Factory Fire Shines Light on Unsafe and Unfair Work Conditions

Wal-Mart is headquartered in Arkansas. There’s a clothing factory in Bangladesh where products manufactured for the big-box giant are manufactured. A fire there recently killed 100 workers, many of them unrecognizable due to the severity of their injuries.

In the U.S., the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911 resulted in the implementation of the nation’s first work-safety laws. In this accident, there were close to 150 workers who jumped to their deaths or were incinerated after they discovered that the exit doors of the building were locked. A very similar situation in Bangladesh — at the Faded Glory factory — happened recently.
Wal-Mart may be off the hook in this particular incident because it had already severed services with the factory because of bad reports regarding its fire-safety provisions, but one of the suppliers in the company’s very long supply chain decided to continue to subcontract the work.

Conditions at the factory were deemed in violation of Wal-Mart’s policies, according to The Washington Post’s Social Reader.

Our Rock Hill worker’s compensation attorneys understand that Wal-Mart’s production system is to hire as many workers as possible through contractors and subcontractors. These workers are to help to increase Wal-Mart’s ability to keep prices low.

Still, American workers right here in our country are exposed to some of the same working conditions. There are some getting less than minimum wage and are forced to work in unsafe warehouses.

Logistics companies run these warehouses, many supplying employees through more than 200 temporary employment companies.

Last year, the state of California and the Department of Industrial Relations caught wind that many of these employees may have been cheated. As a result of an inspection, one of the logistics companies involved in these warehouses was charged for neglecting to provide workers with the proper pay stubs and other appropriate info for their pay. Wal-Mart wasn’t charged in this case, but that’s the beauty of its chain of deniability.

Some of these workers have been stepping up in recent weeks, speaking about the unfair treatment and their low wages. Many of these workers don’t even have any kind of health benefits. On Black Friday, more than 1,000 Wal-Mart stores saw employees and advocates blocking off roadways and protesting the unfair treatment of the workers, according to Democracy Now. Here’s another denial from the company: Wal-Mart pushed back, saying it knew of only a “few dozen” protests, and that most of the protesters were not its employees.

One of the largest of the protests across the country was in Paramount. Los Angeles officers even ended up arresting three people — all Wal-Mart workers.

But Wal-Mart isn’t taking any responsibility for either of these accidents or for any employee treatment. As the country’s biggest private-sector employer, their emergency exits are always kept open!

If you or your loved one has been injured in a work accident, contact the Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Winter & Storm Season Creates Risk for Workers Using Portable Generators, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 27, 2012

Keeping Tree Trimmers Safe from Carolina Work Accidents, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, November 23, 2012

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