Target: Walmart CEO C. Douglas McMillon
Goal: Full and fair compensation for the victims and survivors of the 2013 garment industry disaster in Bangladesh
It has been one year since the calamity that took the lives of more than 1,000 garment workers in Bangladesh. In addition to the deceased, roughly 2,500 people were injured in the collapse, many of whom were the sole or primary wage earners for their families. While many survivors have received payments for medical bills and have finally recovered the wages that had gone unpaid, many more families and victims have received no compensation at all. One recent study found that almost three in four survivors have not been able to return to work due to ongoing physical ailments. In several well-documented instances, this has resulted in the children of victims being sent to orphanages and entire families consigned to homelessness.
Of the estimated $40 million needed to fully compensate all of the victims, the factory owners and foreign retailers responsible for the disaster have thus far only donated about $15 million—less than half of what has been deemed fair and sufficient. In addition to their minimal donation to the Rana Plaza Donor’s Trust Fund, Walmart has refused to sign the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, an agreement that requires international contractors to inspect the buildings where their garments are produced and enforce all relevant fire and safety standards.
This was just one of several recent industrial catastrophes in Bangladesh’s garment industry, which is one of the largest exporters of clothing to the United States. It is time for retailers like Walmart to own up to their responsibility as global corporate citizens and ensure that the victims of their negligence receive the full compensation that they have earned.
Dear Mr. McMillon,
One year ago, one of Walmart’s major garment factories in Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,000 garment workers and injuring another 2,500. This disaster could have been avoided through proper diligence, and it is the responsibility of global corporations like Walmart to ensure that the factories where workers produce their products are safe and humane places to work.
In the face of such a massive failure to ensure worker safety, it is also Walmart’s responsibility to provide for the families that were devastated by the disaster and to ensure that such a catastrophe does not happen again. The families of the dead and disabled deserve full and fair compensation for their catastrophic losses, and I hope that Walmart will set an example for responsible corporations everywhere.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jared C. Benedict via Wikimedia Commons