Nearly a year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, two organizers of the Bangladeshi labor movement encouraged University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) students to continue pressuring clothing companies to sign an important workplace safety accord.
Aleya Akter, 29, general secretary of the Bangladeshi Garment and Industrial Workers Federation, and Aklima Khanam, 20, a garment worker who survived the deadly Rana Plaza disaster, visited the university Monday.
“I want to tell university students [that] we’re making clothing for you, so do you want us to be in factories like Rana Plaza … where workers are dying,” Khanam asked while speaking through a translator.
The UIC’s chapter of the United Students Against Sweatshops, a student run-organization active on more than 150 college campuses in North America, hosted Monday’s discussion about the continued struggle for garment worker safety in Bangladesh.
McDonald’s employees in three states have taken their workers’ rights grievances to court. A total of seven class action lawsuits have been brought against McDonald’s and some of the fast food giant’s franchisees by workers in California, Michigan and New York. The suits, which were filed Wednesday and Thursday, accuse McDonald’s of various “unlawful pay practices,” ranging from failing to provide workers with proper overtime compensation to forcing employees to work off the clock.
“These suits have be filed to stop this widespread wage theft,” said Joseph Sellers, co-counsel in the lawsuits filed in California and New York. “These cases have been brought together, because they highlight a broad array of unlawful pay practices, which together reflect ways in which McDonald’s has withheld pay to its low-wage workers in order to enrich the corporation and its shareholders.”
Fast food workers and their supporters protested at Chicago’s Rock N’ Roll McDonald’s on Saturday afternoon to call out a restaurant manager who allegedly told an employee to “put a bullet” in her head.
Members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC) and the Fight for 15 campaign staged the demonstration to coincide with International Women’s Day.