A petition circulating online is urging some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers to continue paying factory workers amid the coronavirus crisis.
On Friday, nonprofit organization Remake, which raises awareness about human rights violations in the fashion industry, launched the #PayUp petition, urging big-box giants Walmart and Target, fast-fashion companies H&M and Zara, as well as corporations like VF Corp. and Gap to pay more than $3 billion for delayed or canceled orders to garment factories in Bangladesh and other countries.
“Many [workers] have already been sent home with no severance, savings and or access to health care,” the post on Change.org read. “Brands must pay for in-production and canceled orders, rather than abandon their supply chain partners and the women who have kept their businesses profitable for decades.”
The petition also named Kohl’s, Mango, Primark, JCPenney and American Eagle Outfitters among a total of 15 fashion players it suggested needed to pay factories. Remake claimed that it had heard directly from factory owners and labor activists in Bangladesh that they have yet to be paid by these brands and retailers, who are reportedly letting clothing remain in warehouses until June or July.
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“These payments will be too late for garment workers who are suffering now,” the petition read. “Until Remake receives confirmation that money has exchanged hands and been paid to suppliers, we will not be removing any of these brands from our petition.”
The organization added that it had learned H&M and VF Corp. are now making payments to their suppliers. As of 2:00 p.m. ET, more than 1,800 signatures have been collected out of a goal of 2,500 signatures.
According to data from the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, ready-made garments represented 84%, or $40.5 billion, of the country’s total exports in 2019. A report from The New York Times showed that Bangladesh has seen more than $2.8 billion in order cancellations or postponements since the start of the pandemic.
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