Clothing Retailers Pressed on Safety Issues
May 12th, 2013
The Rev. Seamus Finn, OMI (OMI JPIC Office Director) was quoted in a recent New York Times article on the building collapse and fires in the Bangladesh garment industry, saying: “What happened in Bangladesh is a game-changer because of the gravity of the situation and the tremendous loss of life,” Father Finn said. “People are really coming to life about this and saying, ‘We need to do something.’ ”
Rev. Finn is circulating a letter among other faith-based and socially responsible investors – groups that control more than $100 billion in assets — expressing displeasure with U.S. retailers. He says the retailers have not done nearly enough to improve workplace safety for the more than three million garment workers in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh labor costs in the garment manufacturing industry are the lowest in the world. Decent factory operations there are under tremendous pressure from their purchasers to lower costs, with the buyers threatening to ‘take their business down the road’ unless their terms are met.