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Labor group challenges U.S. military on supply line safety

  |   Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:55 PM
WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The International Labor Rights Forum challenged the U.S. Military Exchanges Wednesday to be more responsible concerning their clothing supply lines.

In a 34-page report called "Dangerous Silence" the worker advocacy group castigated the military for failing to set the right example with their apparel purchases from Bangladesh, where the garment industry is frequently cited as unsafe for workers.

The group said the U.S. military was "flying blind" when it comes to doing business with suppliers from Bangladesh, "without taking any independent action to investigate or remedy safety hazards and illegal conditions."

"Instead, the military exchanges rely on either the factories' own unverified statements of compliance with labor law or the social audits of companies such as Walmart and Sears -- audits that have historically failed to protect workers," the ILRF said.

The group pointed to what it called evidence of" recklessness."

"Marine Corps.licensed apparel was found in the rubble of the Tazreen Fashions factory, where 112 workers were killed [in a fire] in November 2012," the group said.

The group said the "appearance of a double standard for the U.S. government's own retailers diminishes the administration's credibility and weakens its ability to promote human rights in Bangladesh and elsewhere."

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