Join us on Thursday, January 21, as we listen to Sociology Associate Professor Jennifer Bair's presention of her research on "Labor Compliance in Bangladesh’s Garment Sector: Rana Plaza and the Conversation about Global Supply Chains." Dr. Bair's talk will begin at 12:00 p.m., and will be held in the CAS Conference Room at 1424 Broadway, two doors north of Starbucks on University and Broadway. Lunch will be provided for attendees!
On April 24, 2013, 1,129 garment workers in Bangladesh who were making clothes for foreign brands such as Benetton and Wal-Mart died when the building they were working in collapsed. Though it was hardly the first industrial accident in the country’s garment sector, Rana Plaza was by far the deadliest, and it brought increased urgency to an ongoing conversation about how to address the problem of workplace safety in the country’s 5,000+ export factories. More than two years after the Rana Plaza collapse, there are multiple large-scale factory safety and labor reform initiatives involving the Bangladesh government, foreign companies such as Gap and H&M, global trade union federations, and international institutions, including the International Labor Organization and the World Bank. Drawing from field research and interviews with government officials, factory owners, and labor leaders in Bangladesh, as well as with the U.S. and European brands and retailers that are purchasing the products made there, this talk answers three questions: 1. How do the initiatives implemented since Rana Plaza depart from previous efforts to address sweatshop conditions in global supply chains?; 2. How successful are these efforts proving in improving conditions for workers on the ground in Bangladesh?; and 3. How do they inform the long-running debate about working conditions in the global supply chains that brings us products as diverse as blue jeans and I-phones?