In the News

March 28, 2014 | The New York Times
3 Retailers Give Aid to Bangladesh Workers

March 22, 2014 | New Age Bangladesh
Tazreen Fire Victim Sumaya Dies

March 19, 2014 | Huffington Post
Rana Plaza Survivor Left With Debilitating Trauma, Mere $519 in Compensation So Far

March 16, 2014 | The Daily Star
IndustriALL Asks Retailers to Pay Compensation by April 24

March 14, 2014 | Toronto Star
Rana Plaza Compensation Fund Short Millions

March 3, 2014 | Toronto Star
Sweatshop Activist Demands Wal-Mart, The Children’s Place, Others Compensate Rana Plaza Victims

February 23, 2014 | The New York Times
First Companies Give to Fund for Victims of Bangladeshi Factory Collapse

December 25, 2013 | El Pais
US Companies Turn Their Backs on Bangladesh’s Victims

December 24, 2013 | Press Release
Labor Rights Groups Call on Walmart & Children’s place to Participate in $40 Million Compensation Plan for Rana Plaza Victims

December 13, 2013 | Listen Girlfriends!
Bangladesh Factory Fires: Why Brands Are Accountable and Should Compensate Victims Now

November 22, 2013 | The New York Times
U.S. Retailers Decline to Aid Factory Victims in Bangladesh

October 23, 2013 | U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education & The Workforce
Miller and Levin: 6 Months after Rana Plaza Tragedy, Companies Need to Step Up & Compensate Victims

October 13, 2013 | Report by International Labor Rights Forum and Clean Clothes Campaign
Still Waiting: Six Months After History’s Deadliest Apparel Industry Disaster, Workers Continue to Fight for Compensation

October 9, 2013 | Ecouterre
Walmart Owes Compensation to Three Major Bangladesh Factory Catastrophes

Huffington Post, Kevin Thomas – July 12, 2013
The Real Issue is Accountability
“There’s no truth to the idea being propagated by US retailers like Gap and Walmart that signing the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh might open them up to frivolous lawsuits… The reason Gap and Walmart have been unwilling to join the Accord has nothing to do with the “different” US legal environment. It has everything to do with avoiding accountability.”

Press Release, ILRF and WRC – July 10, 2013
Labor Rights Watchdogs Call Walmart/Gap Plan a Sham

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse and Stephanie Clifford – July 10, 2013
U.S. Retailers Offer Plan for Safety at Factories
“That differs from the way retailers in the European-dominated plan take responsibility for safety violations. The Europeans pledge to ensure that there is money to fix serious fire and building safety problems in any of the factories they use in Bangladesh. Under the American plan, the onus is on factory owners to improve their workplaces. Unlike the European group, the North American retailers are not promising to finance needed improvements, outside of the loans. Essentially, if a factory is not up to par and does not fix the problems itself, the American retailers say they will no longer do business there.”

The Nation, Lee Fang – July 10, 2013
US Retailers Launch Lobby Blitz to Sell Weak Bangladesh Safety Plan

The Nation, Lee Fang – July 09, 2013
Think Tank Releasing Rival Bangladesh Safety Accord Receives Funds From Walmart and Its Lobbyists
“Walmart’s financial links to the groups associated with the upcoming labor plan are a reminder of the corporation’s extensive political reach, which extends well beyond campaign contributions and other traditional forms of influence.”

The Nation, Josh Eidelson - June 7, 2013
Striking Worker and Bangladesh Activist Address Thousands at Walmart Shareholder Meeting

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – May 30, 2013
U.S. Retailers Announce New Factory Safety Plan
“Feeling pressure from consumer and labor groups for not doing more to ensure factory safety in Bangladesh, Wal-Mart, Gap and numerous other retailers along with the nation’s main retail federations are seeking to forge a new plan to promote safety in that country’s apparel industry.”

The Huffington Post, Michelle Chen – May 29, 2013
Anger Rising in Bangladesh, Putting Big Brands Under Pressure
“Gap and Walmart may be worried that by joining the accord they would set a precedent that would empower workers not only in Bangladesh but also in other countries as well to demand dignity and respect for their basic rights. The accord is a shift from voluntary self-regulation to a binding labor-management agreement.”

The Huffington Post, Michelle Chen – May 28, 2013
From Dhaka to Broadway, Protests Target Bangladesh Factory Death Traps
“Bangladeshi workers, who took to the streets after the Rana collapse and have braved anti-labor crackdowns, will play a key role in resisting the neoliberal manufacturing model–if they can continue to fight political suppression of activists and push for better wages and working conditions. They need all the help they can get from consumers and workers at the other end of the manufacturing chain. To connect struggles at both the storefront and the shop floor, the boundless flow of global capital must be matched by a groundswell of transnational solidarity.”

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – May 22, 2013
U.S. Retailers See Big Risk in Safety Plan for Factories in Bangladesh
“It may be that those retailers who worry about legal liability are pointing to an outdated sense of what liability is for actions taken abroad.”

Los Angeles Times, James Brudney and Catherine Fisk – May 17, 2013
Wal-Mart, Gap skirt the issue
“Apparel firms such as Gap and Wal-Mart willingly sign legally enforceable agreements all the time — many of which provide for binding arbitration — in the course of their business dealings around the world, including with the factories that make their garments. What is different here is the purpose of the agreement: The accord would help protect workers’ rights and workers’ lives rather than simply facilitate the buying and selling of apparel for corporate profit. It would be unfortunate if that difference is what is keeping Gap, Wal-Mart and others from signing this crucial initiative.”

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – May 16, 2013
Groups Press Big Retailers on Safety Overseas
In a letter released on Thursday, the 123 signers, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Unitarian Universalist Association and the A.F.L.-C.I.O., urged retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Gap to sign on to the factory safety plan that more than 30 European retailers embraced this week.

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – May 13, 2013
Major Retailers Join Bangladesh Safety Plan

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – May 10, 2013
Retailers Are Pressed on Safety at Factories

ABC News, Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross – May 9, 2013
Union Protests to Target Gap over Bangladesh Worker Safety

New York Times Editorial – May 4, 2013
Worker Safety in Bangladesh and Beyond
“Big garment buyers like Walmart, H&M and Gap have tremendous power to improve conditions in that market. Industry officials and labor groups have been discussing a legally binding agreement requiring Western brands and retailers to conduct independent factory inspections and to help pay for factory renovations, like adding external fire exits and smoke alarms. Some labor groups estimate it would cost $3 billion over five years to bring Bangladesh’s roughly 4,500 factories into compliance with building and fire standards. That is a small price to pay given the country’s $18 billion in annual clothing exports, or $90 billion over five years. Two companies — PVH, the parent of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and the German retailer Tchibo — have signed on to such an agreement. Other companies must get on board, and the industry should, eventually, extend it to other developing countries.”

Boston Globe Editorial – May 5, 2013
Global brands must step in to protect worker safety
“Labor-rights groups are calling on all global brands — including Walmart, Gap, and H&M — to sign a building and safety agreement for Bangladesh, a binding commitment to require more rigorous inspections and more transparency about the results. Bangladesh’s government also needs to take more responsibility for protecting workers. It’s not a panacea against abuse, but it is a useful step in preventing another Rana Plaza.”

Bloomberg View – May 2, 2013
How to Fix Bangladesh’s Factories
“Retailers can ensure factory improvements are made by signing on to the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, a program promoted by workers’ rights advocates. The agreement would establish a chief inspector—independent of companies, trade unions, and factories—to execute a safety program. Audits of hazards would be made public. Corrective actions recommended by the inspector would be mandatory. Retailers would agree to pay factories enough so that they could afford renovations, and retailers would be forbidden from doing business with noncompliant facilities. These obligations would be enforceable through the courts in retailers’ home countries. Signing now offers protection for Bangladesh’s workers against factory catastrophes.”

New York Times Editorial – April 25, 2013
Another preventable tragedy in Bangladesh
“The severity and frequency of these disasters are an indictment of global clothing brands and retailers like Walmart, H&M and the Gap, which buy billions of dollars of clothes from Bangladesh but have so far refused to demand and pay for adequate safeguards at the factories that fill their orders… Companies like Walmart and the Gap have offered some half-measures on safety for garment workers, but they can do much more. In addition to demanding and paying for safer factories, they need to put pressure on the owners and Ms. Hasina to allow unions and improve inspections. They are Bangladesh’s customers, and what they say carries real weight. It’s time they spoke up.”

Bloomberg News, Renee Dudley – January 22, 2013
Wal-Mart Factory Rules Won’t Make Them Safer, Activists Say
“If Wal-Mart is not going to absorb the costs of substantial factory repairs, improvements are not going to happen.”

The New York Times – December 10, 2012
Fire Safety in Garment Factories
“Walmart says it stopped ordering clothes from the factory after its auditors found safety violations. Nevertheless, orders from Walmart channeled through subcontractors found their way to the factory. If companies insist on using such daisy-chain outsourcing, they must make sure every link in the chain is governed by the same rules, and they cannot be willfully ignorant of how their contractors operate.”

The Wall Street Journal, Syed Zain Al-Mahmood, Tripti Lahiri, Dana Mattioli – December 10, 2012
Bangladesh Fire: What Wal-Mart’s Supplier Network Missed

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – December 10, 2012
Documents Reveal New Details About Walmart’s Connection to Tazreen Factory Fire
“If Walmart’s claim that they were the victim of one rogue supplier had any shred of credibility, it’s gone now…Walmart is limited to one of two options — to say, yes, we know these suppliers were using the factory or, two, we have no control over the supply chain that we’ve been building in Bangladesh for more than 20 years.”

New York Times, Steven Greenhouse – December 5, 2012
Documents Indicate Walmart Blocked Safety Push in Bangladesh
“[T]wo officials who attended a meeting held in Bangladesh in 2011 to discuss factory safety in the garment industry said on Wednesday that the Walmart official there played the lead role in blocking an effort to have global retailers pay more for apparel to help Bangladesh factories improve their electrical and fire safety.”

In These Times, Michelle Chen – November 28, 2012
Bangladesh Factory Fire: Workers Burn, Walmart Ducks Responsibility
“In response to Walmart’s claim that Tazreen was dropped before the fire, Nova of the Worker Rights Consortium says, ‘Unless Walmart is willing to supply proof of that, I don’t see why anyone should believe it. And even if they can prove it, it doesn’t change the fact that they allowed their stuff to be made there, whether by omission or commission, and are responsible for protecting those workers.’”

The Nation, Josh Eidelson – November 26, 2012
Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh
“Whatever Walmart now claims,” added Nova, “what we know for sure is that Walmart goods were being produced at this factory and that Walmart is responsible for protecting the rights and safety of workers who make Walmart clothes.”