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Blog: Walmart Blocked Safety Measures in Bangladesh

Walmart executives have blood on their hands

Today's New York Times published a story,"Documents Indicate Walmart Blocked Safety Push in Bangladesh," that begins as follows:

Documents found at the Tazreen apparel factory in Bangladesh, where 112 workers died in a fire nearly two weeks ago, indicate that three American garment companies were using the factory during the past year to supply goods to Walmart and its Sam’s Club subsidiary.       

The documents — photographed by a Bangladeshi labor organizer after the fire and made available to The New York Times — include an internal production report from mid-September showing that 5 of the factory’s 14 production lines were devoted to making apparel for Walmart.       

In a related matter, two officials who attended a meeting held in Bangladesh in 2011 to discuss factory safety in the garment industry said on Wednesday that the Walmart official there played the lead role in blocking an effort to have global retailers pay more for apparel to help Bangladesh factories improve their electrical and fire safety. 

In other words, Walmart executive have blood on their hands, and that blood soaks the food it sells in its Altadena grocery store.    

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Nico December 07, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Which were the other nine companies that utilized the factory? Incidentally, I hope no one in your family owns a diamond either in the form of jewelry or in a watch, as those really are soaked in blood. Your passion for justice is admirable, but your obsessive focus on one company is silly.
Peter Dreier December 07, 2012 at 02:59 PM
The reason to focus on Walmart is simple. It is by far the largest private employer in the world and in the US and its business practices set the standard for the others. Walmart's practices -- low wages, part-time employment, few if any health benefits, use and abuse of overseas sweatshops -- influence the "race to the bottom" in the retail sector. Here is the list of the largest US retailers, using 2011 US sales to rank them. Walmart is bigger than the next four largest retailers combined. •Wal-Mart, $316 billion •Kroger (local stores: Ralphs, Food 4 Less), $85 billion •Target, $68 billion •Walgreens, $66 billion •Costco, $64 billion •The Home Depot, $62 billion •CVS Caremark, $60 billion •Lowe’s, $49 billion •Best Buy, $38 billion •Safeway (local stores: Vons), $37 billion
Nico December 07, 2012 at 04:20 PM
So, you admit that you are going after Walmart, not because they are any worse than other companies, but rather because they are a bigger target, than say, "Target." Fair enough, but be transparent about your motives. Lurid headlines about bringing blood to Altadena are at best in bad taste and probably alienate more people than recruit supporters.
Peter Dreier December 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Because Walmart is the biggest, and sets the standard for the industry, it IS the worst. It is the global bully.

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