99 Pickets

NYC Worker Solidarity

At Her Allendale Home, Activists Call On Children’s Place CEO to Take Responsibility for Bangladesh Deaths

4/13/2014

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Matt Plummer, 99 Pickets, 99pickets@gmail.com
Photos and videos: http://tiny.cc/99pkts-allendale
More information: 99pickets.org, orphansplace.com

Allendale, NJ – On Saturday April 12, 99 Pickets, a labor activist group, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, a “radical marching band”, visited the Allendale, NJ home of Children’s Place CEO Jane Elfers. Activists chanted, “Jane, Jane, your house is nice! But mothers and children paid the price!” as they marched to Elfers’ and neighboring houses.

The groups were visiting Ms. Elfers to highlight what they called a “lack of accountability” for The Children’s Place’s role in the April 24, 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 workers and injured at least 2,500 more. The Children’s Place, a specialty retailer of children’s apparel and accessories, was one of the main brands being made at the Rana Plaza factory.  The company’s clothing was found amid the rubble.

The families of the Rana Plaza victims, along with Bangladeshi labor groups, international unions, and organizations such as the International Labor Rights Forum, have called for Children’s Place to pay $8 million into the victims’ compensation fund. The retailer reported a $655.5 million gross profit in 2013.

As the band played, members of 99 Pickets placed photographs of Rana Plaza victims and their families on CEO Elfers’ porch. A petition was delivered, but no one answered the door at her residence.

Proceeding to neighbors’ homes, band members sang “Shame, shame, shame… shame on Jane!” to the tune of “Shame, Shame, Shame” while chanting “Did you know your neighbor / uses sweatshop labor?” Neighbors’ responses were mixed; several expressed support for the campaign. “The logic here is clear,” said one local resident.

The early afternoon door-knocking campaign came one day after Aklima Khanam, a survivor of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh, traveled to meet with Children’s Place management at their corporate headquarters in Secaucus, NJ. She was stopped by a security guard at the front door and not permitted to enter.

John Dennie, a retired postal worker active in the labor movement, was one of the fifty people present at the Friday demonstration in Secaucus. “They wouldn’t even send a low-level manager down to meet with her. It was despicable.”

The activists, based in New York City and New Jersey, vowed to keep the pressure on the leadership of The Children’s Place until retailer pays its “fair share” into the victims’ compensation fund. “We stand with the courageous Bangladeshi workers fighting for corporate accountability throughout the supply chain”, said Dennie.

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