112 People Died to Make Your Shorts

Firemen putting out the fire as workers watch.

Firemen putting out the fire as workers watch.

By: Maddie Borst

Last month, there was a fire in Bangladesh. But this was no ordinary house fire, this was a factory fire in which 112 people were killed because there were no emergency exit doors and the workers were trapped. But there is more.The Tazreen Fashions Ltd Factory, which was not up to safety code regulations, produced mass amounts of clothing for Wal-Mart, Sears, and Disney.

This fire seems to parallel to the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire in the United States on March 25, 1911. This factory did not take safety precautions and the workers were also trapped in the building. This fire killed 146 workers, only a few more than the factory in Bangladesh. The owner of the factory claims that he would have put in the emergency exits, but no one told him to do it. He takes blame, but no one ever told him there needed to be emergency exits, the result of this mistake cost 112 lives. This fire begs the world to think, where does our clothing really come from?

Among the many global retailers, many claimed they had stopped doing business with the Tazreen factory, but the accounting books of the stores say otherwise. Wal-Mart says that they no longer did business with the factory because of the high risk dangers of the factory, but there were still children’s shorts being produced in the factory that contain Wal-Mart’s Faded Glory label. Amongst the rubbage were Marine Core sweat suits, these orders were also in the accounting books of Tazreen; again the core claims that they did not do business with this factory and again the orders and accounting books say otherwise  According to ABC News, “Worker rights groups in the U.S. expressed outrage that an overseas factory with clearly identified safety problems would be selected to manufacture clothing for a licensee of the United States Marines.” These outraged Americans are making a large case for the federal government to place safe guards to make sure of decent working conditions when making government supply chains and licenses.

This fire has brought many retailers and factories around the world to begin to bump up safety regulations, but this even does not distract from the fact that retailers will do business with factories where there are high risk dangers, because they do not seem to know or care who the middlemen are when making products.Even though factories around the United States have high safety regulations due to the high-risk dangers of factories and accidents such as the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire, the factories around the world from where many of our everyday products are made do not have these regulations.

According to workers of the factory, when they fire alarm went off they were told to return to their sewing machines. The fire extinguishers were just for show and did not work. These are the conditions of many factories around the world, factories where so many of our daily products are made.  If the Triangle Shirt Factory fire woke America up to make safety regulations,what will it take for retailers to ensure the factories that make the products they sell to wake up? Where our everyday products coming from? What kind of conditions are people in that make them? Next time you go to Wal-Mart to buy your children’s shorts, just remember that the 112 people died in Bangledash to make those shorts.







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