Picture from Guardian.co.uk
On April 24, 2013 the Bangladeshi garment industry witnessed the worst disaster in its history. More than 1,000 workers died when Rana Plaza, a factory building in the little suburb of Savar, collapsed. It was the most horrific out of many similar incidents – but certainly not the first.
Following a considerable amount of media attention to the disaster (for more, read here from The Huffington Post, here from the BBC, and here from Al Jazeera), the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led by Senator Robert Menendez, held a hearing on June 6, 2013 to discuss the lack of basic rights and protection of workers in Bangladesh. (Read his Op-Ed, “A Cry for Worker Fairness” here.) Several government officials and representatives from both labor and the industry testified including Lewis Karesh, Asst. U.S. Trade Representative for Labor; Robert Blake, Asst. Sec. of State for South and Central Asian Affairs; Eric Biel, Acting Associate Deputy of the Secretary for International Affairs at Bureau for International Labor Affairs; Celeste Drake, Trade Policy Specialist at AFL-CIO; and Johan Lubbe, International Labor & Employment Partner at Littler Mendelson, PC.