As many of you may know, I’ve been tweeting the 14 American retailers (Wal-Mart, Target, Gap, Sears, KMart, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom, Foot Locker, Kohl’s, Macy’s, The North Face, American Eagle Outfitters, The Children’s Place, OshKosh B’Gosh) who have refused to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety – which has already been signed by several European manufacturers and retailers.
I’ve been pulling no punches – I have repeatedly tweeted this heart-wrenching picture with tweets like this:
Today I was contacted by Nordstrom and asked for my contact information. I replied with my email address, and received the following email:
Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 2:01 PM
Subject: Nordstrom response to Bangladesh inquiry
I understand and appreciate your frustration in the lack of information that’s been shared about the comprehensive plan and commitment we’ve made through the Safer Factories Initiative. The Accord has certainly had more attention from a PR standpoint but please be assured that this does not mean that the Safer Factory Initiative is not just as much a concrete step in the right direction.
As a part of the working group, we are also very eager to share more of the detailed plan behind it. We expect that more communication with details of the work to be done will be issued next week. But I want to clarify that we are certainly not participating for publicity – we are participating because we believe there is more that can be done and we support the direction that this initiative has taken.
As I previously mentioned, our commitment of both time and financial resources to the Initiative is focused first and foremost on educating and empowering the workers themselves, as well as partnering with government, unions, factory owners and independent monitoring firms. We’d be glad to share progress with you as time goes on. Also, I shared this link before but please do continue to check in for updates from the working group:https://www.wewear.org/brands-and-retailers-seek-transparency-and-continued-collaboration-with-bangladesh-government-in-“safer-factories-initiative”/.
Thank you again for your concern and questions. We do value the ongoing conversation.
“Educating and empowering the workers”…? For what? Not going to work in a factory that’s going to collapse on them? Really?
Laura – I appreciate that you have good intentions, but training the workers just isn’t going to do it. Again, you’ll pardon me, but that’s a whole lot of nothing.
My understanding is that this situation is relatively simple: unscrupulous factory owners are exploiting their workers for profit. Training the workers isn’t going to cut it. Forcing the factory/business owners to provide safe working conditions and decent wages *is* what’s going to cut it.
Please do keep me updated; as of now? I remain unconvinced.