Shawna Bader-Blau: ‘Work Should Be about Dignity’

On the eve of the tragic Tazreen Factory Ltd. fire that in 2012 killed 112 garment workers in Bangladesh, Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau discussed on the Working Life podcast published today how global inequities led to Tazreen and to the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh—and how unions can enable workers to help prevent such disasters.

Describing her visit to the burned-out Tazreen factory, Bader-Blau says workers who survived the collapse met with her.

“They told me that they had tried to form unions in that building … and their union organizing efforts were busted by the supervisors and the employers,” she says. “They told me that had they had trade unions, they really believe they would have had more power vis à vis the supervisors and the company to negotiate things like safety improvements for themselves and adequate wages for themselves and their families.

“When workers do have the ability to form and join trade unions, they can bargain to improve their wages, they can bargain with their employers to make their conditions better. Work should be about dignity.”

Listen to the full podcast here.