Students demand NYU take action for Bangladesh factory safety
On Thursday, October 3, ten students from the NYU Student & Labor Action Movement (SLAM) held a die-in outside the University Senate prior to the Senate’s meeting. As the students lay down holding pictures of workers who died in a factory collapse in Bangladesh in April, they had one goal in mind: to insist NYU to take action for workers’ rights now. Over 1100 workers lost their lives when the Rana Plaza building collapsed, and SLAM is currently fighting to make sure something like that does not happen again to the workers who produce the NYU apparel in Bangladesh. To SLAM, the crisis of worker safety in the garment industry has reached a breaking point.
SLAM is calling on NYU to require all university licensees to sign onto the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally binding agreement between brands and unions to fix factory conditions in Bangladesh. While 87 companies have signed the Accord so far, none of the 20 companies producing NYU apparel in Bangladesh have done so.
“This is an urgent matter that requires immediate action,” said NYU sophomore Anne Falcon. “As a student, I don’t want to think that my apparel is being made in a factory on the verge of collapse.”
SLAM members spoke to President John Sexton as he arrived at the Senate, asking him to resolve this issue immediately. During the meeting he announced that this matter would be introduced to the Public Affairs Committee of the University Senate.
“I hope the University Senate advises President Sexton to take action quickly,” said NYU freshman Samantha Cavestani. “In the meantime, we will continue to make our voices heard.”
Thursday’s die-in was the latest step in SLAM’s End Deathtraps campaign. Students previously delivered a letter to John Sexton’s office and met with Vice President for Global Student Affairs to discuss this matter.
SLAM is a local of United Students Against Sweatshops, the national student-led organization coordinating the End Deathtraps campaign.