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Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:22 PM

Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh

Source: The Nation

Josh Eidelson

NGOs are slamming Walmart following a Saturday fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory supplying apparel to the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.

In a statement e-mailed Sunday night, Walmart expressed sympathy for the victims’ families, and said that it was “trying to determine if the factory has a current relationship with Walmart or one of our suppliers…” The company called fire safety “a critically important area of Walmart’s factory audit program,” and said that it has been “working across the apparel industry to improve fire safety education and training in Bangladesh.” Walmart added that it has “partnered with several independent organizations to develop and roll out fire safety training tools for factory management and workers.”

But in a Monday interview, Workers Rights Consortium Executive Director Scott Nova said Walmart’s “culpability is enormous. First of all they are the largest buyer from Bangladesh” and so “they make the market.” Nova said Bangladesh has become the world’s second-largest apparel supplier "because they’ve given Walmart and its competitors what they want, which is the cheapest possible labor costs.”

“So Walmart is supporting, is incentivizing, an industry strategy in Bangladesh: extreme low wages, non-existent regulation, brutal suppression of any attempt by workers to act collectively to improve wages and conditions,” Nova told The Nation. “This factory is a product of that strategy that Walmart invites, supports, and perpetuates.” The WRC is a labor monitoring group whose board is composed of students, labor organizations, and university administrators.

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171451/photos-show-walmart-apparel-site-deadly-factory-fire-bangladesh#






Photo Credit: International Labor Rights Forum

While Walmart is denying claims of human rights abuses overseas, US employees are striking against poverty wages and intimidation tactics here at home. Check out Josh Eidelson’s coverage of the historic Walmart worker strikes here.



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Reply Photos Show Walmart Apparel at Site of Deadly Factory Fire in Bangladesh (Original post)
Omaha Steve Nov 2012 OP
tblue Nov 2012 #1
slackmaster Nov 2012 #2
IthinkThereforeIAM Nov 2012 #12
patrice Nov 2012 #3
Ineeda Nov 2012 #4
trailmonkee Nov 2012 #5
patrice Nov 2012 #6
Warpy Nov 2012 #7
slackmaster Nov 2012 #9
patrice Nov 2012 #8
proverbialwisdom Nov 2012 #15
Dont call me Shirley Nov 2012 #10
CarmanK Nov 2012 #11
SCVDem Nov 2012 #13
handmade34 Nov 2012 #14
Smilo Nov 2012 #16
Judi Lynn Nov 2012 #17
Quantess Nov 2012 #18
davidpdx Nov 2012 #19
olegramps Nov 2012 #20

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:24 PM

1. Still another reason never to set foot in a Walmart.

Oh those poor people.

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Response to tblue (Reply #1)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:26 PM

2. Or to never again buy Levi Strauss products? Or shop at J.C. Penney or The Gap?

 

The same factory made clothing for them as well as several other major retailers.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/11/25/workers-die-in-bangladesh-factory-while-making-clothes-for-walmart-and-others/

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:16 PM

12. I quit buying Levi's a few years ago...


... the fabric is flimsy, not like the real 501's or 505's that would last you for years, if not a decade (I have a few pair that are at least that old) and still hold together and look good. Also, noticed no "Made in USA" anywhere on the articles. The best deal is to spend a half hour checking out the thrift shops, scads of good, solid denim jeans, just have to look to find them in your size.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:28 PM

3. Wondering here who it was at Wal Mart who prevented critique of this vendor & did not

require them to improve conditions or lose their business.

There has been mention on FB that WM actually looked at them and assessed whether to red-line them and then didn't do it.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:28 PM

4. My very first thought upon hearing of this tragedy

was, "Walmart. Evil bastards."

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:31 PM

5. k&r

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:31 PM

6. Intensified echoes of Tom Delay and the Marianna Islands. nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:32 PM

7. Not just Wal Mart. They were jobbers for a lot of big retail

companies worldwide, including Kohl's and Penney's.

If you want to avoid supporting sweatshop labor, you can't even make your own clothing these days, the US no longer makes fabric and retail fabric stores are full of really sleazy stuff made for quilters and other hobbyists.

Maybe this will finally shock Bangladesh into making a few workplace rules about unblocked, unlocked fire exits.

Probably not.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:44 PM

9. People who appreciate Levi Strauss' policy on same-sex marriage and other social issues will...

 

...have to deal with some cognitive dissonance. Blaming it all on Wal Mart is the intellectually lazy thing to do.

The first place I'd look would be at the Bangladeshi authorities who are responsible for fire code enforcement.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:40 PM

8. CBS just now: Faded Glory . . . boy, isn't that the truth @ .21 an hour. Shame!!!

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Response to patrice (Reply #8)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:37 PM

15. Workers are paid 21 cents per hour? And the profit margin is...?

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 06:51 PM

10. Just think of the symbology of "Faded Glory"; Old Glory faded away

exactly the fascists'/corporatists' goal

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:00 PM

11. This happened in USA, NYC around cntry, before OSHA and UNIONS gained power in US mkt place

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 07:17 PM

13. That would be the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

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Response to SCVDem (Reply #13)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 08:07 PM

14. this was my 1st thought

...not so different from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire... then my thoughts went to Mitt Romney talking about the fences built around factories in China... then...

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 09:27 PM

16. I am not defending Wal-Mart, but there are many

other companies that used this "factory".

The buyers must know what the conditions are like - and so must the Bangladeshi government.

This sweatshop exported clothes to the U.S. and Europe and manufactured for a Hong Kong-based trading company called Li & Fung, which buys clothes for big retailers like Target and Walmart.
http://news.yahoo.com/bangladeshs-deadly-factory-fire-american-retailers-blame-121500345.html

From the Guardian:
Bangladesh has some 4,500 clothes factories, employing more than 2 million people (mostly women), and accounting for a whopping 80% of the country's annual exports. Clothing from its factories makes its way across the world, supplying big name brands in the west – from WalMart – the world's largest retailer (Asda is a subsidiary) – to high-street names like Tesco, Marks & Spencer and H&M.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/nov/26/shoppers-bangladesh-ashulia-factory-fire?INTCMP=SRCH

And from 2011..........

From the "Economic Crisis, The Audit — April 5, 2011 02:11 PM"
The Consumerist has a fascinating post asking whether we’ve really eliminated our Triangle Shirtwaist Factory disasters or if we’ve just outsourced them.

It turns out that a sweatshop in Bangladesh that made clothes for The Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, JC Penney, Target, and others, suffered an eerily Triangle-like disaster just a few months ago:

When we noted the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, you might have looked at that and thought, phew, good thing stuff like that isn’t happening anymore. But in developing countries around the world with little to no worker rights and sweatshops paying pennies a day, it is. Like in Bangladesh in December 2010 when 29 workers died after a fire swept through the Hameem garment factory. The workers were trapped inside because guards had been ordered to lock the gates in the event of a fire in order to prevent clothes from being stolen during the confusion. The factory made clothes for GAP.
Consumerist links a video interview of Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights, who notes the parallels to Triangle, including the locked exits, low wages, and workers leaping to their deaths:

This is going on still in the global economy today. Not one change…

The workers work twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. They get one day off a month. And they live in abject misery, in miserable hovels that are unimaginable. Bangladesh is now the third-largest exporter in the world of garments to the United States.
http://www.cjr.org/the_audit/a_triangle_shirtwaist-like_dis.php

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:50 PM

17. The world can't afford Walmarts' criminality.

People should NEVER have to suffer to make a desperately poor living so others can afford more junk.

This is an indication our culture has become deeply perverted.

Thanks, Omaha Steve.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 12:18 AM

18. Really,

just a few short steps away from slave labor.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 09:10 AM

19. This is just sickening

I just finished writing a paper on the Bhopal disaster. My mentor (professor) is from India and teaches in California. My paper compared the Bhopal disaster in 1984 with the BP disaster in 2010 and the differences in which they were handled by the company.

The fire in Bangladesh is going to be the next big case study on how a company screws their employees. I don't have much hope that anything will be done to help these people, certainly not from their corporate overloards

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:46 AM

20. There is only one way to stop this exploitation of worker, both domestic and foreign.

The growth of the industrial base of this nation during the period up to the Civil can be attributed to tariffs. It was the sole source of income for the federal government and remained the major source until the 1940's. The founding fathers grasp the simple concept that it was the only way that the nation could obtain economic independence. That is to be self sustaining and a exporter of finished good rather than an exporter of raw resources and and importer of finished goods.

This is what has transpired during the last fifty years as corporations have gained control of Congress and have been rewarded with policies that have decimated our industrial base. One of the key components in this war against the working class has been the destruction of unions which left the working class with little or no support in Congress to protect their interest. The sad fact of the matter is that the workers have brought this on their own-selves. Throughout the South, for example, the working class bought into the so-called Right-to-Work laws that eventually destroyed the textile industry resulting the massive loss of jobs. Perhaps the workers will wakeup before the nation becomes little more than a massive service industry of low paying jobs with no future and as desperate as the foreign workers that are being exploited.

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