WASHINGTON — The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, which includes Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc., VF Corp. and Target Corp., said Thursday it has added 12 new officials ranging from government and labor to business and international organizations to its board of advisers.
The alliance, with 26 company members, represents one of two industry safety initiatives launched in the aftermath of two factory tragedies in Bangladesh that claimed the lives of more than 1,240 workers and thrust the Asian country’s garment industry and inadequate fire and safety standards into the global spotlight. In recent months, lawmakers and worker and labor rights groups have criticized the alliance for not having labor and union representation on its committees.
The new board members are Avedis Seferian, president and chief executive officer of Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP); Dan Glickman, senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center; Heather Cruden, Canadian high commissioner to Bangladesh; Helene Gayle, president and ceo at CARE USA; Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University; Mohammad Hatem, vice president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Mujibur Rahman, professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology; Nancy Nord, former commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; Rick Darling; executive director of government and public affairs at Li & Fung Trading Ltd.; Sirajul Islam Rony, president of the Bangladesh National Garment Workers Employees League; Sukkur Mahmud, president of the executive committee of the National Labor League, and Wajedul Islam Khan, general secretary of the Bangladesh Trade Union Kendra.
“The combination of their individual perspectives and breadth of expertise across government, women’s issues, labor and global development will help us implement our comprehensive commitment to a safer ready-made garment industry in Bangladesh,” said Ellen Tauscher, independent chair of the alliance.
The board of advisers will oversee the group’s goals, including inspecting all garment factories its members use by July. To date, more than 40 percent of those 700 factories have been inspected. In addition, training programs have been launched, and a worker help line will be rolled out in 50 factories this month. The alliance said it also is providing technical support and has established oversight of the remediation at factories that need to be upgraded and improved.