Walmart & Gap: Join Fire Safety Program, Fix Death Trap Factories
  • Petitioned Barbara Gregory

This petition was delivered to:

Ethical Sourcing, Walmart
Barbara Gregory
Global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs, Gap Inc.
Eva Sage-Gavin

Walmart & Gap: Join Fire Safety Program, Fix Death Trap Factories

    1. Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
    2. Petition by

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF

      Bangladesh

My name is Lovely. On February 23, 2006, my life changed forever. That was the day that KTS Textile Factory in Chittagong, Bangladesh, caught fire. I was 11 years old and my job was to pack socks.

Working there was like working in a death trap. We didn’t have safety equipment. We never had a fire drill. When the fire started, we couldn’t escape because management had locked the exits. 63 of my coworkers died and 150 of us were injured.

During the chaos of the fire, I fell down the stairs. When I finally woke up in the hospital, I learned that my injuries would prevent me from working for the rest of my life. I still go to the hospital because of the pain, something I can barely afford because I never received compensation for the accident. I'm from a poor family, and now I am a burden to them. My family is so poor that they can’t even give me food every day.

Today I find the courage to speak to you because I have had enough. Six years later, working conditions in Bangladesh have hardly changed. Since 2005 more than 700 garment workers have died in sweatshop factory fires. Every day I wonder: Is this the day when there will be another fire and more people will die?

My worst nightmare came true two years ago when 29 workers died at a Gap supplier. After 112 workers were killed in a fire at a Walmart supplier on November 24, 2012, I couldn't be silent any longer.

For us Bangladeshis who sew the clothing that you wear, please sign my petition calling on major buyers from Bangladesh – Walmart and Gap – to commit to a real fire safety program that will save the lives of the companies’ sweatshop workers.

Thank you.

PS. This petition was previously addressed also to H&M, until H&M signed onto the Bangladesh Safety Accord in May 2013. Thank you, H&M, for agreeing to be a leader in fire and buliding safety in Bangladesh!

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100,000 signatures
    2. 31 companies sign on to Bangladesh safety plan!

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      Wow, in just a few days now there are 31 companies that have signed on to the Bangladesh Safety Accord including H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch! We've adjusted this petition so that it no longer targets H&M. Thank you to all these companies for agreeing to be leaders in worker safety in Bangladesh.

    3. Petition delivery today!

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      Wow, over 95,000 signatures! Thank you everyone.

      We are delivering boxes with all your signatures to Gap headquarters in San Francisco today. Join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/568190236541378/

    4. NY Editorial calls on brands to adopt real fire safety!

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      An excellent editorial in the NY Times today: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/opinion/fire-safety-in-garment-factories.html

      "The loss of life is all the more horrifying because most safety violations are obvious — as is the need to correct them. Global brands and retailers like Gap and Walmart could pay for improvements to factories in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. While the governments of these countries must do more to enforce higher safety standards, real change will come only if buyers of clothing put their economic muscle behind the effort." ...

      "What’s needed is an independent and robust inspection system that is legally enforceable and run by safety professionals. A group of international and Bangladeshi labor organizations have been working on such an effort..."

    5. Reached 75,000 signatures
    6. What are companies saying behind the scenes?

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      Meeting minutes from 2011 reveal that Walmart said that paying factories more to fix buildings with fire hazards would cost too much. Gap, Target, jcpenney and many other companies were at the meeting and they haven't budged on prices either. (More in http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-05/wal-mart-nixed-paying-bangladesh-suppliers-to-fight-fire.html)

      Meanwhile, garment workers in Bangladesh earn the measly minimum wage of US$36/month. And even though H&M has nudged the Government of Bangladesh to raise the minimum wage, H&M still pays the same low prices as everyone else.

      Where's the justice?

    7. ABC News exposes more profiting from low wages and deadly conditions

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      "The fact that Marines logo clothing was found in the rubble of the sweatshop fire should serve as a wake-up call to the U.S. Government to put into place safeguards to ensure decent working conditions in government supply chains and among licensees," said Liana Foxvog of the International Labor Rights Forum.

      "An amazing list of entities profited from the low wages and deadly conditions that made this factory so cheap, from the world's largest retailer, to the world's richest rapper, to the world's biggest military – and none of them lifted a finger to protect the workers," said Scott Nova of the Worker Rights Consortium.

      http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/bangladesh-factory-fire-patterns-marine-corps-sweats-tank/story?id=17875010#.UL8Z_2frqSq

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures
    9. Reached 40,000 signatures
    10. Our message to Walmart

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      From International Labor Rights Forum and Worker Rights Consortium:

      According to Walmart, a supplier had subcontracted work to Tazreen Fashions without Walmart’s authorization. Regardless of whether Walmart acknowledges Tazreen as an approved supplier, Walmart is responsible for the safety of the workers making its clothing and should not abandon Tazreen and its employees following this disaster.

      Walmart must now provide full and fair compensation covering loss of future earnings as well as damages to the families of the dead as well as to the injured workers. In addition, to minimize the risk of future factory fires, Walmart should join the comprehensive fire and building safety program with unions and labor rights groups that PVH (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) and German retailer Tchibo have already signed onto.

    11. Reached 17,500 signatures
    12. Yet another factory fire

      Lovely from Bangladesh and ILRF
      Petition Organizer

      This weekend there was yet another horrific factory fire in the Bangladesh garment industry. I am deeply saddened by this tragedy. My heart goes out to the workers who were injured and to the families of the 100+ workers who died.

      Here's International Labor Rights Forum's press release: http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/news/walmart-supplier-factory-burns-fire-death-toll-highest-in-bangladesh

    13. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • CHOONGHEE LEE BLOOMINGTON, IN
      • 9 months ago

      Justice

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • David Brown PALM SPRINGS, CA
      • 9 months ago

      Every one should be safe at work

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Nancy LaPorta WATERVLIET, NY
      • 10 months ago

      Mega corporations can easily afford simple fire safety plans for their underpaid foreign employees.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Katelyn DeJarnette FALL CREEK, OR
      • 11 months ago

      Life is important no matter where you live. Treating people from other contries like they are less important is racist or negligent at best. I am an american and I do not support walmart's value system (or lack there of). This is one out of 100,000 reasons why I wont shop at your store. I know treating others well means prices would go up. I don't care. That's my vote.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Julie Rodgers AUBURN, UNITED STATES
      • 11 months ago

      I think working conditions in many places in Asia & South America are deathtraps for the workers AND the environment and the large companies that pay for the products produced there that are making tons of money off the backs of people that deserve better!! Many blessings to you, dear, and to those who are in similar situations to yours.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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