This is the full 7-1-2013 episode of the Labor Express Radio program.
On today’s episode of Labor Express Radio we will hear about a group of labor activists, from a variety of organizations including SEIU, Arise Chicago workers center, Chicago Jobs with Justice, Workers United, UE and United Students Against Sweatshops, who gathered at three area Wal-Mart and Gap stores on Saturday to demand these companies sign on to the legally-binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which 50 companies have already signed onto.
They argue that Wal-Mart, GAP and other large retailers hold the key to ending senseless deaths in garment factories throughout the world. Wal-Mart and GAP must ensure good pay and safe working conditions for all workers in its supply chain from the factories to the warehouses to the stores.
This action comes of course after the collapse of Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh that killed over 1200 workers in April. The activists argue that this appalling, ghastly event is producing more attention than ever before on horrible labor conditions inside the factories that produce clothing for major global brands like Wal-Mart and GAP. Unfortunately both Walmart and Gap continue to refuse to sign on to safety agreements. Wal-Mart and GAP have also refused to contribute to a compensation fund for factory fire victims.
The activists also connected the harm caused by Wal-Mart abroad to the reality that faces Wal-Mart workers here in the US. Wal-Mart’s poverty wages and poor working conditions throughout its stores and supply chain, result in workers needing to access public welfare benefits to survive. And recent efforts of Wal-Mart workers to organize have been met with retaliation. Wal-Mart workers and their supporters are calling on the company to end retaliation against employees and to publicly commit to providing full-time workers with a minimum salary of $25,000 a year.
Labor Express Radio is Chicago's only English language labor news and current affairs radio program. News for working people, by working people. Labor Express Radio airs every Monday morning at 10:00 AM on Chicago's Sound Alliance, WLUW, 88.7 FM. For more information, see our website at: www.laborexpress.org or our Facebook page... facebook.laborexpress.org