YLC featured in Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights Article

February 3, 2013 in Featured

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FIGHT SEARS’, LAND’S END’S USE OF SEXUALLY ABUSED FACTORY WORKERS

Students at high school near Sears headquarters demand response to Change.org petition, end to intimidating women to hide pattern of sexual abuse at Sears factory in Jordan.

CHICAGO, IL – A group of high school students from Chicago, Illinois are joining a viral campaign calling on some of the biggest brands in America — including Sears and Land’s End — to pull their orders from Classic Factory in Jordan, where managers have been accused of serially raping young female workers.

The students, who formed the Youth Labor Committee to collectively bring their demands to Sears, launched a petition on Change.org following allegations that Sears has been buying garments made at Classic Factory in Jordan, where dozens of workers have accused factory managers of sexual assault. They’re asking that Sears’

corporate executives meet with them and agree to increase sourcing transparency and stop working with suppliers with significant human rights violations.

“Multi-national corporations are continuously denying workers the most basic of human rights and are consistently blocking the truth in regards to what is happening at their factories around the world. We cannot stand by and continue to allow such atrocious behaviour to continue all in the name of profit for these huge corporations”

-Bill Kidera Youth Labor Committee member

“It is horrible that these women have no means of escape from these working conditions, and are even terrified to publicly discuss what is happening to them out of fear for their lives and the lives of their families. We are demanding that these corporations stand with us and demand the establishment of a safe and prosperous working environment, free from the terrors of rape, enslavement and captivity.”

-Dickie Schaefer Youth Labor Committee member

It’s disgusting that these women have to suffer through shame and fear simply for corporate profit. It’s time to start putting fellow human beings before money.

-Isabella Romano Youth Labor Committee member

The online petition, coupled with the students’ plan to protest and leaflet outside Sears’ headquarters and local Sears and Land’s End stores, is likely to increase pressure on the companies to pull their orders from Classic Factory. In addition to Sears, ongoing campaigns are asking Target, Hanes, Macy’s and Walmart to pull their orders as well.

“The students of the Youth Labor Committee’s organizing around such a complex issue has been remarkable,” said Amanda Kloer, Director of Organizing at Change.org. “They’re using a combination of emerging technology and traditional organizing to spur Sears and Land’s End to action.”

The campaign on Change.org has been covered by major news outlets around the world, including Ms. Magazine, Huffington Post, Jordan Times, and the Daily Mirror. Activists recently launched a companion campaign asking Queen Rania to tweet her support for the workers of Classic.