I’m going to shamelessly cut, paste and link from the change.org site. Please sign the petition in support of Bangladeshi workers.
On December 14, 2010, 30 Bangladeshi factory workers were burned alive [link Sheelzebub's] when an easily preventable fire broke out in the unsafe, multi-story sweatshop in which they were working. These men and women worked for “That’s It Sportswear” producing clothing for famous U.S. brands.
Thanks to pressure from Change.org members, seven of the eight brands (including J.C. Penney) doing business with the factory owners – the Hameem Group – 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 US brands’ apparel factories in Bangladesh. Now J.C. Penney has shamefully broken this pledge. Today, six of the eight brands continue negotiating in good faith to establish an adequate worker compensation fund and sustainable fire safety initiatives. J.C. Penney, however, has dropped out.
We need your help to send a message to J.C. Penney to honor the commitments they made in January.
In Bangladesh, nearly 500 workers have died in factory fires during the past five years. Establishing effective initiatives to prevent fires like this from occurring again is critical. Nothing less than workers’ lives are at stake. Don’t let J.C. Penney walk away from workers in Bangladesh.
Sign the petition here. (Just FYI, I checked the J.C. Penney corporate site at 2:38 pm EST, and saw no press release acknowledging the petition or this issue at all, so I’m assuming that nothing has changed and that they’re still reneging on their agreement.)
There is more you can do! In the comments section of a rather contentious thread that ended up focusing on consuming less vs. organizing, La Lubu made an excellent point and linked to a bunch of organizations that are working tirelessly to help (and are founded by) workers around the world.
(Thanks, La Lubu!)
If you are concerned about and disgusted by the exploitation of workers at home and abroad, these are good organizations to get involved with. You can also check out the work of the International Labor Rights Forum, the organization that is putting pressure on J.C. Penney to honor its commitment to the workers who were injured and killed making their clothes.