Fwd: Your (time sensitive!) Signature Needed…

Begin forwarded message:

From: PICA <elleng@pica.ws>
Date: June 26, 2013 12:41:17 PM EDT
Subject: Your (time sensitive!) Signature Needed…
Reply-To: elleng@pica.ws


PICA LogoPower in Community Alliances
61 Main Street
Suite 15
Bangor, ME  04401

Hi PICA friends,
This very time sensitive alert comes to us from Bjorn Claeson at Sweat-Free Communities/ILRF.  The link should work, but if not, just paste it in. Many thanks.
Please consider signing this letter (attached, and pasted below) to Senators Mitchell and Snowe by 11 am on Thursday.
The letter will appear as a signature ad the following day in the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News. It asks the Senators to not align themselves with Walmart, Gap and other US retailers who want to avoid their responsibility to Bangladeshi garment workers who work in deadly conditions. PICA has supported a new legally binding worker safety agreement between apparel companies and Bangladeshi unions, called the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh. More than 50 retailers from 12 countries have signed, but Walmart and Gap are leading most North American retailers to a non-binding unenforceable safety program with no role for unions and they have enlisted Senators Mitchell and Snowe as “facilitators.”
The Walmart/Gap plan will likely be announced next week, which is why we have little time to get this ad out. If we get a strong showing we will help to undermine the credibility of the plan before it is announced.
You can sign the letter as an individual or organization by going to this link and make a modest donation to cover the cost: http://laborrights.org/msletter
If you would like to sign but cannot pay, please just send an email to bjorn@ilrf.org and let him know how you would like to be listed.


Please stay independent.  Help save workers’ lives.
Dear Senators Mitchell and Snowe:


In the last eight years, more than 1,800 garment workers have been killed in preventable factory fires and building collapses in Bangladesh.They have died because global apparel brands have demanded clothing to be manufactured at the lowest prices in the world, and because the government and industry have ignored safety standards to keep down costs.


Workers who survive deadly calamities have reported locked or blocked exits and the lack of legally required fire escapes. They have been told by managers to return to their workstations when trying to escape danger.Their efforts to organize for better conditions have been violently repressed by police, security forces, and hired thugs.


After 1,129 workers were killed in the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, more than 50 apparel brands and retailers from a dozen countries finally agreed to do something about workers’ safety.They signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally binding agreement between companies and Bangladeshi and international unions to make the factories safe.


The Accord requires companies to finance repairs and empowers workers to monitor and report on workplace hazards.Because the Accord is enforceable companies cannot simply walk away from dangerous workplaces as they have done in the past.They must fix the problems.Had it been in place in April this year, the workers at Rana Plaza could have exercised their right to refuse dangerous work when they saw cracks in the walls the day before the collapse.They probably would be alive today.


PVH Corporation, owner of the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands, and Abercrombie &Fitchare two prominent U.S. companies to sign the Accord.But Walmart, Gap, and many other U.S. retailers have refused to sign because they do not want an enforceable agreement with unions.They prefer to make only unilateral unenforceable commitments without accountability to workers.


These companies understand that they have little credibility after years of asking consumers to trust that their voluntary codes of conduct assured safe and decent working conditions.  So they have asked you, Senators Mitchell and Snowe, to lend your reputations of independence and fairness to another corporate-led, non-binding safety program that will hinder, not help, Bangladeshi workers.


The Bangladesh Safety Accord is an unprecedented opportunity to improve conditions for Bangladeshi workers. Please do not let Walmart and Gap use you and your reputations to continue business as usual.Tell them that a binding agreement with the unions in Bangladesh is the only way to save workers’ lives.


Thank you.







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This email was sent to judy@robbinsandrobbins.com by elleng@pica.ws |  

PICA | 61 Main Street | Suite 15 | Box 7 | Bangor | ME | 04401

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