Over the years, I've consistently referred to Wal-Mart as The Beast of Bentonville because of its conduct at every level. Beastly. And, now, it's topping even the despicable low standards it set to date. To the families of more than 1,200 people killed, and many more injured, who are seeking a bit of compensation money, the Beast of Bentonville is raising its corporate middle finger and saying "get fucked".
One year after the Tazreen factory fire in Bangladesh, many retailers that sold garments produced there or inside the Rana Plaza building that collapsed last spring are refusing to join an effort to compensate the families of the more than 1,200 workers who died in those disasters..
The International Labor Organization is working with Bangladeshi officials, labor groups and several retailers to create ambitious compensation funds to assist not just the families of the dead, but also more than 1,800 workers who were injured, some of them still hospitalized.
A handful of retailers — led by Primark, an Anglo-Irish company, and C&A, a Dutch-German company — are deeply involved in getting long-term compensation funds off the ground, one for Rana Plaza’s victims and one for the victims of the Tazreen fire, which killed 112 workers last Nov. 24
Though corporations should not be praised, in my opinion, for paying out money to people whose deaths they were complicit in, the dodging of responsibility is not corporate wide:
Paul Lister, Primark’s general counsel, said that from the day Rana Plaza collapsed, his company recognized its responsibility. Primark, which says it has already spent more than $3.2 million for aid to the victims, first provided several weeks’ emergency food assistance to 1,300 families, then short-term financial aid and now it is working to develop a compensation fund to help victims for years, even decades.Not Wal-Mart, even though it had a huge portion of the work:
“We knew we were having clothes made in Rana Plaza — we announced that on the first day,” Mr. Lister said about the April 24 building collapse, which killed 1,129 workers. “When you know where your clothes are made, then you take responsibility for the results of where your clothes are being made. We have said very clearly that we would work to support the workers — and the families of the workers — in our supply chain.”
Even as labor advocates single out Primark for praise, they single out Walmart for criticism — partly because production documents recovered after the Tazreen fire indicate that two months before that fire erupted, 55 percent of the factory’s production was being made for Walmart contractors. Walmart has repeatedly been asked to contribute to the anticipated $6 million compensation program for Tazreen survivors and families.
“Walmart is the one company that is showing an astonishing lack of responsibility, considering that so much of their product was being made at the Tazreen factory,” said Samantha Maher, a campaign coordinator for the British arm of the Clean Clothes Campaign, a European anti-sweatshop group.
No one should really be shocked.
This gang at Bentonville is just the bottom of the pond.
It's a company that practices bribery.
It would not sign on to this safety code in Bangladesh
And, as it relates to this story, way back in 2005, I wrote about how Alice Walton was buying a painting for $35 million while people who made her rich were living without healthcare.
The dead in Bangladesh simply lined Alice and her siblings with millions more -- and they just don't give a fuck about the carnage in Rana or far away places as long as the profits flow.