Garment Factory Collapse in Bangladesh: 382 Dead So Far
We are deeply saddened and angered by the lives lost in the recent collapse of a garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh. A news report in the New York Times on Friday indicated that cracks in the building’s structure were noticed on the morning of the collapse, but still managers ordered workers into the building for work. There is no excuse for this sort of negligence and disregard for the safety of factory workers.
In our previous posts about anti-Wal-Mart activism, we have highlighted the human costs of the Wal-Mart business model. Wal-Mart pays unconscionably low prices to its suppliers who transfer the burden to garment workers. These low prices force suppliers to cut costs and sacrifice worker safety in order to meet Wal-Mart’s demand for cheaply produced goods. We wrote about Wal-Mart as an exemplary case, and the collapse yesterday demonstrates how widespread this business model has become. Many major apparel manufacturers in the US, Canada and Europe contracted with factories in the building before it collapsed. Brand names such as Italy’s Benetton and Canada’s Loblaw have been linked to the Savar factory so far, and companies such as the Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, and Wal-Mart have long been criticized for exploiting factory labor in Bangladesh.
These 250 deaths are a visceral symbol of the problems with corporate production. We cannot forget too that countless lives are shortened and lost daily due to the pressures placed on workers in factories and in fields by corporations, but these less dramatic losses are rarely reported. We stand against all companies that sacrifice lives for profit.