Think Disney should make it garments in the United States? Let the company know!
Usually we use this space to highlight the great work of companies that manufacture clothing in the United States, and we'll do that again next week, but please permit us this diversion from the norm.
Following the fire in November, but prior to the collapse last month, Disney removed Bangladesh, as well as several other nations, from its list of acceptable countries in which to manufacture its clothing. (This move, on Disney's part, was not widely known until after the factory collapse in April.)
Still, Disney lists 172 other countries as alternative places to manufacture garments. This has ignited quite an internet debate: People wonder whether this will help or hurt poverty, and working conditions, in Bangladesh; whether consumers will begin boycotting products associated with poor working conditions; and, whether these tragic, but avoidable, events will lead to companies taking a larger role in the oversight of working conditions and regulations.
All of these are reasonable questions. However, it's time to add another side to the conversation.
How about asking Disney why it doesn't just move its garment production to the United States? We've seen the "its cheaper to make things overseas" myth debunked time and again, and if you factor the death toll in Bangladesh into the cost, it seems rather exorbitant. There are garment factories and skilled workers across the country who would gladly take on the work, and following today's dismal manufacturing job numbers, it seems the sector itself would welcome the proverbial shot in the arm. It's ironic that Disney Television Group spends a lot of time touting Made in America products on ABC, while the Walt Disney Company sends its merchandise production overseas.
Needless to say, if you believe Disney should bring production of its clothing back to the United States, there is an internet petition that's addressed to Bob Chapek, President, Disney Consumer Products. You can sign to make your feelings known.
Photo by Flickr user Sam Howzit, used following Creative Commons guidelines.
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