Bangladesh Safety Accord Is Too Binding for American Retailers

Rescue workers and volunteers remove clothing garments as they search for victims amongst the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 26 Photograph by Jeff Holt/Bloomberg

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that none of the biggest American retailers signed a global accord to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. Wal-Mart Stores didn’t sign. Gap didn’t. J.C. Penney didn’t. These companies are concerned about preventing the fires and collapses that have killed more than 1,100 Bangladeshi workers in the past six months. But signing a legally binding agreement with built-in systems to resolve disputes that was created with labor unions? That’s too European.

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