A coalition of faith organizations, investors and labor groups—including the AFL-CIO—is urging major U.S. retailers, including Walmart, Gap, Sears and others, to sign on to a binding workplace and fire safety plan to prevent tragedies such as the recent building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and two 2012 fires that claimed the lives of more than 400 Bangladeshi clothing workers.
Rana Plaza, the Bangladesh factory that collapsed three weeks ago, killed more than 1,100 workers, many of them young women. This tragedy adds to the more than 1,500 Bangladeshi workers killed in preventable fires and building collapses since 2005. Documents found at the factory show that the workers produced for big names in global retail, revealing the link between poor workers in Bangladesh and major retail brands. Obviously, the government must improve local laws and their enforcement to stop these tragedies, but brands also must take responsibility for their supply chains. They must be held accountable to the tragedy that happened in their supply chain.
Last year, local Bangladeshi and international unions and workers’ rights groups negotiated an agreement to stop these deaths and help Bangladesh’s garment workers claim their rights. Two brands signed the agreement; the other major brands must sign on now!
Last week, Walmart said it would speed up its plan to hire returning military veterans that it had announced in January. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says Walmart’s latest move “is more about public relations than honoring our heroes.”
We owe it to our returning veterans to make sure they are treated as the heroes they are, rather than as symbols used to ‘greenwash’ Walmart’s eroding brand. After facing enemies abroad, is an $8.81 an hour part-time job the best we can offer returning veterans?
After last week's Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, which killed at least 377 garment workers, United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) started a petition calling on three of the leading users of Bangladeshi garment workers—Walmart, the Gap and H&M—to demand that factories in the country be made safe for workers. The building collapse is already the deadliest garment factory disaster in known history and the death toll is not yet final. USAS says the deaths could have easily been prevented, as cracks appeared in the structure the day before it collapsed. Workers were ordered to work in the building anyway, under threat of losing a month's pay.
In his latest piece at Salon, Josh Eidelson talks about a planned walkout by fast-food workers in Chicago.
The walkout began, the Chicago Tribune reports, at 5:30 a.m. local time with workers from some McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts stores walking off the job. The ultimate goal of the walkout is to support the Fight for $15 campaign, whose goal is to secure a wage of $15 per hour for workers. Also expected to join the walkout were workers from Subway, Macy's, Sears and Victoria's Secret.
Tragedy struck again in Bangladesh this morning when a building that housed several garment factories collapsed, killing at least 194 people, mostly garment workers, injuring hundreds of others and trapping an unknown number of people in the rubble. A number of shops were also in the building.
Would you trust that your food is clean and uncontaminated, the plane you’re flying in airworthy or your workplace safe, if those were certified by companies counting on the profits they’ll make from your purchases, travel and labor? Of course not.
But that’s the dilemma millions of workers around the world face—often with deadly results—when it comes to their safety on the job, a new report from the AFL-CIO reveals:
This is an excerpt from “Public Schools, Private Agenda: Parent Revolution,” by Gary Cohn of Frying Pan News.
At first glance, it is one of the nation’s hottest new education-reform movements, a seemingly populist crusade to empower poor parents and fix failing public schools. But a closer examination reveals that the “parent-trigger” movement is being heavily financed by the conservative Walton Family Foundation, one of the nation’s largest and most strident anti-union organizations, a Frying Pan News investigation has shown.
Sixteen years ago the American public and Kathie Lee Gifford were shocked when it was revealed that the Walmart clothing line that carried Gifford’s name was manufactured—unbeknownst to her—under sweatshop conditions by Honduran children working 20 hours a day. She burst into tears when shown undercover footage of the factories, and consumer support for new rules and labor standards for imported clothing grew.
But now, writes Jake Blumgart in a Salon series of articles on workers and workplace issues brought to you by the AFL-CIO, “nothing much has changed.“
The wrong way to greet our military veterans as they return to civilian life after defending the nation would be offering an $8.81 an hour part-time job with little to no benefits.
Walmart CEO Bill Simon said this morning at the National Retail Federation conference that starting Memorial Day, Walmart would offer honorably discharged veterans jobs. Simon pledges to hire 100,000 vets over the next five years. Right now, it's unclear if these Walmart jobs would be full-time or offer adequate benefits.