Walmart stores are greeting long, revved up lines of people this morning looking to snag a Black Friday deal. The shopping day in the States is a much darker one in Bangladesh, where survivors and families are marking the second anniversary of a factory fire that killed and injured hundreds. That factory, Tazreen, manufactured Walmart’s Faded Glory clothing line.
Walmart didn’t take any responsibility or publicly acknowledge the fire that left 112 dead when it happened on November 24, 2012. It was activists who exposed that Tazreen had been making Faded Glory clothes.
Walmart is more or less ignoring the devastation that lives on in Bangladesh, focusing today on filling their box stores with shoppers shelling out Black Friday cash.
There are reports of fire survivors who were left severely injured and unable to work. Some have been abandoned by their families. Almost all of them are not sure where they’ll get the means to buy their next meal.
Walmart is just one of the many corporations who were manufacturing things at Tazreen. Two years later, none have taken any responsibility for the incident. The brands who are still keeping quiet, avoiding paying any reparations include Delta Apparel, Dickies, Disney, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, El Corte Ingles, Sean John Apparel, Kik, Piazza Italia, and Sears.
Only the government and local organizations have offered the survivors a cent.
More recently the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1100 workers. The incident sparked an international outcry and families of the dead are receiving reparations. The thing is, they’re separate from Tazreen.
Walmart has been a master of PR, launching a safe workers initiative in Bangladesh. The crazy thing? Despite this effort, they have yet to claim any tie or responsibility to Tazreen. Before the Tazareen fires, Walmart had refused to contribute to the estimated cost of making the factory safer.
Bangladesh is notorious for having some of the worst clothing factory working conditions in the world. Experts have said change there will only come with consumer pressure on brands.
Wherever you live, whether you shop today or not, maybe take a moment this Black Friday to explore where your clothes come from. Being conscious of where they’re made is one thing you can do to stand with the survivors of Tazreen.