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Sign petition to protect Bangladeshi garment workers’ lives

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Alison Clarke
WVoN co-editor

On December 14, 2010, 30 Bangladeshi factory workers were burned alive and more than 100 injured when a fire swept through the multi-story sweatshop in which they were working.

The two emergency exits were said to have been closed (see WVoN story).

These men and women worked for “That’s It Sportswear” producing clothing for famous US brands.

These included Abercrombie & Fitch, JC Penney, Target, Carters Inc (owner of the brand Osh Kosh B’Gosh), GAP Inc (owner of the brands GAP, Banana Republic and Old Navy), the Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (owners of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger) and the VF Corporation (owners of The North Face and Wrangler and Lee jeans).

Authorities said that the fire initially broke out on the building’s 10th floor, where trousers were stored for shipment. It then spread up to the 11th floor where there was a canteen and a manufacturing facility.

The factory was owned by local business giant Hameem Group in the Ashulia industrial zone, 18km outside Dhaka.

Thanks to pressure from Change.org members, seven of the eight brands subsequently signed a commitment to ensure fair compensation for the injured workers and surviving family members of the workers who died, and to take meaningful steps to stop the epidemic of workplace deaths at garment factories in Bangladesh.

Now Change.org says that JC Penney has shamefully broken this pledge and has dropped out of negotiations to establish a fund to compensate workers.

It wants our help to send a message to the company to honor the commitments they made in January by signing this petition.

So, what are you waiting for – sign here. Now. Please.

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