About sixty activists gathered on Tuesday, December 18th outside the Port of Newark to protest the arrival of a ship they said carried Wal-mart goods from Bangladesh. Carrying cardboard tombstones spelling out Walmart’s name, and garments bearing the names of workers who died in the New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, the protesters said that the retail giant is culpable for the deaths of 112 workers in a similar fire last month in Bangladesh. Chants included, “One, two three four, don’t let that boat come ashore! Five, six, seven, eight, don’t touch that sh*t, don’t move that freight!”
“The supply chain needs to change…” Alliance for a Greater New York (ALIGN) organizer Martiza Silva-Farrell told the crowd. “This is a start.”
Wal-Mart had claimed that it had cut ties with the Tazreen garment factory in Bangladesh, where the deadly blaze took place, but a report earlier this month revealed that Wal-Mart worked with at least five different suppliers there this year. Further, in 2011, the retail giant decided against aiding factory upgrades that could have stopped fires like the deadly blaze.
Another "Block the Boat" protest is scheduled for Thursday at the Port of Charleston. Activists there will also protest the arrival of Wal-Mart goods from Bangladesh, as well as the retail giant's low paying American jobs, and the use of foreign-made goods that lead to job losses here in the U.S.