JC Penney, Gap & Co.: Put an end to the murders of garment workers in Bangladesh
  • Petitioned Gap Inc.

This petition was delivered to:

Gap Inc.
Ethical Sourcing, Walmart
Barbara Gregory
Global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Gap Inc.
Eva Sage-Gavin
VP of Sourcing, Cato
Stephen Headley
Global Sourcing, The Children's Place
Greg Poole
Corporate Sustainability, JC Penney
Adam Whinston

JC Penney, Gap & Co.: Put an end to the murders of garment workers in Bangladesh

    1. Arif Ullah
    2. Petition by

      Arif Ullah

      New York, NY

My name is Arif Ullah. My family moved from Bangladesh to the United States when I was 6 years old. I grew up in New York. I've shopped at JC Penney and Gap, and now I am outraged to learn that these companies and others have refused to adopt meaningful safety measures to protect the lives of the workers in my home country who sew their clothing.

This deliberate negligence has resulted in yet another tragic incident in recent weeks, which you've probably seen in the news: more than 1100 people killed as a building in Bangladesh housing six garment factories crumbled to the ground. Even as this death toll continued to climb, a fire at at another clothing factory in Dhaka on Wednesday claimed at least another 8 lives. All these factories were making clothes destined for dozens of US and European retailers, including JC Penney, Children's Place, and Cato. Even in Bangladesh, where horrific tragedies like these due to unsafe factories are all too common, this level of devastation is unprecedented. 

Factory workers at the collapsed building were denied their right to refuse dangerous working conditions: they were told they would lose a month’s pay if they didn’t report to work the day after deep and alarming cracks appeared in the walls of the building. The disaster at Rana Plaza is now the deadliest incident in the history of the garment industry the world over. That's why garment workers in Bangladesh are taking to the streets every day to call for accountability in huge numbers.

While I am shocked and horrified at the callousness of companies that prioritize profits over human lives, I am in no way helpless. Today, I ask you to join me in calling on JC Penney, Gap and other companies to make immediate safety improvements in their supplier factories and to put an end to the murders of garment workers in Bangladesh once and for all.

These multinational companies have been involved in the scourge of factory disasters in Bangladesh, which could have been prevented had they addressed earlier tragedies and protected workers’ lives as urged by unions and labor rights groups. In December 2010, 29 workers perished in the factory fire at That’s It Sportswear, where workers sewed clothing for JC Penney and Gap Inc. Just last fall, a fire at Tazreen, a Walmart supplier, took the lives of 112 garment workers, and Walmart, nor any of the other US buyers, have offered compensation to the victims.

This pattern of fires and building collapses will not end unless major US retailers make real changes in how they do business in Bangladesh. These companies have been telling us for 20 years to trust them. They have their own private codes of conduct and they monitor themselves or hire outside firms to monitor compliance. The horrific building collapse is the final nail in the coffin of corporate self-regulation. We cannot trust companies to jeopardize workers’ lives with their own corporate-controlled programs.

They must now make a legally binding commitment to keep workers safe: The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which 40 companies have already joined. If JCP had signed earlier, hundreds of workers could have been spared gruesome death. These companies have no choice anymore. They must be held legally accountable for their actions. These murders must not be allowed to continue.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 10,000 signatures
    2. Thank you, Benetton

      Arif Ullah
      Petition Organizer

      Benetton, which was one of the companies originally targeted by this petition has now signed onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord so this petition is no longer addressed to them. Thank you, Benetton! Now, it's time for the US companies to join too! 40 companies are on board, but only two of them - Abercrombie & Fitch and PVH - are based in the US...

    3. Reached 8,000 signatures
    4. More companies join!

      Arif Ullah
      Petition Organizer

      More companies have been signing on throughout the day: http://www.laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/news/ilrf-applauds-hm-inditex-ca-primark-and-tesco-for-signing-legally-bi
      Wonderful news! But where are the US companies?

    5. Reached 6,000 signatures
    6. Major victory for garment workers: H&M and Inditex agree to safety plan!

      Arif Ullah
      Petition Organizer

      Breaking news - just in this morning: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/business/global/hm-agrees-to-bangladesh-safety-plan.html

      Now it's time for the companies that this petition is addressing to sign on too!

    7. Reached 5,000 signatures
    8. Benetton agrees to compensation for Rana Plaza victims

      Arif Ullah
      Petition Organizer

      Benetton has agreed to compensation for Rana Plaza victims: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/04/benetton-bangladesh-factory_n_3216045.html
      We will keep Benetton on this petition until they sign onto the binding factory safety agreement.

      Benetton Changes Story On Connection To Bangladesh Factory

      Italian apparel retailer Benetton initially denied any connection to the factory that collapsed in Bangladesh killing more than 500 people, but since then photos of the brand's clothing in the building's rubble have emerged. "This is such a tragedy that no one in the industry should feel above it," Benetton CEO Biagio Chiarolanza said in a statement to The Huffington Post on Friday.

    9. Reached 1,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Xavier Sarmiento LOS ANGELES, CA
      • 7 months ago

      This race to the bottom will keep causing the deaths of the most vulnerable people.

    • Sedra Butler SIERRA VISTA, AZ
      • 8 months ago

      Seems to me after years of people begging for humankind that JC PENNY and GAP &CO. do not give a rat's ass about anyone but themselves. What goes around comes around.

    • Laura Ramon ALBUQUERQUE, NM
      • 8 months ago

      profits before human safety is unaccecptable, will not shop at your stores, period

    • beatriz viacava-goulet BIRMINGHAM, AL
      • 9 months ago

      stop the abusers and oppressors!! lets drop them as retailers!

    • Valerie Patrick SEATTLE, WA
      • 9 months ago

      Because companies like these outsource to different countries so they don't have to treat their empoyees like they're humans.


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