International Labor Rights Forum

Walmart & Gap: Join the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh

Letter to Senators Mitchell and Snowe  |  Newspaper ad in Maine


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Join us in calling on Walmart and Gap, large buyers of clothing made in Bangladesh, to make immediate safety improvements in their supplier factories by joining with Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, PVH, and the over 100 other companies in signing onto the legally-binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. Both retailers have been involved in the scourge of factory disasters in Bangladesh.

The building collapse at Rana Plaza last month, which housed six factories that produced clothing for dozens of western brands, is the deadliest incident in the global garment industry with a death toll of over 1,100. It is but one in a series of disasters that could have been preventable, had the largest apparel buyers learned from earlier tragedies and adopted the safety measures urged by unions and labor rights groups. In April 2005, 64 workers died when their warnings were ignored and Spectrum factory collapsed. In December 2010, 29 workers perished in the That’s It Sportswear factory fire, where burned remnants of Old Navy clothing (a Gap Inc. brand) was found. Then, just last fall disaster struck again. The fire at Tazreen, a supplier to Walmart and Sears, took the lives of 112 garment workers. These are only three of the dozens of preventable incidents that have taken garment workers’ lives in Bangladesh. This pattern of fires and building collapses will not end unless retailers make real change in their sourcing practices.

Please take action now and call on Walmart and Gap to sign onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord before the next factory fire or building collapse takes the lives of more garment workers. These preventable deaths must not be allowed to continue.

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Resources:

Huffington Post, article by 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 (the "Bangladesh Accord") 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.

Los Angeles Times, Op-ed by James Brudney and Catherine Fisk, May 17, 2013:
Wal-Mart, Gap skirt the issue
They have refused to sign a Bangladesh workers’ safety accord, showing irrational fears of financial and moral commitments.

Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh 

Our take on the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

Over 100 companies have signed onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. These signatories include brands and retailers from 20 countries, with presence in at least 1,700 factories in Bangladesh.


Petition update May 13, 2013: Originally this petition was also addressed to H&M. As of this morning, we have removed H&M from this petition due to their factory safety plan announcement!

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