Friday, May 31, 2013

Unethical Labor Practices and the Bangladeshi Factory Collapse

American multinational companies, including Walmart and Sears, make their profits by outsourcing their work -- at the cost of exploiting poor laborers in developing nations who work in unsafe conditions and do not make a decent wage.   In that sense these companies not only have a role but were complicit in the horrific Bangladeshi factory collapse.

The Bangladeshi workers knew the factory was unsafe. Despite their articulated fears, nothing was done, and they were forced to continue work there. Other abuses abounded in Bangladesh, such as recurring factory fires, yet no one paid attention or took responsibility.  

Who are these people who run these corporations that outsource jobs that are performed in unsafe conditions, rather than provide a decent wage for unemployed American workers? How could they be permitted to opt out of providing the protections that developed nations require by law? How could they be allowed to bypass the regulations that govern worker safety here?  

Obviously, the leaders of these corporations do not care about decent working conditions or worker safety in poor nations, as long as there is a profit to be made. The fact the we now have a global economy may have enriched them, but at what cost to others?

Is this what we Americans call "free enterprise?" Is this what American capitalism has come to stand for?

It is unconscionable for American companies to sell such goods, considering the circumstances under which they are made. Their labor practices reveal the moral and ethical corruption that lies beneath this era of unprecedented accumulation of wealth.

And those who run these multinational companies are responsible for our nation's increasing financial divide. These corporate leaders who earn astronomical salaries now make up a large part of our nation's entitled 1 per cent. When it comes to greed and exploitation of others, they have no scruples.

How would our nation respond if a disaster, such as the predictable Bangladeshi factory collapse, occurred here? This tragedy calls to mind the fatal fire of 1911 at the Triangle factory that operated in New York City under sweatshop conditions, and other such abuses, that led to the formation of unions and protections for workers here. Ironically, these very protections now make employers claim that American workers are too expensive to hire as they opt to "outsource" or send jobs abroad.

Obviously, foreign workers that make goods for American companies are in need of such protections too.  The horrific death toll at the Bangladeshi factory, as of today, May 31, according to the Times, numbers 1,129.

1 comment:

  1. This post raises some interesting views on a couple of questions we, as Americans, should consider if we rally to be civil. The fact alone our high-ranking singular percentile is outsourcing the jobs belonging in the states is one thing, for these workers could not burn if there was no merchandise to create, as the jobs remain in the U.S., however they would find other jobs (because they need the money) just as hazardous.

    Addressing the second issue, with all of our positions being outsourced, thank you Facebook and Obama, all of our country's money is paid to other countries so the rich can have second and third homes in other countries. I love Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, but his gorgeous home in Fiji says otherwise as he makes his money here and reportedly spends it there.

    When Obama came into office, he declared with utmost certainty, "Change." However the significant changes are, they are not helping this country, but a far different dream than the American dream--one nation under God, indivisible, with justice for all.