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Featuring an interview with Bangladeshi labor organizer Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, about the state of garment worker organizing. She points out that while changes appear to be afoot, the political situation remains “intense,” and workers often face retaliation from police in the streets. The situation is exacerbated as the political opposition tries to “take advantage” of workers’ unrest to garner power, and conflict could escalate if workers are dissatisfied with the size of the promised minimum wage increase. She then discusses how workers are driving the movement directly from the grassroots, with support from mainstream unions and international groups. She argues that supply chain worker organizing, linking Bangladeshi and U.S. workers across Wal-Mart’s production system, is key. The Bangladesh activists are planning joint campaigns with the global union coalition IndustriALL and various U.S. unions to spread solidarity protests. They need international solidarity in order to ensure that the pressure stays on Wal-Mart to sign the pending Bangladesh Fire & Building Safety Accord.
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