UW-Madison signs safety accord to protect Bangladeshi workers making Bucky apparel

PAT SCHNEIDER | The Capital Times | March 15, 2014

The University of Wisconsin-Madison will require all of its licensees that source, produce or purchase goods in Bangladesh to sign and comply with the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh for the production of UW goods.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Friday that she would require licensees to sign the accord, which has been a focus of universities with licensed goods produced in Bangladesh since the Rana Plaza building collapse last year, which took the lives of more than 1,100 garment workers.

No UW-Madison goods were produced at Rana Plaza, but the university has been monitoring the situation, according to Blank. 

Of the 21 UW licensees active in Bangladesh, seven have signed the accord.

"As a national leader in promoting better working conditions for those who make our licensed collegiate merchandise, we believe that our licensees sourcing in Bangladesh have an obligation to help improve the safety standards for workers there," Blank says.

Members of the campus Student Labor Action Coalition have been pressing Blank to sign the accord on behalf of UW. They delivered a cardboard replica of a clock tower to Blank's office Wednesday to remind her of their March 24 deadline to act.

"Every month that goes by that we're not signing on to it, that's a problem," SLAC member Lingran Kong told the Daily Cardinal.

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