National Retail Federation dismisses global safety plan for garment factories while Cambodian shoe factory collapses.
Over the past week, 30 clothing companies from around the world signed onto a pact to improve working conditions in Bangladesh. Only two of these companies are American: Abercrombie & Fitch, and the parent company of Tommy Hilfiger.
In fact, the National Retail Federation, the biggest industry trade group in the U.S., seemed to scoff at the idea entirely. Among the issues the federation raises? The pact would leave companies open to legal action.
That's correct, it does. And the National Retail Federation does not want clothing companies to be held liable if an unthinkable accident were to happen at the factory where the clothes are produced.
However, the National Retail Federation is offering up its own solutions, but isn't sharing many details.
According to an AP story in the Washington Post:
Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium, a labor rights group that has been pushing the legally binding pact, read the proposal and called it a 'series of empty platitudes.'
Shakespeare himself couldn't have scripted a story more tragically ironic.
Fewer than 24 hours after the National Retail Federation dismissed the pact, the ceiling of a Cambodian shoe factory collapsed.
Granted, the aforementioned pact pertains specifically to working conditions in Bangladesh. But will the National Retail Federation have any solutions regarding the factory collapse in Cambodia that killed two workers.
It may be time for Americans to start harnessing their purchasing power. We need to ask ourselves if lower costs for clothing or shoes are really worth the lives of struggling workers. Don't think so? Start shopping accordingly!
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