Mar 26, 2012

Bangladeshi Worker Rights Activist Asks Walmart to Protect Her

ABC News's investigative unit has an impressive story up today about an inspiring woman and longtime friend to UFCW: Kalpona Akter, the Bangladeshi labor rights activist who is being persecuted by her government for trying to organize for better working conditions in Bangladeshi factories.

You might remember Kalpona from our story last year about the Walmart Worker Truth Tour, an event that brought together workers from every part of Walamrt's supply chain.

Kalpona and her coworkers have been jailed, beaten, and threatened with the worst, all for speaking out about the conditions in the factories that supply clothing to major American chains like Walmart. Now she's calling on those companies to speak out and pressure the Bangladeshi government to drop the criminal charges against the workers.

"The brands can really play a vital role when we are put in jail," Akter told ABC News. "They are the most powerful, and can put pressure onto the factory owners and the Bangladeshi government to tell them these charges should be dropped."

As ABC reports,
"Tommy Hilfiger -- whose famous label was traced to several of the factories -- acknowledged in an interview that the conditions are 'unacceptable' and 'tragic.' Hilfiger pledged to go to Bangladesh to demand better conditions, and the company that owns his brand, PVH Corp., responded to the ABC News investigation by committing between $1 million and $2 million to make significant improvements."
Check out this video of Kalpona, then be sure to read the full story from ABC.

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