Force American Companies to Improve Worker Safety Conditions

gap

Target: Glenn Murphy, Gap CEO

Goal: Enforce external regulation forcing American industrial giants to adopt better worker safety standards

After the tragic collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 workers, a few American companies, including Gap, refused to abide by a safety standards agreement that many European companies backed. As a result, Gap is now in a series of negotiations called the BPC-led talks. The purpose of these talks is to reach an agreement on new safety standards for clothing contractors. The proposed initiative unites several American companies including Target and Walmart in order to address issues in the garment industry. This kind of voluntary initiative has failed in the past and will again fail to protect Bangladeshi garment workers. A nonbinding agreement is not good enough – if the BPC talks are to be effective, then the agreement must be binding.

Forty retailers from all over the world agreed to the binding comprehensive safety plan for Bangladesh, but not these American companies engaged in the new BPC-led talks. A Corporate Affairs representative from Gap said that they believe the American alliance can be a powerful step towards achieve lasting change in Bangladesh. However, observers of the BPC talks are now skeptical and don’t believe that company-led negotiations will result in a strong and legally enforceable agreement. Such concerns are heightened by the fact that, currently, no worker-rights organization is included in the talks.

Concerns over corporate-led international labor and safety programs have received attention from U.S. lawmakers, adding to the pressure. Representative Sander Levin warned that oversight processes left to retailers, suppliers and government have not worked in the past. She wrote to the Bangladesh Prime Minister with 12 other Congress members encouraging enforcement of comprehensive reforms. Although Gap and this consortium of other U.S. companies is putting up a fight against labor reform in their factories, the rest of the world must not accept the sub-par standards set forth by the BPC-led talks.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Glenn Murphy,

Concerns over the corporate initiative, the BPC-led talks, have received increased attention from U.S. lawmakers and citizens, as these talks do not appear to be sufficient to protect worker’s safety, which is an issue of heightened concern after the tragic collapse of the Bangladesh clothing factory.  Forty retailers from all over the world agreed to the binding comprehensive safety plan for Bangladesh, but not Gap and several other American companies engaged in the new BPC-led talks. The proposed voluntary initiative being put forward by your and other American companies has failed in the past and will again fail to protect Bangladeshi garment workers. A nonbinding agreement proposed is not good enough. If the BPC talks are to be effective, then the agreement must be binding.

Observers of the BPC talks are now skeptical and don’t believe that company-led negotiations will result in a strong, and legally enforceable, agreement. Such concerns are heightened by the fact that, currently, no worker-rights organization is included in the talks. Although Gap and this consortium of other U.S. companies is putting up a fight against adopting comprehensive labor reform in their factories, the rest of the world will not accept the sub-par standards set forth by the BPC-led talks and this petition asks that you work to negotiate a comprehensive, binding agreement.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: jankie via flickr

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80 Signatures

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