Posts Tagged ‘Wholesale and Department Store Union”’

Preserving Human Dignity of Workers in Bangladesh and Beyond

Monday, January 6th, 2014

David Suter/New York Times

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan and Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, responded to The New York Times update on the tragic aftermath of world’s worst garment industry disaster in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 workers and maimed and impoverished countless more.

Check out their letter below.

Join us in ensuring “that the dignity of working people doesn’t end up on the clearance rack.”

“We recently traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to meet with survivors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse and their families,” Msgr. Sullivan and Mr. Applebaum wrote in their recently published New York Times Letter to the Editor.

“Your article echoes what they told us. They emphasized the need for greater financial compensation for their suffering. And they warned that unsafe conditions in garment factories could lead to more tragedies.

Americans regularly buy apparel made in Bangladesh. Responsible shopping here can create solidarity with workers there. Consumers can support retailers and brands that have joined the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to improve Bangladesh’s garment factories.

Workers who make the clothes Americans buy and wear cannot just be viewed as costs to control. That race to the bottom could only result in more lost lives.

All of us must help minimize the human casualties of our global economy and ensure that the dignity of working people doesn’t end up on the clearance rack.”

Msgr. Sullivan’s Trip to Bangladesh Continues to Resonate as We Approach Christmas

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Tomas Munita for The New York Times

“Adequate compensation for the disabilities and loss of life caused by the disasters along with safe building and working conditions were the major themes I heard from the garment factory workers in Bangladesh immediately after Thanksgiving.”

 Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

In a front-page story published just yesterday in The New York Times, reporter Jim Yardley documents how those living after the collapse are still struggling to make ends meet.   Even though the Bangladeshi government, local associations and overseas retailers have provided short-term compensation to survivors and loved ones, many still require financial support.

Last month, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was invited to visit garment factories in Dhaka, Bangladesh with a delegation of New Yorkers that included Tom DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller, and Stuart Appelbaum the head of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.)

The delegation met with surviving workers of the Rana Plaza factory collapse as well as family members of those who perished, labor leaders and retailers tied to the factory. More than 1,100 workers’ lives were lost nearly eight months ago.

“Our trip was intended to meet with the various sectors involved in the garment industry, the workers themselves, organizers, brand names and government officials to learn about what was going on,”  Monsignor Sullivan told Catholic New York.  RanaPlaza survivors and family members of the workers killed had a number of concerns regarding reforming building and work space conditions and receiving adequate compensation from the disaster.

Read more survivors’ stories featured in The New York Times.