99 Pickets and Others Protest Big Box Store

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Twenty-five activists affiliated with 99 Pickets and other local solidarity groups staged a demonstration inside the Target store at the Atlantic Center Mall in Brooklyn, NY, calling on the company to sign onto the recently negotiated Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. (Video below.)

The action drew a heavy police and security guard presence that eventually forced the group from the store after about 15 minutes. As they reached the store exit, repeated attempts were made to deliver a letter to the store manager on this issue, but nobody on staff would receive the letter.  The group continued the demonstration as they made their way to the mall exit, and along the way, a letter was successfully delivered to the Children’s Place, another company that sources apparel from Bangladesh and that has not signed the Accord.

Unfortunately, the NYPD and Mall Security decided to arrest one of the activists after the group had left the mall. 99 Pickets and friends and family will be providing jail support tomorrow.

JAIL SUPPORT @ 9AM, Friday June 14th
Kings County (Brooklyn) Criminal Court — 120 Schemerhorn St.

Directions: N, R or M train to Lawrence Street Station; G train to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street Station; A, F or C train to Jay Street Station; 2, 3, 4 or 5 trains to Borough Hall Station. B67, B41 and B45 bus lines stop near Livingston Street and Smith Street; B63 and B65 bus lines stop near Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street.

Target Protest

Statement of 99 Pickets

We stand in solidarity with the workers of Bangladesh and are outraged over the tragic collapse of the Rana Plaza building, which has killed more than 1,100 garment workers. This follows the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory last year where more than 100 Bangladeshi workers lost their lives.

Fortunately, there is a meaningful, verifiable way to improve the atrocious conditions in Bangaldesh garment factories: the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (PDF).

To get involved with future 99 Pickets Bangladesh solidarity action and other worker rights struggles, text “@pickets” to 23559.

The accord, a new agreement between several global union federations and 40 prominent apparel and retail companies, requires companies to participate in and fund a program of independent safety inspections, remediation, and worker safety trainings with the involvement of trade unions. They must maintain commercial terms that enable factories to maintain safe workplaces and finance repairs. The program will be overseen by a Steering Committee consisting of an equal number of representatives of trade unions and companies and one representative of the International Labor Organization. It will be enforceable through binding arbitration.

It has been estimated that a mere $0.10 more per garment would pay for the factory improvements of this program. Is 10 cents per garment too much for worker safety? Walmart, K-Mart, Gap, Target, JC Penny, and other U.S. retailers say “yes”. We say “no more bloodshed!” It’s time to hold U.S. retailers accountable for their inaction.

While a few U.S. companies have signed onto the Accord, most, including the Gap, Walmart, Target, J.C. Penney, Sears, and Kmart, have not. The time for individual and ineffective “corporate social responsibility” programs is long over. This legally binding, multi-stakeholder Accord is the kind of framework that is much more likely to result in safer factories and better jobs for garment workers.

We demand that all apparel and retail companies that have production in Bangladesh join this program.

For more information, visit gapdeathtraps.com and laborrights.org.

To get involved with future 99 Pickets Bangladesh solidarity action and other worker rights struggles, text “@pickets” to 23559.

More Information: 99 Pickets