Honoring workers along Walmart's supply chain

Adam DeRose |

People of faith are remembering the victims of the tragic fire at Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh at candle light services across the country this weekend. It’s one small way we can affirm to workers the dignity of a safe workplace and urge corporate leaders and lawmakers to put people’s lives ahead of profit.

prayer vigilThe factory fire at Tazreen Fashions, which produced Faded Glory brand clothing, is a grave concern to many of us, as consumers and as people of faith. In the fire 112 workers lost their lives due to management's negligence.

Walmart is not acting responsibly nor ethically when it allows working conditions that put the lives of workers in danger. All faith traditions affirm the dignity of work. As people of faith we stand with workers and ask Walmart to support a full and transparent investigation, to publish all audit reports relating to the factory fire, and to adopt meaningful measures to prevent future incidents all along its supply chain.

In the faith community, we are extremely concerned about the corporation’s poor labor practices in the U.S. and abroad. We demand that the company's executive leadership make the necessary changes to make Walmart an ethical employer that honors the lives and dignity of all its workers. The factory fire was just one example of the difficulties Walmart workers suffer because of the corporation’s unethical labor practices.

Worker advocates are also pushing Walmart to work with local and global unions and labor rights organizations on a safety agreement that would allow for independent inspections with public reporting, mandatory repairs and renovations, and a central role for workers and unions in both oversight and implementation. The agreement would call for supplier contracts with sufficient financing and adequate pricing, and a binding contract to make these commitments enforceable.

People of faith and worker advocates are delivering a letter to store managers on Saturday, Dec. 22, asking managers to pray with them in honor of the lives lost and to support a safety agreement that would make working conditions safer all across the supply chain.

Click here to for all the tools you need to set up and register a prayer vigil near you, or see if one is already organized in your community.