The NYU University Senate yesterday voted unanimously to endorse a garment industry agreement aimed at making Bangladesh factories safe workplaces. The Senate approved a resolution recommending that the University require its apparel licensees to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.
Immediately after the vote, President John Sexton told the Senate that the administration would quickly begin to implement the Senate recommendation.
“The world has been horrified by the recent tragedies, including fires and building collapses, that have taken so many lives in garment factories in Bangladesh,” said Lynne Brown, Senior Vice President for University Relations and Public Affairs.
“That is why the Senate unanimously endorsed the recommendation of the Worker Rights Consortium, requiring NYU’s apparel licensees to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that is designed to improve workplace safety and protect lives in Bangladesh. We would like to thank the Student Labor and Action Movement (SLAM) for bringing this important issue to the attention of the University Senate.”
The Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor rights monitoring organization of which NYU is a founding member, has advised its affiliate universities to require its licensees that use Bangladesh factories to sign the Accord. The Accord establishes a program that includes:
- Independent factory safety inspections and public reporting of inspection results;
- Remediation of safety issues and the availability of funds for remediation;
- Provisions for continuation of wages when factories are closed for remediation and offering employment to workers who lose their jobs when factories lose orders;
- Creation of an extensive fire and building safety training program; and
- Financial contributions from signatory companies to fund the Accord’s provisions.
The Accord has already been signed by more than 100 apparel corporations, including two of NYU’s licensees, Adidas and Knights Apparel.
More than 3.5 million people are employed in the Bangladesh garment industry. The industry has suffered several major factory fires and building collapses in the past year, most notably the Rana Plaza building collapse in April that took the lives of 1,132 workers.
New York University, founded in 1831, is one of the world’s foremost research universities and a member of the selective Association of American Universities. The first Global Network University, it has degree-granting university campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai; 11 other global academic sites; and sends more students to study abroad than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 18 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and performing arts, music and studio arts, public administration, social work, engineering, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.