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.
This is your Moment of Clarity #213: Inch by inch, dollar by dollar, the corporate power elite chip away at a comfortable life for 99% of the population. It's not always noticeable at first, but it adds up. Here is some of the information referenced in the video- Walmart sued and "Christine Quinn says no paid sick leave."
On November 25th, 112 workers burned to death in a factory fire in Bangladesh producing garments for Walmart. The Port of Newark is a major entryway for Walmart garments coming from Bangladesh. Walmart is going to profit off of the garments these workers died to make.
Unless we block the boat.
Walmart - the world's largest employer and 1% corporation - refuses to take responsibility, compensate the families, or take any action to prevent needless deaths like this from happening again. The 1% must not profit from the workers' deaths in Bangladesh!
On Tuesday December 18th, buses will be leaving at 6am from Canal and Broadway in Manhattan to head to the port.
If you’re not taking the bus, the staging ground location will be the IKEA parking lot in Elizabeth, NJ at 7am. Timing is critical.
We're calling on Occupiers near all East Coast ports to be on alert if the cargo ship is re-routed to dock at another port. https://www.facebook.com/events/456899241034741/
When: Tuesday, December 11 @ 4:30pm Where: Harold Pratt House, 58 East 68th Street, New York, New York 10065 RSVP on Facebook
Just weeks after the massive demonstration of the #WalmartStrikers Black Friday day of action, Walmart CEO Mike Duke is visiting NYC on Tuesday, Dec. 11 to give a speech for the Council on Foreign Relations entitled "The Responsibility to Lead" - talking about women's economic empowerment, food security & the global middle class.
That's ironic, since Walmart represents the epitome of corporate greed: from use of sweatshop labor, to the poverty wages it pays associates, to discrimination, to illegal retaliation against workers who organize. Mike Duke has no right to speak about the "global middle class", and IT'S TIME WE TAUGHT HIM THE MEANING OF RESPONSIBILITY.
Join ALIGN, 99 Pickets, Walmart Free NYC, Occupy Bergen County, Retail Action Project, MoneyOut/VotersIn, and allies for an afternoon of action -- picket lines, street theater, and more.
Text "@pickets" to 23559 for day-of text message alerts.
We will publicly hold Mike Duke accountable for:
The deaths of 120 workers from a fire at Bangladeshi sweatshop producing clothing for Walmart in incredibly unsafe conditions.
Paying Walmart workers poverty wages, forcing many to file for public assistance, and for retaliating against workers when they began to organize and speak out about working conditions.
Mistreatment of workers across Walmart's supply chain, especially warehouse workers and immigrant workers at Walmart suppliers.
At least 112 employees of a Bangledesh garment factory perished in a blaze late Saturday after becoming trapped inside the building with no fire exits. The factory produced clothing for Wal-Mart, and other U.S. retailers. Were your Black Friday deals worth it?
There was no escape. A fire claimed 112 workers in a garment factory near the capital of Bangladesh late Saturday. A fire official said their last moments were spent in panic as they searched in vain for fire exits leading outside. “I want the factory owner to be hanged,” said one grieving mother who lost her daughter-in-law in the fire and whose son is still missing. “For him, many have died.” Firefighters have recovered 100 bodies from the gutted seven-story factory. Many of Bangladesh’s 4,000 garment shops lack proper fire protections.
"The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor," Mahbub said. "So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building."
"Had there been at least one emergency exit through outside the factory, the casualties would have been much lower," he said.
Many of the victims were burned beyond recognition. The recovered bodies were kept in rows on the premise of a nearby school.
Army soldiers and paramilitary border guards were deployed to help police keep the situation under control as thousands of onlookers and anxious relatives of the factory workers gathered at the scene, Mahbub said. He would not say how many people were still missing.
Bangladesh's garment factories make clothes for brands including Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour and Tesco.
To make a mess that another person will have to deal with—the dropped socks, the toothpaste sprayed on the bathroom mirror, the dirty dishes left from a late-night snack—is to exert domination in one of its more silent and intimate forms. -Barbara Ehrenreich, in “Made to Order,” an essay from the anthology Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy, co-edited with Arlie Russell Hochschild
[This quote is] relevant to an argument I just had about “disruptive” protest at Walmart in supposed solidarity with the Black Friday strikes. Picket, protest, march and rally all you want, hold a sit-in, but please, before you do things like deliberately create a mess in the store or leave a full cart in the checkout line, consider who’s going to have to clean up the mess that you make. It’s not going to be Rob Walton or any of the other multibillionaires. It won’t even be the assistant manager. It’ll be the same low-wage worker who maybe wanted to go on strike but wasn’t quite convinced, or who was threatened by their boss, who’s working an extra-long shift on the worst shopping day of the year.
Solidarity doesn’t mean you decide for yourself what is best for the workers. It means showing up in the ways they need and want you to and letting them decide how to build worker power.
We ask you to reflect on the statement issued by workers and Making Change at Wal-Mart as you plan your Black Friday solidarity action:
Across the country, Wal-Mart employs 1.4 million people. We are not just the Associates that you see in stores, we are moms and dads, sons and daughters, husbands and wives working hard to support our families.
We have been speaking out for good jobs with decent pay, regular hours, affordable healthcare and respect, but instead of working with us to make changes, Wal-Mart has attempted to silence us and has retaliated against us for speaking out. Our jobs have been threatened, our hours cut, our schedules changed. Some of us have even been fired.
We will not be silenced. Throughout the holiday season, including Black Friday, we will be standing up for an end to the retaliation against workers who speak out for what’s right for our families, our communities and our country, and we hope that you will stand with us. It is not an easy decision, but without an end to the retaliation, Wal-Mart workers across the country will be walking off the job in protest, and we hope you will join us in creative, non-violent action in solidarity with our strike. We ask that supporters take action that spreads the word about our strikes and demonstrates to Wal-Mart a wave of support for workers who are speaking out.
Together, we are calling on Wal-Mart to end the retaliation against hard-working employees who are courageously speaking out for better pay, fair schedules and more hours, affordable health care and respect.
We will not be silenced until we see real change at Wal-Mart.
Released in theaters November 4th, 2005, WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE is a feature length documentary that uncovers a retail giant's assault on families and American values.
The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!
The richest people in America: The owners of Wal-Mart -- six members of the Walton family -- are all on the list of Forbes 400 richest people in America. Combined, the Waltons have a net worth equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans. They are all children or children-in-law of the founders of Walmart. Six people. As much wealth as 30 percent of all the people in America. The Waltons are now collectively worth about $93 billion, according to Forbes.
Wal-Mart employs more people than any other company in the United States outside of the Federal government, yet the majority of its employees with children live below the poverty line.
It's time to take a stand and support the workers who are standing up to live better through an unfair labor practice strike.
Walmart workers decided to strike on Black Friday after they were targeted for retaliation for speaking out about substandard work conditions and treatment last month in the first ever walk out in the history of the company.
We ask you to help us feed the workers who will walk out on the company next week on the biggest shopping day of the year.
The workers are demanding the following from Walmart:
Improve Workers’ Lives
Pay a minimum of $25,000/year and guarantee quality, affordable health coverage for all Walmart associates and workers in the company’s US distribution chain.
Sign on to a national community benefits agreement that ensures as Walmart expands into new markets, it strengthens communities, protects the environment and is responsible for the well-being of its employees in its retail stores and US supply and distribution chain.
Put Its Promises in Writing
Agree to a global labor agreement guaranteeing the fundamental human right of freedom of association for all of its associates and instruct their suppliers to do the same, and recognize and negotiate with OUR Walmart.
Elevate Global Living Standards
Establish a legally binding global responsible contractor policy requiring contractors and subcontractors to provide living wages, worker safety protections, and respect basic human and labor rights, including freedom of association and freedom from racial and gender discrimination.
How can I support in other ways?
You can join solidarity actions throughout the United States. Find out which solidarity actions are being organized and the store employees that are participating by going to the Corporate Action Network event page.
“The only thing workers have to bargain with is their skill or their labor. Denied the right to withhold it as a last resort, they become powerless. The strike is therefore not a breakdown of collective bargaining-it is the indispensable cornerstone of that process." -- Paul Clark
Members of Occupy Los Angeles say that recent efforts to clean the "skid row" area of the city are actually a ploy to eventually rid the area of its homeless population, so that a powerful group of lobbyists can begin efforts to help their clients realize plans to redevelop the area into profitable businesses.The CCA is a business group that lobbies city and state government to grease the wheels for development in downtown LA. They represent local businesses, as well as large corporations, such as Chevron, Walmart, Verizon, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo and Bank of America .
Police say that any property not placed in the city provided storage facility during the cleaning operations must be mobile, and kept moving all day long, until the one of the Injunctions kicks in at 9pm and people are allowed to sleep. At 6am, they must begin moving around again until the night. You can hear police explain in the video above "You cannot return to where you were, and you cannot stay where you are now." Come 9pm, the homeless have to find a new spot to sleep for the night because they are not allowed to return to the "cleaned" areas, and then each day the process begins again.
Occupy Los Angeles, LA CAN, Occupy the Hood, and Occupy Skid Row have all kept a presence in the area to protest the efforts of CCA, with Occupy LA reporting over this past weekend. From Occupy LA's website:
First thoughts written last night: ”4 Arrests in Midnight LAPD Raid on CCA Siege – Occupy Los Angeles – three of my best friends and roommates, and an unknown 4th man ARRESTED. Charges unknown. Police orchestrated tactical raid with 25+ cops, pepper spray out and batons were swinging. Captain Frank (at a compañera’s trial yesterday) pointed at her and said, “Don’t I know you?”. Another police officer told a fifth occupier that “You’re getting arrested tomorrow.”
I couldn’t move, trapped inside a tent and seeing silhouettes of gum-chewing cops, fidgety and in war-mode. LAPD’s true colors emerging.
You want to talk targeted kidnappings and terror? Cops were laughing as they pushed and hit us. Laughing as they sent 3 snatch squads and took my friends in the dead of night.”
We’re traumatized and enraged. Three of my roommates were snatched by LAPD last night. Bails are $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000…. they’ve been some of the most visible organizers with the siege on the Central City Association (1%’s lobby here in Los Angeles) for nearly a month. They have all been harassed, intimidated, brutalized, and arrested by the LAPD before. They have all been occupying for months and are inspiring in their defiance and rejection of the oppressive status quo.
The arrests began over alleged chalk drawings, despite the 9th circuit court decision of Mackinney vs. Neilson that states, “No chalk would damage a sidewalk.”
Since May 29, occupiers and homeless advocates have camped out each night in front of the CCA’s offices in downtown, as part of an ongoing “siege” protest that was originally only meant to last seven days. The action was coordinated by Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Skid Row and the Los Angeles Community Action Network.
Obviously, occupiers, who would prefer government to be free of corporate influences, are ideologically opposed to the lobby group. In fact, one could say the CCA is Occupy LA’s local archenemy.
Heather Meyer, an occupier who has been camping out in front of the CCA, said the lobby is “behind everything that is oppressive.” She cites as an example the groups opposition to the recently passed “Responsible Banking” ordinance, which requires banks doing business with the city to turn over information on loans and foreclosure activity and making it readily available to the public.
“They are the lobbyists for the one percent,” she said. “They are the epitome of money in politics.”
The CCA has done more than support bankers to irritate occupiers. The CCA also successfully opposed community efforts to block the construction of a Walmart in Chinatown. They helped kill a city ordinance that would have required hotels to keep their employees 90 days after a change of hotel ownership, according to their website.
As further evidence of the power the lobbyists at CCA wield, the report cites CCA announcing their intentions earlier this year to further lobby for more police resources for the skid row area. The LAPD soon after announcing 40 more officers being sent in to patrol despite there only being a “minor uptick in reported crime” in a neighborhood that “still reports some of the lowest crime levels in the city,” according to the Downtown News.
To explain the decision to respond so strongly to a minor uptick in crime, the LAPD stated:
In recent months, the department has been fielding more complaints from residents and businesses about aggressive panhandling and people sleeping on the sidewalk during the day, he said.
“We are having an increase in quality of life issues and we don’t want to lose any ground that we’ve gained in that area,” Perez said. “We want to stop the problem before it explodes. We’re just being proactive in our analysis and response to the area and understanding it.”
Interestingly enough, it sounds as if the increase in complaints began around the time CCA announced it would begin lobbying for more police...
If you continue to read the Downtown News article, it really does a great job of making skid row sound bad. I've seen it, it's a depressing and disturbing area that seems like you've crossed some great divide into an undeveloped nation. So many people with nowhere else to call home. Then it finishes with a quote from CCA's CEO:
“There hasn’t been an area in the entire county of Los Angeles that has not benefited from making Downtown come alive,” said Schatz. “When people are sleeping on the streets… it affects our ability to continue to attract investment and continue to make this Downtown thrive.”
As I read that quote, it didn't sound to me as if what happens to the people of skid row was a priority, or even a concern at all.
I'll keep you posted on any updates on the situation.