I am Ali, an intern at Philadelphia JwJ, and I’ll be sending out blog posts over the course of this summer.
Currently, labor conditions and wages in Bangladeshi sweatshops are among the worst worldwide. The minimum wage is $43 USD a month, an amount insufficient for basic needs for workers and their families. However, a workers’ campaign for higher wages faced legal repercussions, including jail time, torture, and possibly the death penalty. Factory owners filed false charges against the leaders, leading to their imprisonment and torture.
Wal-Mart is the biggest purchaser of garments made in these sweatshops, and the United States is the biggest consumer worldwide. Wal-Mart profits greatly from the products made in these sweatshops, and the factory owners are often Wal-Mart subcontractors.
Wal-Mart needs to demand that the workers in these sweatshops have proper wages and benefits, and provide annual reports of workplace conditions. Unfortunately, Wal-Mart refuses to be transparent about international working conditions, ignoring demands for accountability from its very shareholders. Wal-Mart must admit to the injustices in Bangladeshi workplaces and hold itself accountable to its shareholders and the concerned public.
Currently, JwJ is working with UFCW on a campaign for fair working standards at Wal-Marts around the country, and for international accountability for workers’ rights.
Take action: Tell Walmart to stand up for workers’ rights!