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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
Congresswoman Grace Meng, second from left, organized a vigil on the anniversary of a massive building collapse in Bangladesh, which killed 1,129 garment workers.

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Gone, but not forgotten.

Congresswoman Grace Meng organized a vigil on Thursday for 1,129 Bangladeshi garment workers, who perished when a faulty building collapsed a year ago, to honor their memory and call for an increase in occupational safety and compensation.

“No one should go to work every day fearing for their life, because the building they work in is not structurally sound,” Meng said.

The Rana Plaza factory collapse occurred near the capital city of Dhaka last year due to safety conditions with the building.

Cracks were discovered in the eight-story building, but were not repaired and employees were ordered to work in the structure. More than 2,500 people were injured after the collapse.

Many other buildings in the garment industry in Bangladesh share safety concerns, according to union representatives. Some of those buildings produce goods for major American retailers, including Walmart and the Gap, just to name a few.

A coalition of politicians and labor union officials that were present at the vigil hope to bring awareness to the issue and want American companies to pledge to increase safety measures.

Little has been done to relieve working conditions, according to union representatives, and they want to prevent another tragedy.

“I think they are more concerned about the bottom line than they are concerned about the workers who have made them so successful,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “The way we make change is by increasing public awareness of what happened and why it happened.”

 

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