to bring justice and accountability to this world.