Ignoring the memory of the over 1,100 factory workers that passed away at the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh last month, at least 14 major North American retailers have declined to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, an agreement that would have entailed a five year commitment from all participating retailers to conduct independent safety inspections of factories and pay up to $500,000 per year towards safety improvements.
The retailers worried that the agreement would give labor groups and others the ability to sue them in U.S. courts, but anybody that has paid attention to the last 30 years of global unfettered corporate greed knows the truth: these corporations care more about their bottom line than they do about the lives and safety of third-world workers, and their actions reflect it. They are so obsessed with reducing production costs that they couldn’t care less about a few cheap lawsuits from cash-starved labor groups.
While the agreement has garnered overwhelming support outside of the United States, the American public is barely aware of its existence and significance, standing idly by and silently condoning these major multinational corporations as they neglect any semblance of Corporate Social Responsibility for the dangerous workplace conditions they establish for workers in third-world countries.
Several major European retailers like Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Bennetton, and H&M deserve credit for having rightfully taken responsibility for their previous inaction and joined the agreement.
PVH, parent company to Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, also signed the agreement, along with Abercrombie & Fitch. However, that leaves 14 North American retailers that are shirking responsibility for any future workplace deaths by refusing to sign the accord.
If the American public doesn’t awaken from its slumber and start to apply public pressure on these irresponsible North American corporations, they will have no incentive to put an end to their reckless evasion of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Here are their names, spread their shame:
American Eagle Outfitters
The Children’s Place
Watch a report about these irresponsible retailers’ refusal to sign the accord by MSNBC’s Chris Haye’s: