Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, issued the following statement today after news that H&M, Inditex (Zara) and C&A agreed to sign onto an enforceable fire and building safety agreement for their suppliers and contractors in Bangladesh where more than a thousand workers have died recently in garment factory tragedies. Miller has a long history of working against the use of sweatshops and has been urging major brands and retailers to sign on to this agreement.
"I applaud H&M, Inditex (Zara) and C&A for joining the fire and safety agreement for Bangladesh factories. They made the correct decision for their brand's reputation and, more importantly, for the lives and safety of workers in Bangladesh.
"Now, it is time for other retailers and brands, including Wal-Mart, JCPenney, the GAP, the Children's Place and others, to become signatories of a strong building and fire safety plan for their workers. These companies' continued absence in joining this agreement is inexcusable. Their absence from this agreement shows a callous indifference to the death and suffering of their de facto employees in Bangladesh who make the products that are placed on store shelves around the world. They need to stop making excuses and join the leadership of H&M, PVH, Inditex (Zara), C&A and Tschibo by becoming signatories."
Miller has called on several companies, including Wal-Mart, GAP, Benetton, and The Children's Place, to join the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. He penned a front-page editorial on Women's Wear Daily to urge the fashion industry to come together and improve conditions in Bangladesh. Miller and Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, have also urged the Obama administration to coordinate action to improve workers' rights and working conditions in Bangladesh.