Bipartisan Policy Center Convenes Second Meeting of Leading North American Retailers and Brands to Address Worker Safety in Bangladesh Garment Factories

Former U.S. Senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe Facilitate Discussions among Government, Worker Rights, and Industry Safety Community Leaders

Contact: 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) convened a second working session with leading retailers, brands, and industry associations to help expedite consensus on a single, unified safety plan to improve worker conditions in Bangladesh garment factories. Acting as independent facilitators, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and BPC Co-Founder George J. Mitchell and former U.S. Senator and BPC Senior Fellow Olympia Snowe led today’s discussions, which included a wide-range of stakeholders and experts from the U.S. and Bangladesh governments, worker rights organizations, and the safety industry.

“We had a very productive day of discussions,” said BPC President Jason Grumet. “The Alliance was particularly gratified to be joined by Bangladesh Ambassador to the U.S. Akramul Qader, who informed the group of current progress on the ground and the serious challenges that remain. BPC welcomes continued involvement in this important effort to improve worker safety in Bangladesh.” 

In addition to retailers and brands, the Alliance includes representatives from industry associations: American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), National Retail Federation (NRF), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), United States Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel (USA-ITA), Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and the Canadian Apparel Federation (CAF).

At the request of the Alliance, BPC will continue to hold discussions designed to achieve effective and long-lasting change for the industry and its workers. These meetings will focus on five key areas: 1) worker training and empowerment; 2) standards for fire and building safety assessments; 3) sharing of factory inspection and training information; 4) governance; and 5) funding. 

###