Two House Democrats have filed a measure that would require garments made in Bangladesh and sold at American military bases to come from factories that meet certain fire and building codes.
Reps. George Miller, of California, and Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois, filed the amendment to the House’s defense spending bill after a series of high-profile tragedies shed light on poor working conditions in the South Asian nation.
Retailers and government officials focused on Bangladesh after the April collapse of the Rana Plaza complex that housed numerous garment factories. More than 1,000 workers died and thousands more were injured.
The amendment’s sponsors noted that more than 50 fashion brands and retain companies, many of them in Europe and Canada, have signed a new accord on fire and building safety in Bangladesh.
Under the amendment, branded garments sold at retail stores, or “exchanges,” on bases owned by the Defense Department must be manufactured in line with the accord.
Military exchanges that license out production of their branded garments must give preference to vendors who have signed onto the accord.
“It is not only unjust but inhumane that garment workers barely make ends meet and are subjected to working in unsafe buildings, many of which don’t have fire escapes or potable water,” Ms. Schakowsky said. “As a huge purchaser of garments, the U.S. military should not be complicit in putting the lives of Bangladesh’s workers in grave danger.”