Five demonstrators were killed across Bangladesh and more than 100,000 opposition activists rallied in the capital Dhaka on Friday to demand that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quit and order polls under a caretaker government. Police said the protesters…
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- 99 Pickets
- American Eagle
- Arab Spring
- Bhopal disaster
- Border Guard Bangladesh
- Dr. King
- General Assembly
- Islamist allies
- Jamaat-e-Islami party
- Khaleda Zia
- Kimani Gray vigil
- Labor Outreach Committee
- Labor movement
- Liberty Plaza
- Minimum Wage
- North Face
- Occupy Data
- Occupy Wall Street
- Old Navy
- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
- Rana Plaza
- Ranza Plaza
- Rapid Action Battalion
- Restore the Fourth NYC
- Rosa Parks
- Shut Down
- Trade union
- US retailers
- Union Square
- Zuccotti Park
- banana republic
- border guards
- boycott the polls
- building collapse
- building permits
- building regulations
- building safety
- construction regulatons
- customs record
- fire and building safety
- fire safety
- funeral march
- garment factories
- garment factory
- garment factory workers
- garment workers
- import-export business
- industrial accident
- international labor standards
- low-wage countries
- mass protests
- opposition activists
- rescue operations
- retail sales
- safety agreement
- safety audits
- safety upgrades
- small bombs
- spying programs
- supply chain
- wage increase
- worker safety
On Saturday, June 29th, 99 Pickets will be conducting a funeral march to shame U.S. retailers.
Come call out the retailers that haven't signed the “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh”, which would require companies to participate in and fund a program of independent safety inspections, remediation, and worker safety trainings with the involvement of trade unions.
Join us at Petrosino Square (Spring St. and Lafayette) at 1pm, and dress for mourning. We’ll let SoHo shoppers know about these corporations’ murderous inaction!
More details available at occupywallstreet.net, including on how to join the correlated #seizethesolstice Twitter Storm.
It's time to tell Gap, Banana Republic, North Face, Timberland, American Eagle, Target, Sears, Old Navy, and Walmart: "Stop the bloodshed. Sign the Accord."
-- from the ‘Your Inbox: Occupied’ team
OCCUPY IN THE NEWS
occupywallst.org parses out the international situation in Turkey, Brazil, and Greece and invites us to join in solidarity with those countries in Liberty Plaza on Saturday. Come to join in “creating a common space of resistance!”
At The Guardian, an author explains why the spirit of protest, and of Occupy, that first burned so hot in 2011 is very much alive around the globe and will continue to flair up for decades to come. The “central tension [of these protests] is surely between a revolution in communication that is transforming people’s expectation of influence and voice, and closed networks of power that tie together corporations and government.”
Interoccupy has coverage of the ongoing #NATO3 court case in Chicago. It seems the investigators, “mysteriously (and conveniently for them),” kept neither their cell phones nor their text messages from the investigation. The defense has filed new motions to dismiss what are ridiculous charges. On June 25th, the court will reconvene and supporters ask that you be there to pack the courtroom!
At The Hill, musings on the America the next presidential candidates must address: “There is something powerful and profound happening in America and around the world. There are commonalities between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, and between those demonstrating in Brazil and those still pursuing the Arab Spring. They are the commonalities of opposition to insider elites and insider establishments of all kinds, in all places.”
Commercial Appeal covers a new tactic reinvigorating labor organizations: taking after OWS! By organizing protests around the country on issues of income inequality, such as the minimum wage, the Change to Win Federation, made up of unions including Service Employees International, has developed a plan to protest first, gain some practical results, and sign up new members after.
At boston.com and bigstory, the AP reports that the IRS enjoyed targeting all kinds of people, and that terms such as “Israel,” “Progressive,” and “Occupy,” not just conservative key words, also pricked up their ears. Nice to know their use of “inappropriate criteria” targeted the full spectrum of citizens. As House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp put it: “This culture of political discrimination and intimidation goes far beyond basic management failure...”
It was an honor to turn up in June 19th’s New York Times crossword puzzle. The clue to 46 down was: Modern protest name. The answer: six letters you know well. A title, a verb, an exhortation!
Rescuers work after a building housing several garment factories collapsed in near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 24, 2013. After the deadly building collapse, Walmart released a list of factories it had banned. But it has continued receiving shipments from two of those factories.
By Michael Grabell, ProPublica
Since the Rana Plaza building collapse killed more than 1,100 people in April, retailers have faced mounting pressure to improve safety at Bangladesh garment factories and to sever ties with manufacturers that don't measure up.
The world's largest retailer, Walmart, last month released a list of more than 200 factories it said it had barred from producing its merchandise because of serious or repeated safety problems, labor violations or unauthorized subcontracting.
But at least two of the factories on the list have continued to send massive shipments of sports bras and girls' dresses to Walmart stores in recent months, according to interviews and U.S. customs records.
In June 2011, Walmart said, it banned the Bangladeshi garment factory Mars Apparels from producing goods for the retail giant. But over the last year, Mars has repeatedly shipped tons of sports bras to Walmart, according to U.S. customs records and Mars owners. The most recent shipment was in late May, almost two years after Walmart claims it stopped doing business with the Bangladeshi firm.
A second Bangladeshi clothing maker, Simco Dresses, was blacklisted in January but continued shipping to Walmart Canada into March.
Search ends in Bangladesh garment factory collapse with death toll at 1,127.
The agreement on worker safety and building regulations in Bangladesh intended to prevent disasters like the factory fire in November and the factory collapse earlier this month will be missing one major retailer: Walmart. Even though major names like H&M, Zara, Primark, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and more signed the agreement, Walmart opted out, saying that the deal was “unnecessary to achieve fire and safety goals.” Instead, the retail giant created its own agreement, which it claims goes above and beyond the regulations outlined in the current deal. The difference: Walmart’s manifesto is not legally binding.
Instead, Walmart has agreed its own deal to inspect all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh within six months, and has promised to publish the findings immediately.
Bosses claim this goes beyond the UNI Global Union and IndustriALL deal, pointing out the agreement requires 65% of inspections instead of 100% inspections taking place and argue its own deal means results are published straight away rather than within 45 days.
Several weeks into clean-up efforts at the site of the collapsed factory in Bangladesh, many were still searching for missing family members on Monday.
Hundreds of Bangladeshi textile factories near the capital, Dhaka, have shut because of unrest sparked by the collapse of a factory building last month, the country's textile association says.
Owners made the decision on safety grounds after many workers went on a rampage, the group's president said.
Although the organization had originally said all factories in Ashulia would be shut down indefinitely, leaders later said the closure applied only to factories where there was worker unrest.
But as the day came to an end, sweeping changes are finally on the horizon for millions of the underpaid garment factory workers of Bangladesh who have long toiled in far too often unsafe and deadly conditions.
The government says it will lift trade union restrictions amid pressure to improve workers' conditions, and Bangladesh has set up a panel to raise the minimum wage for more than three million garment workers, the minister for textiles has said.
The new initiatives are partly in response to outrage over conditions in the country’s garment sector after the April 24th collapse of a garment-factory building, Rana Plaza, in Savar, an industrial suburb of Dhaka, the nation’s capital. By Monday afternoon, at least 1,127 people were confirmed to have died in the Rana Plaza collapse, a number that could still rise, in what is now considered the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry.
The Rana Plaza in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, housed a number of textile factories, some of which were supplying Western retailers.
Amazing, after 17 days a woman was rescued alive from beneath the rubble of the collapsed garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday. However, the death toll has officially risen from 15 to 1,034 -- making the accident the worst the garment industry has ever seen. The collapse, and the fire that took place at a sweater factory in Dhaka earlier this week, highlight the increasing concerns about the dangerous conditions for garment workers, an industry that brings in $20 billion for the small South Asian nation by providing clothing at a low cost to retailers worldwide.
At least eight people were killed in Bangladesh Thursday after an 11-story garment factory went up in flames. The fire was fueled by huge piles of acrylic products used to make sweaters. By the time firefighters arrived on the scene of the Tung Hai Sweater Ltd. Factory in the capital of Dhaka, the first few floors of the building were already engulfed in flames. Speaking to reporters, the deputy director of the fire service Mamun Mahmud described the occupants' desperate attempt to flee the building. "We recovered all of them on the stairwell on the ninth floor," he said. The deadly fire comes as the death toll from an eight-story building collapse in Dhaka passed 900 this week.
The identities of the victims of Wednesday's fire showed the entanglement of the industry and top Bangladeshi officials. The dead included the factory's managing director, Mahbubur Rahman, who was also on the board of directors of the powerful Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Along with him was senior police official Z.A. Morshed and Sohel Mostafa Swapan, head of a local branch of the ruling party's youth league.
Independent TV, a local station, reported that Rahman had plans to contest next year's elections as a candidate for the ruling party and had been meeting friends to discuss his future when the fire broke out.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which began soon after the factory workers went home for the day and took three hours to bring under control. Mahmud speculated it might have originated in the factory's ironing section. Officials originally said the building also housed several floors of apartments, but later said it was just a factory.
The garment factory building collapse death toll has now climbed to 930 making the collapse of Rana Plaza the world's deadliest industrial accident since India's Bhopal disaster in 1984.
The death toll in the deadly Bangladesh building collapse topped 500 on Thursday, while the country’s Finance minister tried to downplay the tragedy, calling it “not really serious.” “These are individual cases of ... accidents,” Finance Minister Abud Maal Abdul Muhith said Friday. “It happens everywhere.” Muhith insisted that the disaster would not harm Bangladesh’s garment industry, the country’s biggest export industry. But he may have his work cut out for him: last month Disney decided to pull its factories from Bangladesh. Although Disney represented less than 1 percent of Bangladesh’s garment industry, others could follow the entertainment giant’s lead.
The owner of the building, Sohel Rana, who is under investigation in the worker's deaths has had his assets seized. Protesters have called for him to be hanged.
Bangladeshi police on Thursday arrested the engineer who warned a day before the disaster that the building was unsafe.
The arrest of the engineer, Abdur Razzaque Khan, was a surprise twist since he was regarded as something of a hero for trying to avert the April 24 disaster. A day before the building collapsed, Mr. Khan had been summoned because cracks had suddenly appeared in the structure, forcing an evacuation. He concluded that the building had become dangerous and should be closed until experts could conduct a more thorough investigation — advice that turned out to be grimly prescient.
His comments appeared the next morning in at least one national newspaper. But the police say that the building’s owner, Sohel Rana, and the factory owners are blaming Mr. Khan, saying he told them the cracks were just a small problem. A police official said that Mr. Khan is being interrogated to determine who is telling the truth.
Authorities also suspended the mayor of the city, Savar, for his part in the tragedy. He stands accused of improperly granting building permits to Mr. Rana, who is a political ally, and of failure to take appropriate action to close the building when the structural cracks appeared.
UPDATE: Via Reuters:
"Two factory bosses were arrested in Bangladesh on Saturday, 72 hours after the deadly collapse of a building where low-cost garments were made for Western brands, as the death toll rose to 325 and angry workers protested on the streets of the capital."
"The owner of the eight-storey building that fell like a pack of cards around more than 3,000 workers was still on the run."
Bangladeshi police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of protesters demanding better working conditions after a garment factory collapsed, killing hundreds, earlier this week. M Asaduzzam, a police officer in the control room, called the protests "volatile." Asaduzzam said police used “rubber bullets and tear gas” to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, the death toll in Wednesday’s deadly building collapse has risen to 300, with authorities expecting to find even more bodies as they search the building. A total of 50 people were found alive Friday, raising the hopes of thousands of relatives. The collapse came just months after a fire in November at a factory that makes clothes for Walmart and other Western labels.
Officials estimate that close to 100 people were killed near Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka Wednesday morning when an eight-story garment factory collapsed. Hundreds gathered at the site of the accident, where officials fear more remain trapped under the rubble. Health Minister A.F.M. Ruhal Haque reported that more than 600 people had been rescued, and hoped that more will be added to that number. Bangladesh has received harsh criticism for its factory conditions after two other deadly fires at garment factories in the past year -- one of which left 112 dead.
Five garment factories - employing mostly women - were housed in the building, including Ether Tex Ltd., whose chairman said he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops.
"There was some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor," Muhammad Anisur Rahman told Reuters. "The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory."
He initially said that his firm had been sub-contracted to supply Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, and Europe's C&A. In a subsequent interview he said he had been referring to an order in the past, not current work.
Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to requests for comment. C&A said that, based on its best information, it had no contractual relationship with any of the production units in the building that collapsed.
Buildings are reportedly sometimes erected without permission and many do not comply with construction regulations.