New England JLC protests for fire-safety program in Bangladesh
Photography by Rae Axner
January 21, 2013: Cambridge, MA - New England Jewish Labor Committee (NEJLC) members stand outside the GAP store in Harvard Square on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, protesting the company’s refusal to sign on to a comprehensive fire-safety program in garment factories in Bangladesh. A preventable fire in a clothing factory near the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka killed 112 workers last November. NEJLC members participated in three other area vigils against Walmart and H&M; these companies also refuse to sign onto the comprehensive fire-safety program. NEJLC Regional Director Marya Axner noted that Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee to support striking sanitation worker when he was assassinated in 1968.
Dr. Robert Ross, Professor at Clark University in Worcester, MA, spoke at the vigil in Harvard Square. Dr. Ross has been researching the resurgence of sweatshops in the U.S. and the global apparel industry since 1995. He contributed research to a recent report on fires in the garment industry called "Deadly Secrets" put out by the International Labor Rights Forum. The report reveals how major apparel companies are putting workers' lives at risk by covering up fire safety hazards and other dangerous working conditions. See: http://www.laborrights.org/publications-and-resources.