Gap thinks its consumers are idiots

Gap thinks its consumers are idiots. It says it will sign the Bangladesh Fire Safety Agreement with one small change: the removal of the provision that makes the Agreement legally binding. But that “small change” would gut the entire Agreement and make it totally unenforceable. And as Gap tries to stop real reform in the Bangladeshi garment industry, it keeps trying to convince that it’s a leader in social responsibility, even putting a ridiculous website to brag about how much it cares about workers. We’re not fooled by Gap’s PR tricks: right now, activists are descending on Gap’s shareholder meeting in San Francisco to demand that the world’s third largest apparel company get serious about workers’ safety.

We’ve been ratcheting up the pressue for weeks — now we need to use the shareholder meeting to remind Gap that we’re not going anywhere. Can you take a few minutes to hold Gap accountable?

Here’s how to make sure Gap gets the message:

fb Click here to write on Gap’s Facebook wall. Here are some examples of messages you can leave for the company, or you can write your own.

  • Gap needs to make a stand, right now, to ensure that tragedies like Rana Plaza never happen again. Gap should stop trying to undermine the Agreement by preventing it from being legally binding. Sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.
  • I will not shop at a store that gambles with people’s lives. By refusing to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, Gap is displaying a disgusting level of greed. Stop putting lives at risk and sign now.
  • Gap’s refusal to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement is a disgrace to the company, and to everyone involved in decision-making. Shame on Gap. Stop dragging your feet and join the many other companies that have already signed the Agreement.
em You can email Gap’s  contact Gap’s VP for social responsibility, Kindley Walsh-Lawlor at You can email VP for Employee relations Eva Sage-Gavin at Here’s are talking points you can use, but feel free to modify it if you’d like:

  • The binding Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement is now the industry standards. More than 35 companies have signed on.
  • Non-binding, corporate-controlled codes of conduct have failed Bangladeshi workers for 20 years. A non-binding agreement is more of the same. Only a binding agreement can reform the garment industry in Bangladesh.
  • Many of Gap’s top competitors have signed the Agreement, including H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara, and Benetton.

Non-binding, corporate-controlled codes of conduct have been in effect in Bangladesh for decades, and garment workers keep dying — most recently in the collapse of the Rana Plaza buildding, the worst workplace disaster in history. That’s why 35 major apparel companies, including major Gap competitors like H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Benetton have agreed to an independent, binding safety agreement. When it insists on a non-binding agreement, Gap is effectively telling consumers “we’ll tell you whatever you want to hear, as long as there are no consequences when we don’t follow through.”

According to workers who were on the scene in the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh a few weeks ago, a crack had developed in the building on a Tuesday, triggering an evacuation order. Bank employees were told to stay home on Wednesday, but garment workers sewing clothes for major western brands were ordered to return to the production floor.

The community has been campaigning for months for major global retailers like the Gap to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement, which would ensure basic worker protections for Bangladeshi workers. In the wake of the Tazreen fire, which killed 112 Bangladeshi garment workers last November, the community mobilized to show these brands that we are paying attention to the deplorable conditions in their supply chains.

Over 150,000 SumOfUs members petitioned global brands to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement. Then thousands of us donated to fund a trip by Sumi Abedin, a Tazreen survivor, and Kalpona Akter, a Bangladeshi labor activist, to come to the U.S. to challenge brands to take responsibility for their workers’ safety. We even held a rally outside Gap’s corporate headquarters, just days after this latest tragedy — which was covered in the New York Times. Gap might not have sourced from Rana Plaza, but if it doesn’t sign the building safety agreement, a similar disaster could strike a Gap supplier any day.

The bottom line for Gap is this: No one should die making your clothes. Sign the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Agreement.

Thank you for standing up for workers everywhere,
Rob, Kaytee, and the rest of us

P.S. We still need consumers to take our message directly to Gap stores. To download a letter to Gap store managers and get instructions on delivering it, click here.



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