After a textile factory fire and building collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,200 workers and injured more than 1,800, U.S. firms that use the factories refuse to contribute to the $40 million fund set up for the victims.
The companies fear that participating in the fund will appear as if they are accepting responsibility for the disasters.
From the New York Times:
To the dismay of those pushing to create the compensation funds, neither Walmart, Sears, Children's Place nor any of the other American companies that were selling goods produced at Tazreen or Rana Plaza have agreed to contribute to the efforts.
Supporters of compensation plans say they are needed to pay for medical care for those who are paralyzed or otherwise badly injured, to provide income after a vital breadwinner died and to give families enough income so that children are not forced to quit school and go to work.
"Compensation is so important because so many families are suffering — many families don't have anyone left to support them," said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. "There's been a good response from some European brands, but so far none of the U.S. retailers have agreed to pay a single penny for compensation."
The current version of a trade agreement among the U.S. and Pacific countries, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, won't hold corporations responsible for working conditions in factories in that region. Who is responsible for improving working conditions in places that make goods for U.S. consumers?
LEARN MORE ABOUT FACTORY CONDITIONS ABROAD: