35 Comp. Lab. L. & Pol'y J. 1 (2013-2014)
Toward Joint Liability in Global Supply Chains: Addressing the Root Causes of Labor Violations in International Subcontracting Networks

handle is hein.journals/cllpj35 and id is 13 raw text is: TOWARD JOINT LIABILITY IN GLOBAL SUPPLY
CHAINS: ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSES OF
LABOR VIOLATIONS IN INTERNATIONAL
SUBCONTRACTING NETWORKS
Mark Annert Jennifer Bair,tt and Jeremy Blasiftt
I.       INTRODUCTION
On the morning of April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-story building
in Bangladesh that housed five garment factories, collapsed, killing at least
1,129 workers.' The collapse was the most deadly disaster in the history of
the global garment industry and, indeed, one of the worst industrial
workplace disasters in history.2
Media coverage of the factory collapse and its aftermath fueled a long-
standing campaign by a coalition of unions and NGOs to address what had
become, well before this latest tragedy, a crisis in building and fire safety in
Bangladesh.       Under intense pressure, within a month of the Rana Plaza
collapse, more than three dozen of the world's largest apparel brands and
retailers, including H&M, Inditex (owner of the Zara brand), Tesco, and
t Associate Professor of Labor Studies and Political Science, School of Labor and Employment
Relations, Pennsylvania State University.
tt Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at
Boulder.
ttt Law Clerk to the Hon. Judge Dean D. Pregerson, United States District Court for the Central
District of California; Former Director of Investigations, Worker Rights Consortium. The authors
would like to thank the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell
University for granting us access to the I.L.G.W.U archives; Ethan Erickson for his outstanding research
assistance; and Professors Marty Wells and Kate Bronfenbrenner of Cornell's School of Industrial and
Labor Relations for facilitating our research. The authors also wish to thank Tim Bartley, Gary Blasi,
Peter Evans, Jeff Hermanson, Nina Pillard, Andrew Schrank, Jodi Short, David Weil, and the
participants of the IBS Institutions working group at the University of Colorado at Boulder for their
helpful comments on earlier drafts of this Article. Author names are listed in alphabetical order.
1. See, e.g., Julfikar Ali Manik & Jim Yardley, Building Collapse in Bangladesh Leaves Scores
Dead, N.Y. TIMES, Apr. 25, 2013, at Al; Jim Yardley, Grim Task of Identifying Factories' Dead
Overwhelms Bangladeshi Lab, N.Y. TIMES, May 31, 2013, at Al.
2. Ali & Yarkley, supra note 1; Yardley, supra note 1.
3. For example, just several months before, on November 24, 2012, in a fire eerily reminiscent of
the one at New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist factory in March 1911, 112 workers lost their lives at
the Tazreen garment factory, which produced for Wal-Mart among other brands. See, e.g., Vikas Bajaj,
Fatal Fire in Bangladesh Highlights the Dangers Facing Garment Workers, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 26, 2012,
at A6. Even prior to the Rana Plaza collapse, the death toll of garment workers killed in the workplace
since 2006 exceeded 500. Id

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