99 Pickets

NYC Worker Solidarity

Occupy Wall Street Will “Occupy Port of Newark” to Block Cargo Ship Carrying Walmart Goods From Bangladesh Factories Tuesday Morning, 12.18.12

12/17/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

PRESS CONTACT: Isham Christie, Occupy Wall Street 701-330-2862, isham.christie@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/OccupyWallSt, @OccupyWallSt

Workers and allies will descend on the Port of Newark, NJ Tuesday morning to protest the arrival of a cargo ship carrying Walmart products from Bangladesh. The goods, organizers say, are “covered in the blood” of garment workers killed in unsafe conditions, and that the blood is “on the hands of Walmart.”

International community was devastated when a fire at the Tarzeen garment factory in Bangladesh left 112 workers dead on November 24th. Investigative reports confirmed that the facility, which failed fire safety inspections earlier this year, was producing goods for two of Walmart’s apparel suppliers—a claim that company officials initially denied. Documents also reported that Walmart played a key role in blocking improvements to fire safety standards at factories like Tarzeen, in effort to keep costs low.

The tragedy came on the heels of an unprecedented series of actions by workers in Walmart’s supply chain this year. In September, strikes by warehouse workers in California and Illinois brought international attention to unsafe conditions, unfair practices, illegal retaliation, and unsustainable employment in Walmart’s shadowy distribution network. On Black Friday, thousands across the country came out in support of Walmart retail workers, who went on strike at hundreds of stores protesting poverty wages and unfair treatment.

The Tuesday action on the waterfront is not just symbolic: at 8am, a cargo ship – Maersk Carolina – is scheduled to dock at the Port of Newark. The vessel is currently traveling from the Port of Oman via the regular route taken by the ships transporting thousands of tons of products made in factories in Bangladesh, including goods produced for Walmart.

“In America we risk our jobs when we speak up against bad conditions at Walmart. In Bangladesh, workers risk their lives every day they show up to make these products,” said Erik Skoglund, a Walmart warehouse worker who went on strike in September.

“As supply chain workers, we are all connected,” Skoglund added. “When anyone takes action, we do it for everybody who’s affected everywhere.”

WHAT: Community Picket and Rally at the Port
WHEN: 8 AM, Tuesday December 18th
WHERE: Terminal 18 of the Port of Newark
WHO: 99 Pickets; Occupy Wall Street; Labor, Community and Human Rights Allies