Hope that the Tragedy in Bangladesh Will Inspire Change

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

History is being made in the nation of Bangladesh this week. A tragedy that may have as much impact on the working conditions for garment workers in that country as the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire of 1911 had in the New York City garment industry.

Nearly 400 people died in a collapsed building last week where garment workers for Western apparel retailers worked. It's the deadliest tragedy to ever occur in the garment industry.

In response representatives from major retailers convened in Frankfurt, Germany to discuss what can be done to improve factory safety, but it's not clear that any progress was made.

Novelist M. T. Anderson recently wrote about the cyclical, unregulated, nature of the industry in an op-ed piece for our partner The New York Times. He's the author of “Feed,” “The Pox Party” and other novels.


M. T. Anderson

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Elizabeth Ross

Comments [1]

Emma Weibel from Portland, Oregon

My anger about the garment factory fire was renewed by M.T. Anderson's inaccurate blaming of consumers for this situation. The blame sits with corporate interests for promoting international trade treaties signed by both democratic and republican presidents,which sent our factories overseas, and not simply clothing. Americans did not demand lower prices; retail was booming when these treaties started.Many of us knew what would result, but only Ross Perot said it aloud, and people laughed. These treaties must be repealed. We cannot control what Bangladesh does with labor, but we can bring our factories home and we had better get to it.

May. 01 2013 06:19 PM

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