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Walmart: Please sign the Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord.

This petition had 93 supporters

The factory building collapse in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013, is known as the worst tragedy in the history of the global garment industry. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident as there have been past incidences, such as the recent fire in November 2012 at a different factory in Bangladesh, which left 112 dead. 

According to the Apparel and Footwear Corporation, “just about all, or 98%, of clothes sold in the U.S. are made overseas.”  In Bangladesh, clothing accounts for 77% of its exports.  With Bangladesh swiftly becoming one of the world’s largest garment exporters, seriousness into safety issues and well-being of factory workers needs to be addressed even more fervently.   
It is the basic right of all humans, to be able to work in an environment in which one does not have to constantly fear for his/her life.  Many factory workers in Bangladesh have voiced their fears on returning to work because the conditions in other factories are just as dangerous; a survivor from the recent Rana Plaza building collapse stated that things like this are constantly happening.  However, in order to provide basic necessities for their family, such as food and water, most factory workers do not have a choice but to be subject to poor working conditions, sub-minimal wages and lack of respect, in order to meet the high demands of US suppliers’ production of goods at a cheaper rate.  I’m sure most, if not all of you, will not object to paying a quarter or dollar more for a product, if it could mean that the safety of all involved in the production is ensured.     

So far, many of the companies whose brands have been found to be associated with the Rana Plaza building collapse, have joined the support for Bangladesh factory workers by signing onto the legally binding Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord.  A huge influential signature missing from this agreement is Walmart, who has said that they have launched their own safety program.  While the gesture may seem adequate, the act of choosing an independent means of inspection versus signing a legally-binding agreement brings the genuineness of such a company to light.

Walmart is one of our nation’s leading, biggest retail chains and thus has the economic position and power to immensely influence suppliers into adhering to worker safety standards and basic human rights.  By signing the Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord, Walmart can help set this notion in stone and also help set a precedent to other businesses, in showing that all humans deserve a safe and meaningful life.  Advocates and signers of the Bangladesh Safety Accord also believe that change can only occur when companies take action together. 

We can all help to bring about the necessary changes to ensure that a tragedy like this does not happen again.  Please help in showing that those lives that were lost, were not in vain.  By signing this petition, we can help enforce the UN's Guiding Principles for Businesses in their framework: "Protect, Respect, Remedy.”  Together, we can all raise our voice for those whose voices have been suppressed.


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