NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Affirming its commitment to safe working conditions around the world, Rutgers University announced today that it will require its licensees that produce or purchase collegiate apparel in Bangladesh to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
The accord, a legally binding agreement between apparel manufacturers and global and Bangladeshi trade unions, requires manufacturers to provide financial support for initiatives that will enhance workplace safety in that nation.
This agreement was created in the aftermath of the April 24, 2013, collapse of the Rana Plaza factory outside of Dhaka – the Bangladesh capital – killing more than 1,100 workers and injuring another 2,500.
To date, more than 100 companies that produce or purchase goods in Bangladesh have signed the accord – including six of the 19 Rutgers licensees that do collegiate business in that nation. The remaining 13 Rutgers licensees that produce or purchase apparel in Bangladesh have until July 1, 2014, to sign the Bangladesh accord.
“Colleges and universities have a moral obligation to do everything within their power to help eliminate sweatshop conditions around the world. This accord is the latest milestone in these important efforts and requiring our licensees to abide by the accord is simply the right thing to do,” said Rutgers President Robert Barchi.
Under the Bangladesh accord:
• Factories in Bangladesh will be subject to independent inspections and full public reports.
• Manufacturers will contribute annually to a fund to support inspectors and inspector training, as well as structural repairs and renovations to factories. Manufacturer contributions will be based on the volume of business they do in Bangladesh.
• Factories must allow workers to refuse to do dangerous work.
• Factories must ensure a central role for workers and unions in establishing workplace safety rules. Workers also will play an active role in factory inspections and remediation.
Rutgers is the 16th university in the United States to require licensees to sign the Bangladesh accord. Rutgers has more than 300 trademark licensees.
Since 1999, Rutgers University has been a member of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), an international organization that combines the efforts of business, civil society organizations, and colleges and universities to protect workers’ rights and improve working conditions worldwide by promoting adherence to international labor standards. Rutgers is also a member of the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent labor rights monitoring organization that conducts investigations of conditions in factories worldwide.
According to the WRC, Bangladesh has more than 3,500 factories and 3 million workers. Bangladesh is the second largest apparel-producing nation after China.
Established in 1766, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and one of the nation’s premier public research universities, serving more than 65,000 students in locations throughout the state.
Rutgers licensees that have produced or purchased collegiate apparel in Bangladesh and have signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh:
Cutter & Buck (parent company New Wave)
Top of the World