Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Maybe Kenneth Cole Can Put Up A Billboard?

110 factory workers died in a factory fire in Bangladesh this weekend.

According to Al Jazeera, over 600 factory workers have died in factory fires in Bangladesh over the past six years.

Factory conditions are abysmal there and the workers could use a union to protect them.

But union organizers who have pushed for safety inspections and other protections for workers have been murdered in Bangladesh because unions are, you know, bad for business.

Anti-union festishist Kenneth Cole has many of his products made in Bangladesh.

I can't tell you if the factory that burned this weekend was making Cole products, but workers at a Bangladeshi factory that burned in 2010 were in the process of making Kenneth Cole products among other things when they were killed in that fire.

29 people died in the December 2010 fire that was eerily similar to the one that killed 110 workers this weekend - they were both caused by faulty electrical wiring, the doors at both factories were locked and the workers couldn't get out in time

Now Kenneth Cole enjoys putting up billboards in NY about social and political issues.

Earlier this year he put up a billboard entitled "Teachers' Rights Vs. Students' Rights" and asked the question: "Shouldn't Everybody Be Well Red?"

The billboard suggested people go to Cole's website where they were further educated on the evils of teachers unions and how much they harm the children.

After a public outcry, Cole was forced to take the billboard down and step back from the message that unionized teachers harm students.

Meanwhile workers employed in Bangladesh making Kenneth Cole products continue to die in fires. 

I await a West Side Highway billboard decrying all of the dead factory workers in these totally preventable tragedies. 

Cole said the billboards are about bringing important messages to New Yorkers in provocative ways to make them think.

I can't think of a more important message that could come from the anti-union Cole, the mogul who is complicit in the murder of a union organizer, the man who continues to make his products in factories that keep burning down and killing his workers - make these factories safe so people don't have to die.

I am sure Cole's people are getting on that billboard right now.

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