CBS News secretly filmed inside a Bangladesh apparel factory recently. There they found emergency fire doors blocked and just two fire extinguishers for a 100,000-square-foot area—another 11 shown on an evacuation plan were nowhere to be seen. Recent fires have claimed the lives of more than 400 Bangladeshi clothing workers.
The April collapse of the Bangladesh garment factory that killed more than 1,100 workers has put an intense focus on the dangerous working conditions and worker abuse in the Bangladeshi apparel industry, which is a major supplier of clothing to U.S. retailers.
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reported that inside the Monde Apparels factory, with 1,400 workers—many appearing to be underage—she saw clothing being made for Wrangler, Asics and Walmart. Watch her full report.
Last week, a coalition of faith organizations, investors and labor groups—including the AFL-CIO—urged 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.
Some 30 companies, mostly European clothing retailers, have signed the Accord on Building and Fire Safety, developed by international and Bangladeshi unions, retailers and other groups. The International Labor Organization (ILO) will help implement it. But major U.S. retailers that import the goods made by very low-wage workers in Bangladesh have expressed concerns over liability or said they prefer non-binding approaches to worker safety. They have claimed they will develop their own safety plans.