Are We Just Outsourcing Our Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Tragedies?

When we noted the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, you might have looked at that and thought, phew, good thing stuff like that isn’t happening anymore. But in developing countries around the world with little to no worker rights and sweatshops paying pennies a day, it is. Like in Bangladesh in December 2010 when 29 workers died after a fire swept through the Hameem garment factory. The workers were trapped inside because guards had been ordered to lock the gates in the event of a fire in order to prevent clothes from being stolen during the confusion. The factory made clothes for GAP.

“We were deeply saddened by last year’s tragic fire in the Hameem Group’s That’s It Sportswear factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh,” said GAP later in a statement. “Gap Inc. is working with the other companies that have business with Hameem – including Abercrombie & Fitch, JCPenney, Target, and VF Corporation – to understand the events that led to the fire and to identify solutions to ensure that this type of tragic incident does not happen again.”

Multinational corporations doing business in other countries have the power and duty to trade with suppliers who adhere to standards of ethical and responsible productions, lest we simply outsource our Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedies.

Bangladesh Update – Gap Inc. Statement [GAP]
Workers jump to their deaths as fire engulfs factory making clothes for Gap [The Guardian]
Triangle Returns: Young Women Continue to Die in Locked Sweatshops [Global Labour Rights]

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