112 textile workers who were making clothes for Walmart died in a horrific factory fire in Bangladesh.
Documents show that Walmart had blocked fire safety reforms that would have saved their lives.
Now some of the survivors want to fly to the US to confront the Walmart executives who are responsible and make sure this never happens again. Lets make that possible!
Can you chip in $3, or whatever you can afford, to help pay for their travel to Walmart's HQ?
On November 24th, a fire ripped through the Tazreen clothing factory in Bangladesh, a supplier for Walmart and other western brands. Horrified workers trapped in the building discovered that the fire extinguishers didn’t work, and the factory doors were locked from the outside. As fire alarms sounded, managers ordered workers to return to their sewing machines, insisting that it was only a drill. By the time it was clear what was happening, many workers faced an impossible choice: leap from 8th floor windows or stay in the burning building and pray. Ultimately, 112 workers were burned alive.
Local investigators have brought charges of “unpardonable negligence” against the factory owners. But there was another reason those workers were killed: Walmart, and its race-to-the-bottom policies.
According to notes from an April 2011 meeting in Bangladesh, Walmart’s management was well aware of the dangerous conditions in its Bangladeshi suppliers. But the corporation refused to cooperate with efforts to make garment factories safer because, in the words of Walmart’s director of “ethical sourcing,” investments in building safety were “not financially feasible.”
Walmart’s executives in Bentonville, Arkansas undoubtedly heard about the fire. They may even have shaken their head in dismay -- “what a tragedy,” they may have said. But then they got right back to work, fighting efforts by suppliers to be paid just a bit more, so the suppliers could make sure workers didn’t die making the clothes Walmart sells. They continue to see workers in their supply chain as raw numbers, and for Walmart, 112 lives aren’t worth paying the pennies per garment it would cost to save them.
The sad truth is that until this issue is at their doorstep, Walmart executives will be able to continue to deflect blame. Sowe have a plan to get their attentiononce and for all: We want tobring some of the survivors of the Tazreen factory fire, as well as a Bangladeshi activist leading the charge for better working conditions, right to those executives’ doors. We want executives to hear what it was like to be in a building going up in flames and to find the emergency exits were locked. And above all, we want to remind Walmart’s bosses that they blocked reforms that could have prevented this tragedy -- and that they still have time to prevent the next one.
Click here to donate $3, or whatever you can afford, to help us bring survivors of the Tazreen factory fire to Walmart executives’ front doors.
Over 113,000 SumOfUs.org members have already called on Walmart to join the independently monitored Bangladeshi Fire and Building Safety Agreement in order to avoid future tragedies like the Tazreen fire. I delivered those signatures, along with 100,000 more from our partners at Credo Action, to a representative from Walmart’s corporate affairs at a rally in Washington, DC last month. But we’re going to have to be creative if we want to keep this issue in the media and on the minds of decision makers at Walmart.
Imagine survivors of the Tazreen factory fire and family members of victims holding a canldelight vigil on CEO Rob Walton’s lawn, or traveling to New York during Fashion Week to talk to the press about the dark side of the garment industry, or meeting with the Walmart associates and warehouse workers who have been struggling to change Walmart from the other end of the supply chain.
If we can bring over survivors of the deadly fire to confront Walmart directly, Walmart would continue to feel the heat from us -- and it would refocus the media on this life-and-death issue. Our partners at the International Labor Rights Forum work with laborers and labor activists in Bangladesh, and are excited to help arrange this delegation. They told us they can handle all the logistics for survivors who want to come to the U.S. and make their voices heard to Walmart directly. All they need is $20,000, which is where we come in.
Can you contribute $3 to help make this Bangladeshi labor delegation to Walmart happen?
Generous donations from the SumOfUs.org community have fueled amazing, courageous activism over the last year, from Julia Trigg Crawford’s lawsuit to stop the Keystone XL pipeline to the strikes at Walmart on Black Friday. Now we need to come together to make sure the world doesn’t forget the Tazreen fire and Walmart’s complicity.
Thanks for all you do.
Rob, Kaytee, and the team at SumOfUs.org
SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy. You can follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook. Was this email forwarded to you? Click here to add yourself to SumOfUs.
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