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October 23, 2013

Congressional Leaders Join Calls for Walmart to Stop Draining Public Resources and Improve Working Conditions, Support Economy

Reps. George Miller, Schakowsky, Napolitano and Grayson Challenge Walmart to End Reliance on Taxpayers to Support Workforce, Estimated to be $900K per Walmart Store

 

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, DC – Today, addressing previously unreported comments from Walmart CEO Bill Simon, which demonstrated that as many as 825,000 Walmart workers make less than $25,000 a year, members of Congress and Walmart workers called on the mega-retailer to improve working conditions and end the company’s reliance on taxpayer dollars to support its workforce.

“I support OUR Walmart workers who are simply asking Walmart, a corporation with nearly $17 billion in profits, to pay livable wages,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). “These workers deserve safe workplaces and the right to speak out for their workplace rights without risking retaliation or being fired. It’s time that Walmart listen to their workers who are here to demand what all Americans want: fair pay, fair rules and fair treatment.”

Walmart workers and supporters have been calling for Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, to improve working conditions, stop retaliation against those who speak out, and increase hours to ensure workers earn a minimum of $25,000 a year for full-time work.  In doing so, it would allow workers the ability to cover the basics and help contribute to the economy.

The members of Congress were joined by three of the 825,000 Walmart workers earning less than $25,000 a year.

“I work hard, and I want to be able to support my family and earn enough so I don’t have to rely on public assistance to survive,” said Anthony Goytia, a Walmart worker from California. Goytia, who works full-time, has worked at Walmart for one year and makes less than $16,000 a year.  As a result, he relies on SNAP and Medical to keep the family afloat.

In a rare release of information about the company’s wages and benefits, Walmart US CEO Bill Simon discussed details about workers’ annual income in a recent presentation at Goldman Sachs annual retail conference.  In the presentation, Simon notes that 475,000 associates earn more than $25,000 a year.  With 1.3 million associates in the country, this means that somewhere around 825,000 associates earn less than that amount.

Currently, Walmart is making $17 billion in profits annually and the company’s controlling family, the Waltons, have a net worth of more than $144.7 billion.  Meanwhile, workers are making low wages and not getting enough hours, forcing many to rely on public programs to support their families even though they work for the country’s largest private employer.

Earlier this year, a Congressional report calculated that Walmart workers are forced to rely on $900,000 in taxpayer funded supports, including food stamps and healthcare, at just one of the company’s 4,000 stores.  This number is expected to increase as more workers apply for healthcare through Medicaid because they are ineligible for Walmart healthcare plans.

“Wal-Mart is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, yet they pay such low wages that many of its workers are unable to provide for their families. This is wrong. When workers win, their families win, and we all win. If big corporations like Wal-Mart paid their workers higher wages, families could live better. And federal taxpayers would not have to foot the bill to help them keep their heads above water,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.).

At the forum, Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst from Demos, outlined the economic impact of Walmart increasing annual salaries to $25,000 a year from her report,  Retail’s Hidden Potential: How Raising Wages Would Benefit Workers, the Industry and the Overall Economy. The report shows a wage floor equivalent of $25,000 per year for a full-time, year-round employee for retailers with more than 1000 employees would lift 1.5 million retail workers and their families out of poverty or near poverty, add to economic growth, increase retail sales and create more than 100,000 new jobs.

“Putting money in the pockets of Walmart workers is good for the store, good for the economy and good for families,” said Ruetschlin.  “We know that when low-wage workers have money to spend, they do.  In the case of Walmart workers, that means more spending at the stores they work, more profits for Walmart.  It also means more jobs could be created and fewer workers would be forced to rely on public assistance.”

 

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For photos and more information about the 825,000 Walmart workers trying to get by on less than $25,000 a year, visit changewalmart.org.

 

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

 

October 15, 2013

Dispensary Workers Sign First Contract

Local 770 dispensary workers at two medical cannabis dispensaries are celebrating the ratification of their first union contractL 770 Dispensary Victory 10 07 13. Workers at Greenhouse Herbal Center and LA Wonderland-Hot Zone in Los Angeles have negotiated contracts that will raise standards at their dispensaries while ensuring that the dispensaries adhere to labor laws and industry standards.

Workers view this contract as a victory not only for themselves, but also for their patients and for the future of their industry.

Beyond their workplace organizing efforts, these workers joined with Local 770 to help pass a city-wide voter initiative, Proposition D, that regulates medical cannabis dispensaries. Signing their first collective bargaining agreement is the next step in bringing dignity and order to a still volatile industry and ensuring the enforcement of basic labor laws and industry standards.

Workers also secured regular raises, paid time off and a grievance procedure. The contract language improves regulatory standards and defines respect in the workplace.

“My favorite part of the contract is having regular raises,” said Ksenia, a worker at LA Wonderland-Hot Zone. “It makes me feel more serious and secure about this job.”

The UFCW represents thousands of medical cannabis workers in six states and the District of Columbia. UFCW members in the cannabis industry work predominantly in dispensaries, coffee shops, bakeries, patient identification centers, hydroponics stores, and growing and training facilities.

September 12, 2013

Statement from Respect DC on Mayor Vincent Gray’s Veto of Large Retailer Accountability Act

UFCWnewsWashington, DC — Today, members of Respect DC, a coalition of grassroots-based organizations, pastors, workers, and community members concerned about the quality of life in the nation’s capital, released the following statement in response to Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA).

Gray’s veto comes just two days after the Fair Political Practices Commission in California announced that it would be investigating whether Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had a conflict of interest in a vote on a big box bill due to charitable donations he solicited from Walmart and the Walton Foundation.

Kimberly Mitchell, a Macy’s employee and lifelong Ward 7 resident:

“I am incredibly upset, disappointed, and angry that Mayor Gray has decided to stand with Walmart and other large corporations instead of with the residents of this city. Mayor Gray has made is clear who he stands with and it’s not with me, my neighbors or the residents of DC. We are now counting on the City Council to do the right thing, stand up with DC residents, and override this veto.”

“Mayor Gray had the opportunity to stand up for the residents of this city, but instead he allowed large, out of town companies, like Walmart, to threaten him and ultimately dictate the policies of our city. By vetoing this bill he has further eroded the ability of DC residents and workers to earn enough money to take care of themselves and their families while remaining in the city.”

Reverend Graylan Hagler, of Plymouth United Congregational Church of Christ and Faith Strategies:

“Unfortunately, the Mayor’s decision is hardly surprising because this is exactly what Walmart’s lobbyists said would happen.  The Mayor’s office and Walmart have been working together to defeat this bill from the start.”

“If we cannot demand higher wages and good jobs from the nation’s and world’s largest corporations DC will not be able to remain a diverse and vibrant city. We strongly urge the city council to override this misguided veto.”

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September 6, 2013

100 Arrested in Eleven Cities Protesting Walmart’s Illegal Retaliation, Low Wages

Group Announces Massive 2013 Black Friday Strikes

WASHINGTON – September 6 – One hundred Walmart workers and community members were arrested in 11 cities Thursday calling on the employer to reinstate illegally fired and disciplined workers, publicly commit to improve jobs and end the company’s aggressive violations of workers’ rights. Thousands of supporters, including the President of the National Organization for Women, Terry O’Neill, joined the group in 15 cities in the largest mobilization since Black Friday in 2012. In response to Walmart’s inaction, the group announced widespread, massive strikes and protests for Black Friday in 2013. The group made headlines last year on Black Friday with the largest strike in the company’s history.

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Workers and community members protested in the following cities on Thursday:

·         Baton Rouge, LA

·         Boston, MA

·         Chicago, IL

·         Cincinnati, OH

·         Dallas, TX

·         Denver, CO

·         Los Angeles, CA

·         Miami, FL

·         Minneapolis, MN

·         New York, NY

·         Orlando, FL

·         Sacramento, CA

·         San Francisco, CA

·         Seattle, WA

·         Washington, DC

The arrests and protests come in the heat of national calls for better wages in low-paying jobs. “Enough is enough,” said Venanzi Luna, a worker who was arrested in Los Angeles, where hundreds of protestors marched in downtown Los Angeles. “Walmart continues to put us in an impossible position, and people are finally standing up for what’s right. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make sure we’re heard. We’ll be out in even greater force on Black Friday.”

Similar protests across the country drew hundreds of workers and community supporters, including in the Washington, DC area where protesters shut down one of the busiest streets in Prince George’s County.

“We’ve had enough of Walmart’s inaction,” said Tonya Cauley, a Walmart worker who was arrested Thursday in Hyattsville, Md. “As the country’s largest employer, Walmart can and should do better. We aren’t calling for much—a minimum full-time yearly wage of $25,000 and assure us that we can stand up for what’s right without being attacked. I’m energized by the support I saw today and will be out stronger than ever on Black Friday.”

Economists, labor market expertsand others have been increasingly voicing concern about the growing income inequality and its impact on the economy. Walmart, the largest company on the Fortune 500 list, made $16 billion in profit last year and the majority of owners of the company, the Waltons, have the combined wealth of nearly half of American families. Meanwhile, many Walmart workers continue to earn on average poverty wages of $8.81 an hour, despite misleading claims from Walmart that wages are higher. A Congressional report released earlier this year calculates the Walmart workforce reliance on public assistanceincluding food stamps, healthcare and other needs is estimated to utilize $900,000 per year of taxpayer funds at just one of the company’s 4,000 stores.

“As the nation’s largest employer, Walmart and the Walton family should be raising standards, not lowering them. To whom much is given, much is expected,” said Kim Bobo, Executive Director of Interfaith Worker Justice. “Walmart should share its prosperity with workers and publicly commit to paying workers $25,000 a year for full time work, as the courageous Our Walmart workers are demanding.  If Walmart workers earned living wages the entire economy would benefit.”

A report from the national public policy center Demos shows that better jobs at Walmart and other large retailers would even help the store’s bottom line, as well as have an impact on individual families and the larger economy. A wage floor equivalent of $25,000 per year for a full-time, year-round employee for retailers with more than 1000 employees would lift 1.5 million retail workers and their families out of poverty or near poverty, add to economic growth, increase retail sales and create more than 100,000 new jobs.

Rather than providing good jobs that American workers need and deserve, Walmart is trying to silence workers who are standing up with their co-workers to live better and spending its time and money trying to deny workers a decent day’s pay.  But ongoing labor mismanagement concerns, including Walmart’s inaction on ending illegal retaliation, improving jobs at stores and putting meaningful protections in place at its suppliers, have contributed to record-levels of votes against Walmart Board of Directors and even shareholder divestment this year.

Since June, Walmart has illegally disciplined nearly 80 workers, including firing 20 worker-leaders. More than 100 Unfair Labor Practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Walmart. Workers in California recently announced that after an investigation, the NLRB regional office found that Walmart committed 11 violations of national labor law.

Venanzi Luna and Tonya Cauley are members of the growing national organization OUR Walmart. OUR Walmart, or Organization United for Respect at Walmart, formed just two years ago, when 100 Walmart associates came together to voice their concerns about the companyretaliating against those who speak out for better working conditions. With thousands of members across the country, the group organized the first strikes in company history last year and helped bring more than 30,000 supporters to protest at stores on Black Friday in 2012.

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Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, community organizations, women’s advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

August 23, 2013

Don Cash, UFCW’s Minority Coalition President, on the March on Washington

Don CashDon Cash, president of the UFCW’s Minority Coalition a supporter of the Retail Justice Alliance, reflects on his experience at the 1963 March on Washington:

(The following is from religionnews.com)

Don Cash had graduated from high school in June 1963 and decided on the spur of the moment to join the March on Washington when he finished his work shift at a nearby warehouse. The Baptist layman is the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s Minority Coalition and a board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the NAACP. He lives in Columbia, Md.
What is your most lasting memory of your participating in the march?

I was just overwhelmed. I saw old women — at the time they appeared to me to be old; they had to be in their 40s and 50s — sitting on the curb wiping their faces, with straw hats. It was very, very hot.

It was just people everywhere. I had never seen that many folks where it was mixed, where it was black and white people, a very diverse crowd. Nobody was laughing dancing or joking. You could tell that it was very, very serious.

I had never experienced all of these people marching and walking in unison and orderly, quietly, people hugging. I saw no incident. None.

Dr. King spoke of his dream for America. Where do you think we are as a society in fulfilling that dream?

I think we got a long ways to go but I do think that there’s been a lot of changes. I don’t think you’ll ever see what Martin Luther King dreamed in reality, in total. I think we’ll always have to strive for perfection.

The dream that he had is a perfect world and I think that in order to be perfect, you have to continue to work at it.

 

For additional information about various events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, please visit http://www.thekingcenter.org/

August 23, 2013

The March on Washington: 50 years Later, the Fight for Social and Economic Equality Continues

LewisDr-KingThis weekend, members and supporters of the Retail Justice Alliance will be joining our brothers and sisters from across the country to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  The 1963 March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech, was organized largely by civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph and other black labor leaders to promote freedom, economic equality and jobs, and paved the way for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In spite of the advances we have made over the last 50 years—including the election of our first African American president—the fight for social and economic justice continues.  In the retail sector alone, too many workers are struggling to survive in low-wage jobs with little to no benefits and our economy’s increasing reliance on low-wage, part-time work has widened the gap between the rich and poor. The assault on workers’ rights continues to persist, and in many cases, retail workers who want to stick together to bargain for better wages and benefits are threatened, intimidated and sometimes fired by their employers.

The need to mobilize for freedom, jobs and equality has never been stronger, and the Retail Justice Alliance is honored to carry on the work of the 1963 activists by fighting for social and economic justice in the retail industry and in our communities.

August 18, 2013

UFCW Union Made Facebook Contest Winners Announced

One of the winning photos from the UFCW Made Facebook Contest - photo by George Wilson.

One of the winning photos from the UFCW Made Facebook Contest – photo by George Wilson.

Earlier this year, UFCW launched a photo contest to highlight UFCW made products and members at work. We asked members and staff to post pictures on our Facebook app of themselves or their co-workers or members–on the job or with the products we make.

Congratulations to the winners of our contest! We will be contacting our winners about their prizes shortly. We’ll also post the winning pictures soon.

These members and staff got the most votes for their terrific photos, and have won the following in order of most votes received:

First Place: Paula, Local 770 Santa Barbara, winning a $500 grocery gift card

Second Place: Dawne, Local 880, winning a $250 grocery gift card

Third Place: Cole Edwards, Local 1189, winning a $250 grocery gift card

Fourth Place:  Mary Brown, Local 1428, winning a UFCW Bonded Fleece Jacket

Fifth Place:  Diane Johnson, Local 770, winning a UFCW T-shirt

Sixth Place: George Wilson, Local 23, winning a UFCW travel mug

Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to all who posted, voted, shared, and sent in pictures–we’ll be posting many of your pictures on Facebook and on our website in the weeks and months to come!

August 7, 2013

OUR Walmart Statement on OSHA Settlement with Walmart

UFCWnewsWashington, DC– Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has reached a settlement with Walmart on a large number of repeated and serious worker safety violations including a lack of proper training on handling of hazardous chemicals and dangerous conditions related to poorly maintained equipment. In response, OUR Walmart members issued the following statement:

“The national settlement reached today between OSHA and Walmart resolves the highest penalties any individual Walmart store has ever faced as a result of health and safety violations – over $350,000. The problems detailed in the settlement are issues we have been raising for years, but it’s clear that the company has consistently failed to listen to our concerns, let alone address them.

“This is just the latest indication of Walmart’s malfeasance throughout the supply chain, and these serious problems represent a major danger to workers, the environment, and the company’s future. As workers we routinely face inadequate fire safety measures, including blocked fire exits, and do not receive proper training on how to safely handle hazardous chemicals. Poorly maintained equipment, including balers and compactors, represent another hazard, made worse because these machines often lack appropriate mechanisms to ensure worker safety.

“We like our jobs and want what’s best for the company. We hope that today’s settlement sends a message to Walmart that cutting corners on safety comes at great costs, not just to employees, but also to the company.  Moreover, Walmart needs to go beyond the settlement, start listening to its workers, and investigate its stores throughout the country to see if these violations are widespread and where they find violations, fix them. These issues are about the very basic right employees have to work in safe environments.”

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

 

STATEMENT FROM STACY MITCHELL ON OSHA SETTLEMENT WITH WALMART

In response to today’s settlement, Institute for Local Self Reliance senior researcher Stacy Mitchell issued the following statement:

“Walmart’s negligence in managing hazardous chemicals is yet another illustration of its disregard for the environment and the health of workers and communities. While Walmart publicizes its solar installations, behind the scenes, the company is continuing to cut corners and harm the environment throughout its operations and supply chain.”

 

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July 24, 2013

Walmart Workers And Community Supporters Increase Calls On Board Members to Create Better Jobs

As warehouse workers strike, Walmart Board of Directors faces wave of protests online, at work, and at home in reaction to the increased suppression of workers

UFCWnewsIn response to Walmart’s increased attempts to silence employees who spoke out at the company’s June shareholder meeting about retaliation against those who call for better jobs, this week Walmart associates and their supporters are fighting back with an unprecedented wave of actions on the ground and online. At the same time, warehouse workers in California have gone on strike to protest the extreme intimidation, spying, and retaliation they have experienced since they exposed dangerous and unsafe working conditions at a Walmart-contracted warehouse in Riverside County.

Thousands of people nationwide are taking the calls for an immediate end to the company’s suppression of workers’ basic freedom to speak out for better jobs directly to Walmart Board members online, at their homes, and at their offices.

With their calls for the creation of better jobs at Walmart resonating widely, workers assert that the company feels threatened and has doubled down on its suppression of associates. In the past few weeks alone, Walmart has illegally fired 19 workers and disciplined 40 more for taking part in the legally protected strike. The striking workers were calling on the Board for an end to Walmart’s retaliation against and attempts to silence those who speak out about issues such as the company’s labor mismanagement under CEO Mike Duke’s leadership, which has led to under-staffing and unsafe conditions in stores, warehouses, and at suppliers.

“We fear that every day we go to work could be our last,” said Heidi Baizabal, who has worked at a warehouse in California for five years. “We are followed, watched on camera, forced into individual meetings, and harassed daily. We need Walmart to see what’s happening inside its contracted warehouse. We move Walmart suitcases and we want safe, good jobs.”

“In this country, we believe that when we work hard, we should have the opportunity to get ahead.  We believe that everyone has the fundamental right to join together with coworkers to improve their job and to speak out to improve their life,” said Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of American Rights at Work/Jobs with Justice. “Our country’s largest employer should be promoting these values by creating good, steady jobs and careers. Instead, Walmart is creating a reality for American workers that is built on part-time work, few benefits and illegal retaliation for those who speak out for something better.”

This isn’t the first time Walmart has tried to bully workers. According to a white paper recently released by American Rights at Work, Walmart associates who have come together to address concerns about working conditions have increasingly faced harassment, threats, changes to their jobs, and retaliatory discipline—including termination—for speaking out.

Standing up with workers like Barbara Collins, a mother of two who was fired after protesting Walmart’s illegal treatment of workers who speak out about not getting enough hours to support their families, workers picked up the pace this week with protests occurring in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas, as well as other states, after previous protests calling on Marissa Mayer at Yahoo meetings last week. Workers plan to continue taking their message directly to Walmart Board of Directors members at their offices, homes, and public events in the coming days and weeks. Demonstrations are also taking place at stores across the country.

“I have been working hard at Walmart to support my family amidst changes to my hours and schedules, increases in the cost of healthcare, and not enough people to keep the shelves stocked,” said Barbara Collins. “We have to have a conversation about the problems with under-staffing and the jobs at Walmart, and we will not stop speaking out even as Walmart illegally threatens and even fires us. Together, we’re going to win back our jobs and make changes at this company.”

Nationally, a growing number of community and elected leaders have joined workers’ call on Walmart to immediately reinstate workers who have faced firings and discipline for striking to protest Walmart’s attempts to silence and retaliate against workers who speak out. Meanwhile, a petition directed at the company and Board members has already received more than 152,000 signatures.

Walmart keeps its associates without enough hours, without healthcare, and struggling to get by on poverty wages. As a result many employees can’t even support their families without relying on government support. As a result, a recent report found that taxpayers pay nearly $1 million to subsidize Walmart’s race-to-the-bottom business model at a single store.

In early June, Walmart workers went on strike nationwide and joined the “Ride for Respect,” a week-long, nationwide caravan to Walmart’s shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, to call for an end to retaliation against workers and voice the direct impact that Walmart is having on their lives and the economy. The company has responded by cracking down on associates’ right to speak out – even firing some workers.

 

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UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

July 10, 2013

Joint Statement by Richard L. Trumka (AFL-CIO) and Joe Hansen (ChangetoWin) on the Walmart and GAP Bangladesh Safety Alliance: Weak and Worthless

UFCWnewsThe so-called Global Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, announced today by Walmart, Gap and the Bipartisan Policy Center, was developed without consultation with workers or their representatives and is yet another “voluntary” scheme with no meaningful enforcement mechanisms. Companies that sign onto the alliance but fail to meet a commitment face no adverse consequences beyond expulsion from the scheme. Instead, workers will continue to pay.

In stark contrast, more than 75 corporations from 15 countries, including the United States, have signed the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety negotiated with Bangladeshi and international unions. The Accord has rules to make real improvements in the safety of garment workers.  Workers, unions and worker rights organizations negotiated this agreement with employers and integrated worker safety efforts by governments and the International Labor Organization (ILO).  The AFL-CIO and Change to Win,  along with global unions IndustriAll and UNI and numerous organizations representing Bangladeshi workers, also endorse it. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win reject the Walmart/GAP plan as a way to avoid accountability, limit costs and silence workers and their representatives.

Rather than sign the binding Accord, Walmart and Gap are pushing a weak and worthless plan that avoids enforceable commitments. The Bipartisan Policy Center, which has clear financial and political connections to Walmart, is releasing the document, which is the product of a closed process and has been signed only by the same corporations that produced it.

The Accord departs from the broken system of voluntary corporate responsibility in supply chains that has so often failed to protect workers. It makes a clear commitment to worker safety and rights, and to transparency. It expresses values that most countries uphold.

The Accord has been endorsed by the United Nations, the ILO, the government of Bangladesh, both the parliament and commission of the European Union, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Members and leaders in both houses of the U.S. Congress have also endorsed the Accord.

In the last eight years, more than 1,800 Bangladeshi garment workers have been killed in preventable factory fires and building collapses while producing mostly for European and U.S. markets.  This tragic loss of life requires more than a wink and a nod from two of the richest corporations in the world. It means taking responsibility for the safety of workers by entering into a legitimate, binding process that will save lives.  Seventy-five brands have taken that important step.  It is time for Walmart and GAP to join them, rather than trying to undermine those efforts and maintain a system that has a long and bloody record of failure.

Statement online here: http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Joint-Statement-by-Richard-L.-Trumka-AFL-CIO-and-Joe-Hansen-ChangetoWin-on-the-Walmart-and-GAP-Bangladesh-Safety-Alliance-Weak-and-Worthless

For the latest udates, follow @AFLCIO and @RichardTrumka on Twitter.

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