(Updated from earlier Daily Kos Diary - Correction: 1,100 workers are confirmed dead. Rescue workers estimate the death toll to be closer to 1,300).
Walmart, the third largest public corporation in the world, and 13 other North American retailers have refused to sign an agreement with other European retail chains that will improve safety and working conditions for factory workers overseas. Last month, over a thousand factory workers died (1,100 confirmed dead - estimated 1,300), after a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed. Most were crushed beneath the tons of Rana Factory’s crashing concrete.
The agreement Walmart and others were asked to sign requires retailers pay $500,000 per year towards safety improvements over a five year period. "The Walmart heirs have that much lost in their sofa cushions each year," says Daily Kos member, The Grouch. Other North American retailers who have refused to sign include: The Foot Locker, Macy's, Sears, JcPenny's, North Place, The Gap, Kohl's, Nordstrom, Carters/Osh Kosh, North Place, Cato, The Children's Place, American Eagle and Target.
This is not the first time Walmart has refused to improve the well being of workers in factories. In 2011, Walmart rejected a proposal made by a group of Bangladeshi and international unions proposing safer garment factories.
At that time, Walmart’s representative said it was “not financially feasible" ...to make such investments.”(Not financially feasible?)
November 24, 2012 a fire in a Bangladesh clothing factory resulted in the death of 112 workers. There were no fire escapes or exists in the eight-story building, and many victims jumped to their deaths. After the fire, Walmart said it could not confirm that it had ever sourced apparel from the factory. Photos taken by Bangladeshi labor activists showed Walmart-branded clothing in the factory.
Wikipedia lists massive amounts of offenses on its Criticism Of Walmart page (highly recommended to read), and in the Employee and Labor Relations paragraph on Walmart’s main Wikepedia page.
Some of the international companies that have signed the safety pac include: Benetton, H&M, Zara, Next, and PVH (Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein). The deadline for signing the pac has passed.