University to Require Apparel Licensees to Commit to Workplace Safety

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety aims to improve factory conditions in Bangladesh.

GW FLAG
April 23, 2014

The George Washington University will distribute a letter this week requiring new and existing licensees that source, produce or purchase GW-branded apparel in Bangladeshi factories to improve working conditions and sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The independent agreement, which requires regular safety inspections and structural repairs and updates, was drafted following the collapse of the eight-story Rana Plaza Building that killed more than 1,000 garment workers last year.

Licensees must sign the accord by May 23, according to the letter.

The endorsement has been recommended by the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), of which GW is an active member.  

Licensees that do not currently manufacture apparel in Bangladesh will also be required to sign the accord should they move their factories to the region in the future.

GW is one of a growing number of universities—including Georgetown University, New York University, Syracuse University, Duke University, Temple University, University of Wisconsin and the University of Michigan—that have required their licensees to sign the accord.

A committee convened by the administration will continue monitoring the situation and conferring with campus store operator Follett Higher Education Group, the WRC, other schools, the Student Coalition to End Death Traps and the GW Progressive Student Union, a student-run organization that brought the unsafe working conditions to the attention of the administration through an on-campus campaign.