ArticleMay 8th, 2013
Popular Clothing Brands React to Bangladesh Tragedy
Representatives from 40 clothing retailers, including H&M, Nike and Gap, met with the Bangladesh garment association last week to address the labor issues highlighted by the deadly collapse of the Rana Plaza, a large multi-story complex that housed shops and garment factories. More than 650 people died in the April 24 disaster, and the number is still rising.
In Bangladesh, the families of the victims are demanding answers from garment industry executives, who were apparently aware of the plaza’s structural problems beforehand, but did nothing to rectify them.
Bangladesh is a center for the worldwide garment industry. Many American clothing companies have transferred their manufacturing operations from the U.S. to Bangladesh because of its low labor and material costs.
However, with these low costs come major problems, including worker exploitation and unsafe working conditions.
In an op-ed for CNN, Kalpona Akter, a former child laborer in Bangladesh’s garment industry, recalled, “I began working in Bangladesh’s garment industry at the age of 12, making just $3 a month. I went to work because my father had a stroke and the family needed money to cover basic living expenses. I worked 23 days in a row, sleeping on the shop floor, taking showers in the factory restroom, drinking unsafe water and being slapped by the supervisor.”
The latest tragedy is only the latest in a long series of garment factory disasters. Just last November, a fire at a factory that made clothing for several U.S. retailers killed 112 Bangladeshi workers.
Now, U.S. and European brands who rely on Bangladeshi manufacturing are weighing options for the future. Some have promised compensation to workers’ families, and say they are looking into ways to make the industry safer.
This week, PBS affiliate KQED is hosting an interactive chat about fast fashion and the garment industry. Should fashion companies like H&M and Zara be responsible for the manufacturing of their clothing even though they don’t own the factories? What should be their role? What is the role of the consumer? What is the role of government?
Here are a few responses to the discussion so far:
— Luis Cubas(@Ice_CubeBag) May 5, 2013
— Compiled by Allison McCartney for NewsHour Extra
Submit Your Student Voice
Tooltip of RSS content 3
Obama passes baton to Clinton at DNC
The Democratic National Convention wrapped up its third day on Wednesday in Philadelphia with speeches by President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Continue readingBarack ObamaDemocratic National ConventionDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonJoe BidenMichael BloombergMichelle Obama
Young people do care about being part of the democratic process
On July 15, I joined hundreds of supporters, members of Congress and vice presidential nominee Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine to see Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton speak at a rally in Northern Virginia. Continue readingCivicsElection 2016Hillary ClintonPoliticsSocial StudiesStudent Voices
10 things to know about the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions
The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will not be the only exciting event to watch this summer — the Democratic and Republican National Conventions will also be televised.Democratic National ConventionElection 2016presidential nominationrepublican national convention
Calls for unity are met with protest on first day of Democratic National Convention
The Democratic National Convention began on Monday amid protests from supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and calls for unity to back Hillary Clinton. Continue readingBernie SandersDebbie Wasserman ShultzDemocratic National ConventionDemocratic PartyDNC 2016Election 2016Hillary ClintonWikileaks
Hillary Clinton’s long time in the political spotlight
While Clinton has topped the annual Gallup poll of “most admired woman” each of the last 14 years, a CBS poll last month showed nearly two-thirds of Americans say they don’t think she is honest or trustworthy. Continue readingDemocratic PartyElection 2016feminismFirst LadyHillary ClintonSecretary of State