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Fatal building collapse in Bangladesh.
Exchange stores on U.S. military bases are selling clothing made in unsafe factories in Bangladesh—and the apparel industry is fighting to keep it that way:
A handful of Democrats -- Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in the Senate, and Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) in the House -- introduced an amendment to the military spending bill that would have required the exchanges to give preferential treatment to suppliers that sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement hatched last year between clothing brands, labor groups and non-governmental organizations.

But major retailers who'd launched a separate, industry-led initiative, called the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, objected to the Democrats' amendment, saying it would punish the alliance's U.S. members who'd declined to join the accord. While the alliance has pledged more than $40 million in funding toward factory upgrades, its participants are not bound by the same legal commitments as those in the accord, and labor groups have criticized its lack of union involvement.

Although the Democrats' measure died in the Senate, [Sen. Dick] Durbin did manage to insert an amendment in the recently passed appropriations bill that requires the Defense Secretary to report to Congress whether the exchanges are sourcing clothes from factories that don't comply with the accord. In a hearing this week, Durbin praised the Marine Corps for adopting a rule that manufacturers who produce clothing with Marine logos must abide by the accord's rules. (Such clothes were found in the rubble of the Tazreen fire, prompting the new policy.) Durbin said he wants to see all government agencies adopt similar standards.

"Let's try to avoid having the American government implicated in horrible deaths of exploited workers" doesn't exactly seem like some sort of extreme standard, don't you think?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:04 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  wait aren't we supposed to "Buy American" (5+ / 0-)
    Although the Democrats' measure died in the Senate, [Sen. Dick] Durbin did manage to insert an amendment in the recently passed appropriations bill that requires the Defense Secretary to report to Congress whether the exchanges are sourcing clothes from factories that don't comply with the accord. In a hearing this week, Durbin praised the Marine Corps for adopting a rule that manufacturers who produce clothing with Marine logos must abide by the accord's rules. (Such clothes were found in the rubble of the Tazreen fire, prompting the new policy.) Durbin said he wants to see all government agencies adopt similar standards.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:09:24 PM PST

    •  Yeah, what about that? And never mind the PXs, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lina

      what about uniforms, boots, underwear...is it too much to ask where Good Conduct medals come from?

      "It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith. Faith is something that you believe that nobody in his right mind would believe." - Archie Bunker

      by Banach MacAmbrais on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:37:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Fleece Americans" is more consistent... (0+ / 0-)

      ...with the objectives of the so-called Alliance for Bangladesh Bait and Switch...er, I meant Worker Safety. :-p

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 01:53:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Million dollar question (0+ / 0-)

      with a ten cent answer Greed! The rich can pay next to nothing in wages in Asia and a whole lot of other places.

      Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

      by Out There on Sun Feb 16, 2014 at 10:24:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course the US gov should abide (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Banach MacAmbrais

    by the Accord and repatriate this work. And a "Made in the US" label should not mean made in a US prison.
    So much more likely to wish for a pony,it seems.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 01:17:17 PM PST

  •  I find it interesting that it took a major tragedy (0+ / 0-)

    for Bangladeshi factories to start being deemed "unsafe".

    So now what? We move our demand to other (in reality, equally unsafe) countries until they have a tragedy of their own?

    And in the meanwhile, anyone in Bangladesh who depended on an income from these suddenly-deemed-unsafe factories can go pound sand. Maybe they can participate in the soft boiling civil war.

  •  Three cheers for this initiative, which ensures... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that our military not be complicit in anything involving killing people in the Third World.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 02:52:33 PM PST

  •  Wait.. Whaaaat? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, geez53, thanatokephaloides

    Democrats.. the ones who push anti-worker "Free Trade" deals that allow Corporations and the Predator Class to exploit workers in foreign countries.. are making noise about the working conditions in Bangladesh?

    What's next?  Cheney complaining the U.S. is too militaristic in its Foreign Policy?

    Waking Up Yet?

    Or shall we clap at this Empty Rhetoric You Can Starve On, even as the Democrats push for more Free Trade the Predator Class Can Bank On?

    The Democratic Leadership is concerned about Bangladesh.  Cheney & his merry band of NeoCons are concerned about Peace in the Middle East and avoiding war.  

    Look at the actions.  Look at the policies being advanced.  

    Rhetoric means nothing.  It is Corporate marketing BS. meant to make you 'buy' a product.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:11:27 PM PST

  •  Meanwhile.. back in Reality-Land, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, geez53, thanatokephaloides

    Obama & the Democratic Power Brokers continue to push the Trans Pacific Partnership.

    Rhetoric does not equal Reality.  Wake Up.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 06:12:17 PM PST

  •  Made In USA (5+ / 0-)

    All Military clothes should be made in The USA.

    All these clothing companies make bigger profits because they are overseas and that is what thing that sucks about this damn everything for profit world.

  •  Vulture Capitalism is disgusting enough ...... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    But Military procurement???

    Killing the nation's jobs and our way of life so we can clothe the young who we put in harm's way to protect our way of life.

    Greed is an ironic taskmaster, and "globalization" is just it's slick PR, but what's it going to take to show this to the sheeple?

    When are they going to have enough of Mittster's Creative Destruction?

    Slick Willy's NAFTA shafta?

    And now TPP .... yes, that will fix everything.

    21st Century America: The distracted, superficial perception of a virtual reality. Gettov Milawn

    by geez53 on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 07:32:16 PM PST

  •  Why aren't American soldiers' uniforms made in (0+ / 0-)

    This country by American workers who need the jobs?  It's not like the military is all about saving us money on anything else they use.  Halliburton robbed and probably still robs us.  Defense contractors gouge the government, so why not employ Americans working in factories right here, under observable conditions to dress our troops.

    •   (0+ / 0-)

      The story is about the civilian clothing being offered for sale in base Exchanges/PXs, not uniform items. To the best of my knowledge, the latter are still made in this country.
      D.E. Stamate
      USN      (ret)

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