Sign-on letter by groups to Senators 12-11-2012
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December 11, 2012

Dear Senator,

On November 24, at least 112 factory workers died in a horrific fire at Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh. The fire at Tazreen is only one in a series of factory fires that have killed over a thousand workers in the garment industry in South Asia in the past decade. It is no surprise that this pattern of unsafe working conditions is rampant in Bangladesh, a country where workers’ advocates like Aminul Islam, who dedicated his life to fighting horrific factory conditions like those at Tazreen, was tortured and assassinated last April.1

A December 4 story by ABC uncovered that Tazreen Fashions produced hoodies, tank tops and sweatpants emblazoned with U.S. Marine Corps insignia and logos, but now the contractor Delta Apparel / Soffe asserts that they did not know that their products were made there.2 This also comes as no surprise because, according to a report published last month by Free2Work, sourcing policies for government contractors on key workers’ rights issues, including unannounced monitoring of workplaces, forced labor, and child labor, lag behind companies that service the private sector.3

The pattern of unsafe conditions calls for a pattern-changing solution – which is why we urge you to sign onto the letter to President Obama being circulated this week by Senator Harkin.

All told, these dire conditions for Bangladeshis working to make products sold in the United States and that carry the name of the U.S. Government on them should serve as a wake-up call to the U.S. Government to put into place measures to require transparency of supply chains and to work toward improving working conditions in government supply chains and among licensees.

As the sign-on letter says, “It is too late to undo this terrible tragedy, but we have a moral imperative to do what we can to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.” To sign onto the letter, please contact Tom Buttry in Senator Harkin’s office by COB Wednesday, December 12 at tom_buttry@harkin.senate.gov or 4-9604.

Sincerely,

National organizations
AFL-CIO
AFSCME
Change to Win
Ethix Merch
Fair World Project
Food Chain Workers Alliance
Global Exchange
Green America
Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights
Institute for Policy Studies, Global Economy Project
Interfaith Worker Justice
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
International Labor Rights Forum
Jobs with Justice / American Rights at Work
Organic Consumers Association
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
SweatFree Communities
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)
United Students Against Sweatshops
Worker Rights Consortium

Regional/State/local organizations
American Federation of Government Employees Local 3937
American Friends Service Committee, Western Massachusetts
Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers (AWPPW)
Backbone Campaign, Washington
Cincinnati Interfaith Workers Center
InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Cleveland, OH
Jewish Labor Committee Western Region
Labor-Religion Coalition of the Finger Lakes, New York
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice
Milwaukee Clean Clothes Campaign
New Labor, New Brunswick, NJ
Nicaragua Center for Community Action, Berkeley, CA
SEIU 1199NW
SEIU Local 6
South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign, Olympia, WA
Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice
St Louis Inter-Faith Committee on Latin America
Traditions Fair Trade
UFCW Local 21
Washington Fair Trade Coalition

 

1 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/world/asia/killing-of-bangladesh-labor-leader-spotlights-grievances-of-workers.html
2 http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/bangladesh-factory-fire-patterns-marine-corps-sweats-tank/story?id=17875010
3 http://www.free2work.org/trends/apparel/

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