April 24 2015: Justice for Workers in Bangladesh

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION TODAY demanding justice for workers in Bangladesh.

On April 24, 2013, at least 1,138 people died and 2,500 people, mostly women, were injured, in the factory collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.  It is, to date, the deadliest disaster in the history of the garment industry worldwide.

On that morning, workers refused to enter the eight-story Rana Plaza factory building because there were large and dangerous cracks in the factory walls.  The workers were forced to go in to work after they were threatened with not being paid for the month.  The factory has made clothing for US, Canadian and European clothing labels and retailers like Walmart, The Children's Place, and others.  Eighty percent of the workers were young women ages 18-20.  (For more details on this incident, read here.)

Every day workers in the US and around the world fight to strengthen labor laws and working conditions. Different standards are applied for women and people working in the Global South that create the conditions which allow for factories like Rana Plaza to operate.  Meanwhile, corporations like Walmart, The Children's Place, and North Face/VF Corporation continue to brand themselves as companies that care about people.

The fight for justice continues on at home and abroad.  Walmart workers and other retail workers across the country are fighting for their rights in the US including a living wage, maternity leave, and sick leave.  At the same time workers in Bangladesh are also pushing for companies to sign a Safety Accord that will hold multi-national corporations accountable for the safety of the workers who produce the goods the corporations sell. 

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a five-year legally binding agreement between international labor organizations, non-governmental organizations, and retailers engaged in the textile industry to maintain minimum safety standards in the Bangladesh textile industry.  The accord has already been signed by a number of companies (see here for list). In October 2013, it was announced that 1,600 Bangladeshi factories were covered by the accord, representing about 1/3 of the Bangladeshi textile industry!  However, some of the largest companies (like The Children’s Place, WalMart, and VF Corporation, the largest branded apparel manufacturer in the world) have yet to sign onto the safety accords or provide compensation to the survivors. 

We say no more!

On April 24th, 2015, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance members from around the country will take part in a global 24-hour feminist action by the World March of Women that will highlight this incident and the struggles of women around the world.  Starting in New Caledonia and going around the world, actions will take place between 12-1pm in every time zone to commemorate the second anniversary of the fire and collapse at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.

As people based in the US who wear the clothing made by women in Bangladesh and around the world, we call on all of us to take action.

TAKE ACTION:

1) Sign this petition to support higher safety standards for workers in Bangladesh so that corporations who employ workers in the factories are held responsible for maintaining safe working conditions. After you have signed, share it on Facebook and Twitter:

      

2) Endorse the April 24 Call to Action!  We are looking for organizations to endorse this call to action!  Will your organization endorse?  Email Helena at helena@ggjalliance.org.

3) Participate in an existing action in your area: Stay tuned to this page to find out about actions that are happening in your area on April 24th. 

4) Support through Social Media! Can’t make it to any of the activities but want to show your support?  Follow April 24 actions and show your solidarity on Facebook and Twitter. 

On Facebook, make sure you tag Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

On Twitter, use the handle @ggjalliance and the following hashtags:
#DefendingDignity
#April24
#WMWUSchapter
#GrassrootsInternationalism
#ReclaimingFeminisms

The fight for the dignity of all workers is an ongoing fight. After April 24th, we hope you continue to support campaigns by USASOUR Walmart, and GGJ. These actions are one small part of a larger struggle for our vision of a world where there are economic systems that meet the needs of the people and the planet.  At GGJ, we believe that we need a Just Transition towards a new economy--that recognizes the value of people’s time and work, that respects the limits of the Earth’s resources, that is grounded in feminist practices, and that shifts the relationship between the Global North and the Global South. 

We Will Keep Marching Until We Are All Free:  Defending the Dignity of Our Bodies, Our Communities, and Mother Earth.

For more information, contact Helena at helena@ggjalliance.org