People protesting the horrific factory fire that last month killed at least 112 garment workers in Bangladesh held a rally Dec. 6 in the center of a South Asian community in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. Speakers focused on the responsibility of giant retailers like U.S. megacorporation Walmart and European firms like Carrefour for squeezing workers’ wages in Bangladesh and promoting unsafe conditions in factories there. Some reported that Walmart management had specifically decided not to promote safety measures because they would increase costs and thus trim the firm’s enormous profits, which came to $15.7 billion in 2011.
The group Desis Rising Up and Moving called the rally. DRUM was founded in 2000 to build the power of South Asian low-wage immigrant workers, youth and families in New York City to win economic and educational justice, and civil and immigrant rights. Vamos Unidos, a group of Latino/a street vendors, as well as the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights and other progressive groups supported the action, as did local City Council member Daniel Drom. Workers World Party members distributed WW newspaper.