The recent event in Bangladesh is an unfortunate reminder of the importance of government regulations for working conditions in factories. The collapse of the factory is the latest in a long line of disasters at Bangladeshi factories. Last year, more than 100 people died in a fire at Tazreen Fashions in the Bangladeshi town of Ashulia. M.T. Anderson, earlier this week in an excellent article in the NYTimes, reminded us of the similar tragedies in American garment factories until regulations were enforced. The collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh was not given the attention it deserved in the media due the coverage of the domestic Boston Marathon bombings and West, Texas factory explosion. But, it is important to reflect on the calamity that took place in the town of Savar in central Bangladesh where the death toll has now exceeded 500 according to Reuters. Much of the clothing we buy comes from places like Savar, and the conditions for the workers who make that clothing are dangerous and inhumane. We must educate ourselves and show as consumers that we are conscious of the treatment of those who make the products we buy.
Action Needed. The Gap and other American stores that buy from Bangladeshi garment factories should be pressured to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement to make immediate safety improvements in supplier factories. Writing to the CEOs of these companies is a very effective means for pressuring them into changing their policies on what working conditions they expect from the factories that they buy from. Loblaw (Joe Fresh clothing) and Primark have said they will compensate the victims’ families, (Boston Globe, May 1, 2013) but they, Benetton, Children’s Place, and Mango need to improve worker conditions. Gap products were involved in the earlier fire.
Here are corporate addresses listed for these companies. Primark Stores Limited Primark House 41 West Street Reading Berkshire RG1 1TZ ; Childrens Place Corporate Office Headquarters; 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ 07094 USA; Loblaw Companies Limited, 1 President’s Choice Circle; Brampton, Ontario, Canada L6Y 5S5 ; Mango Mercaders 9-11 Poligono Industrial Riera de Caldes Apdo de correos; 280 Palau Solità i Plegamans; Barcelona 08184 Spain; Gap; 2 Folsom Street; San Francisco, CA 94105; Villa Minelli (Benetton); Via Villa Minelli, 131050 Ponzano Veneto; Treviso, Italy
Sincerely, Sheila Decter, Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action
“It’s the difference between being able to put food on the table or not,” Sheila Decter of the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action said.
The above quote was taken from the March 21, 2013 article posted on the website of the Patriot Ledger by Janine Mullaney reporting on the demonstration for Earned Sick Time in Quincy.
“The rally called on the Legislature to pass a bill introduced by Sen. Daniel Wolf, D-Harwich, back in January. The measure would ensure that the nearly one million Massachusetts workers who do not currently have access to paid sick time are able to earn time off to be used if they or a family member becomes ill.”
Congratulations to Portland and to the Philadelphia City Council for the victory on Sick Time!
As you may have heard Portland had a resounding victory for their Sick Time bill which passed unanimously. Their bill is similar to ours covering earned paid sick time for businesses with 6 or more employees.
Philadelphia City Council also had a hard fought win passing their earned sick time bill 11-6. With 11 Council members in support, the campaign is only one vote away from being able to override the veto of Mayor Nutter. They are quickly mobilizing to find a 12th supporter. The best chances for support rest with Councilmen Squilla, O’Brien and Kenny.
Here are a few things that you could do to help. If you can do any of these things, please email Marianne who is leading their sick time campaign. email@example.com
1. Contact Congressman Brady to reach out to Councilmen Squilla and Kenney.
2. Help set up calls from national autism and disability rights organizations to Councilman O’Brien.
Calls from supportive Republicans to Councilman O’Brien would also be useful.