Boycott Target Clothes

This photo has been haunting me.

Those are two of the more than 1,100 workers who died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh.

Some of those workers may have been making clothes for my kids.

This factory collapse is not a random tragedy: it is part of a pattern of deadly factories in Bangladesh, and, as James Surowiecki wrote in The New Yorker, it is a foreseeable consequence of the cheap clothes I buy at Target or Forever 21 or Old Navy. It’s difficult to trace the webs of subcontractors, of course, but we know some workers in Rana Plaza were sewing jeans for Walmart. They could have been sewing the leggings I bought last week at Target.

In partnership with independent labor inspectors, many European corporations have just signed an accord on building safety and fire inspection in Bangladesh. But these 14 American retailers refused to sign:

  • Walmart
  • Gap
  • Macy’s
  • Sears/Kmart
  • JCPenney
  • VF Corp.
  • Target
  • Kohl’s
  • Cato Fashions
  • Carter’s
  • Nordstrom
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • The Children’s Place
  • Foot Locker

So I won’t be shopping at Target, Gap, Kohl’s, Children’s Place, Macy’s, or any of the others any more, until they sign this accord that means their workers and subcontractors will have a chance at basic safety. It might mean an additional dime in the price of the clothes I buy. I’m willing to pay a dime.

In the meantime, until they sign the accord, I think I’ll be buying mostly used clothing for my kids. And I’m thankful that at least H&M did sign.

I was a regular shopper at Target, for my kids’ socks and pants and sunhats and more, but I won’t be any more.

Join me, please. If enough of us tell Target that we’re willing to pay a dime to know that our clothes-workers have basic safety, they may hear us. Consumer movements have been powerful in American history. The tea boycott spurred the American revolution, while 1980s environmentalists even got McDonalds to spurn styrofoam early. We can get Target to treat its garment-workers decently.

UPDATE: I emailed Target and didn’t hear back yet, so I made a petition. Please consider signing the petition here. Add your voice. I know it’s a cliche, but, really, together we can make a difference.


4 responses to “Boycott Target Clothes

  1. Marla

    Hear, hear Elaine! Consumers vote with their wallets. Writing corporate offices helps too. I already avoid Walmart due to their anti-union policy, and buying things made in China due to slave-like worker conditions that allow cheap products. I remember missing my go-to food in the 80s during the canned-tuna boycott to save dolphins. Vigilance never ends. Thanks for speaking up.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I feel like having kids puts so much more time pressure on me that I’m sometimes making worse choices. Like not washing out every peanut butter container to recycle, or not checking the labels like I used to. Driving instead of walking, because if we walk the baby will nap on the walk instead of at home. Choosing a far away gym for the free babysitting, so adding lots more driving. I used to examine every product to get one made in North America or Europe because of factory regulations- now I just want to get out of the store. So thank you for reminding me of all the things I believe in.

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