Rescuers tried for 48 hours to free Rozina Begum from the rubble of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse. They failed. Then, they gave her a saw. They told her she would have to saw her arm off to save her life. "I didn't think about it," Begum said. "It took me hours. I kept passing out. But in the end, I did it."1
6 years after Rana Plaza, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Amazon is selling clothing from dozens of blacklisted Bangladeshi factories that have been deemed too dangerous.2
With Cyber Monday approaching fast, Amazon’s failure to commit to safety standards literally puts lives in danger. Amazon may have overtaken Walmart as America’s No. 1 clothing seller -- meaning if they agreed to the same safety standards as other brands, Amazon could save lives.
Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: No one deserves to lose their life because Amazon doesn’t want to do the right thing. Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more people die.
Over 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse. After that, major brands like H&M, Fruit of the Loom, and American Eagle Outfitters agreed to commit to factory safety standards like fixing crumbling buildings, fire alarms, and sprinklers.3
But Amazon didn’t sign on. According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, Amazon offers clothing from dozens of Bangladeshi factories that have been blacklisted by other retailers as being too dangerous.
Some of the clothing was sold directly by Amazon and others from third-party sellers. Amazon doesn’t list much information about the factories they source from and doesn’t require third-party sellers to disclose their list of factories.
Other brands like H&M have committed to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement to building and worker safety between worker unions, international monitoring organizations, and apparel corporations.
The Accord has undoubtedly saved lives -- which is why it’s so important Amazon signs onto it.
Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Lives are worth more than corporate greed. Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more lives are lost.
This isn’t the only case of Amazon running its platform in ways that can put customers and workers in danger. Thousands of products listed on Amazon have been deemed unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled, or even banned by regulators -- including unsafe children’s toys and recalled motorcycle helmets.4
Amazon’s platform is too big to be managed responsibly by a single mega-company that has its hands in everything. The unchecked monopoly power of Amazon has resulted in a platform that allows the sale of garments made under dangerous conditions.
Big tech companies like Amazon are literally putting lives in danger, which is just one of the many reasons Demand Progress members like you have been calling for a breakup of big tech monopolies.
Cyber Monday is coming up soon, which means more pressure on Amazon and its third party sellers to sell products. We must demand Amazon signs onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before Amazon’s failure to act results in more deaths.
Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more lives are lost.
1. The Wall Street Journal, "A Year Later, Rana Plaza Survivors Struggle," April 23rd, 2014.
2. The Wall Street Journal, "Amazon Sells Clothes From Factories Other Retailers Blacklist," October 23rd, 2019.
3. The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, "Accord Signatories," November 20th, 2019.
4. The Wall Street Journal, "Amazon Has Ceded Control of Its Site. The Result: Thousands of Banned, Unsafe or Mislabeled Products," August 23rd, 2019.