Fire Safety – NY Times Editorial


December 10, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

I write to draw your attention to today’s lead editorial in the New York Times concerning fire safety in the apparel industry. The editorial calls on brands and retailers to embrace the binding fire safety agreement for Bangladesh that the WRC and other labor rights organizations are advocating. As you know, this agreement has been signed, so far, by PVH and by the German retailer Tchibo.

The editorial is a strong moral call for action by the apparel industry to bring an end to these deadly fires, which have now taken the lives of more than 700 workers in recent years in Bangladesh and injured thousands more. These deaths were preventable: the apparel industry has known how to operate an apparel factory safely for more than a hundred years. However, without fundamental reform of the industry in Bangladesh, which will not happen unless brands and retailers insist on it – and are willing to pay for it – we will see more fires and more deaths.

As MJ Soffe has now acknowledged, university logo apparel was produced in 2011 at Tazreen Fashions, the factory that burned on November 24, killing at least 111 people. This shows how closely this issue touches the collegiate industry.

We will be in communication with you shortly about the ongoing efforts to move the fire safety agreement forward and about additional near term steps that can be taken to identify and mitigate the gravest fire safety risks.
Scott Nova
Worker Rights Consortium
5 Thomas Circle NW, 5th Floor
Washington DC 20005
ph 202 387 4884
fax 202 387 3292
[email protected]