On December 14, 2010, 30 Bangladeshi factory workers were burned alive when an easily preventable fire broke out in the unsafe, multi-story sweatshop in which they were working. These men and women worked for “That’s It Sportswear” producing clothing for famous U.S. brands.
Thanks to pressure from Change.org members, seven of the eight brands (including J.C. Penney) doing business with the factory owners – the Hameem Group – signed a commitment to ensure fair compensation for the injured workers and surviving family members of the workers who died and to take meaningful steps to stop the epidemic of workplace deaths at US brands’ apparel factories in Bangladesh. Now J.C. Penney has shamefully broken this pledge. Today, six of the eight brands continue negotiating in good faith to establish an adequate worker compensation fund and sustainable fire safety initiatives. J.C. Penney, however, has dropped out.
We need your help to send a message to J.C. Penney to honor the commitments they made in January.
In Bangladesh, nearly 500 workers have died in factory fires during the past five years. Establishing effective initiatives to prevent fires like this from occurring again is critical. Nothing less than workers’ lives are at stake. Don’t let J.C. Penney walk away from workers in Bangladesh.
J.C. Penney has shamefully broken the public commitment it made in January to compensate the victims’ families and to finally take real steps to stop these fires. As you know, other companies continue to negotiate in good faith with labor rights advocates to establish a fair compensation for workers and a meaningful fire safety program.
How can you walk away from the commitment you made to your customers and the broader public? How can you walk away from the workers who produce your garments and the families of the workers who died in the fire?
U.S. consumers want a substantive and meaningful response to incidents like this. More than 65,000 people from 71 countries called on you to act earlier in 2011 so that tragedies like this one never happen again.
I support the large consortium of Bangladeshi and international groups calling on J.C. Penney to provide just compensation to the victims and their families and launch thorough, independent, well funded and publicly transparent safety inspections of all multi-story supplier factories in Bangladesh in the supply chain of each brand and retailer. I call on J.C. Penney to be a leader on fire safety in Bangladesh.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your immediate response to this critical issue.