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As celebrities including Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman celebrated Wal-Mart at its annual meeting last week, workers and activists converged to demand sweeping changes at the company’s U.S. stores and global factories. Around 100 striking workers with the group OUR Walmart arrived in a caravan from across the country to protest what they allege to be retaliation against those seeking to change company practices on wages, safety and unions.
Wal-Mart is one of only a few major retailers that have refused to sign on to the new safety standards after the Dhaka tragedy. In the fire, in Tazreen Fashion fire, it has killed 112 workers and left hundreds injured. And in Rana Plaza, it killed 1,127 and left more than 600 or 700 injured for lifetime. And in that shareholder meeting, they haven’t even given any condolence for those families. They haven’t felt sad. No word for those.
One worker said,"We didn’t want to go up in the factory this morning, but the management forced us to go up and said there was no problem with the building. Just after that, I sat on my table to work, and the building just collapsed. I couldn’t even leave. I was trapped at my table. Inside at about 9:10 a.m., the building collapsed, and we were trapped inside since then and up to now. It is 10:18 p.m. Eleven hours, we were trapped. We did not want to enter the building, but the owners pushed us to get in and work."
Ted Rudow III, MA