Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

8 US lawmakers demand living wages for Bangladesh RMG workers

  • ‘US brands must use their influence and stand together with workers’
  • ‘This letter echoes the sentiments of local worker organizations’
Update : 19 Dec 2023, 09:59 PM

Eight US lawmakers have written a letter to the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) to support fairer wages and to protect labor rights for Bangladeshi workers. 

Representatives Ilhan Omar, Jim McGovern, and Jan Schakowsky led the letter, co-signed by Representatives Raúl Grijalva, Barbara Lee, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, David Trone, and Susan Wild.

“We are writing to urge the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) to strongly support the demands of Bangladesh’s garment workers for fairer wages,” the lawmakers wrote on Monday.

Ilhan Omar posted the letter in her website.

The letter reads: “As you know, the recent wage increases announced by Bangladesh’s wage board, which would not even meet the rising cost of living, have led to extended mass protests. Police have responded with violence against protesters and trade union leaders, resulting in at least four deaths, numerous injuries, and a wave of unjust arrests, detentions, and indefinite factory shutdowns. We agree with the Biden administration’s call for the government of Bangladesh to respect and protect workers’ rights to organize, protest peacefully, and collectively bargain without fear of retaliation, violence, or intimidation.”

They observed that recent negotiations over a new minimum wage for garment workers have led to mass demonstrations, ever since the wage board announced an increase far below living wage levels.

"Factory owners and police have responded to the protests with intimidation and violence. US brands must use their influence and stand together with workers by immediately demanding better wages and rights for Bangladeshi working families," the letter said.

This letter echoes the sentiments of local worker organizations, international trade unions, and the US government to revisit the minimum wage decision and respect worker rights, including the freedom of association, said a press release.

The letter is endorsed by Academics Stand Against Poverty, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (AFL-CIO Affiliate), IndustriALL Global Union, Institute for Policy Studies – Global Economy Project, Labour Behind the Label, Oxfam America, and Workers United (SEIU Affiliate).

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