Former Rep. Ellen Tauscher Elected Independent Chair of The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

On August 20, 2013, the American alliance elected an Ellen O’ Kane Tauscher as the independent chair of its board of directors, and also welcomed three new members- Costco, Intradeco Apparel and Jordache Enterprises, bringing the total up to 20 retailers and apparel brands. Read more in this story from 

Ellen O'Kane Tauscher. Source- Wikimedia Commons
Ellen O’Kane Tauscher. Source- Wikimedia Commons

US: Bangladesh Safety Alliance Names Chair as Talks Begin


The group of leading retailers and brands who make up the North American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety has named Ellen O’Kane Tauscher as the independent chair of its board of directors.

The Alliance also said it has been joined by three more companies – Costco, Intradeco Apparel and Jordache Enterprises – bringing the total to 20 apparel companies, retailers and brands.

With the new members, more than US$45m has been committed to administer the programmes developed by the Alliance over the next five years to help improve factory safety conditions for garment workers in Bangladesh.

A two-day board meeting is now underway in Chicago, where members will be briefed on progress toward several milestones taking place next month, including development of a common Fire and Building Safety Standard and Inspection Protocol, and the fire and safety training curriculum that will be given to factory managers and employees.

In September, the Alliance expects to announce the selection of its operating team, including the executive director for the programme.

Leading the board of directors, Tauscher is a seven-term member of Congress and has worked for the US Department of State. She was appointed by president Barack Obama as under-secretary of state for arms control and international affairs, serving in the role from 2009-2012.

When she returned to the private sector in 2012, she joined  Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC, in Washington DC as strategic advisor to clients in national security, defence, transportation, export control and energy policy areas.

“The respect Ellen has earned in Congress, the State Department, and the private sector will serve her well in the role as an independent leader and convener who can work with Alliance members and governments to pursue the critical safety mission and aggressive implementation schedule,” said Ambassador James Moriarty, an Alliance board member and former US Ambassador to Bangladesh.

The board also includes three other stakeholder representatives, including Mohammad Atiqul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturing and Exporters Association (BGMEA); Randy Tucker, global leader of the fire protection and safety team at CCRD, a Houston-based engineering firm; and Muhammad Rumee Ali, managing director of enterprises at BRAC, the international NGO founded in Bangladesh.

Four Board members from Alliance companies include: Daniel Duty, vice president of global affairs for Target; Jay Jorgensen, senior vice president and global chief compliance officer forWal-Mart Stores Inc; Tom Nelson, vice president for global product procurement for VF Brands; and Bobbi Silten, senior vice president of global responsibility for Gap Inc and president of Gap Foundation.

Other retailers and brands that have signed up to the Alliance include: Canadian Tire Corporation; Carter’s; The Children’s Place Retail Stores; Gap; Hudson’s Bay Company; IFG; JC Penney; The Jones Group; Kohl’s Department Stores; LL Bean;


US retailers implement Bangladesh safety plan

This story from, reflects the negative criticism the American Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety is receiving as it begins to implement the plan to meet its September deadline.




Major US retailers including Gap and Walmart are expected to begin implementing the Bangladesh safety-plan, to meet the September 10 deadline. In the wake of the Bangladesh factory that collapsed last April, a group of 20 retailers will appoint an executive director and management firm to oversee the 45 million dollar funding in place to improve worker safety.

The retailers, which also include Macy’s and Target, struck a five-year deal to train workers and inspect factories. It will, however rely on factory owners in Bangladesh to pay for their own safety renovations despite the retailing committing to providing 100 million dollars in low-cost loans toward the effort. Participation in the lending program is voluntary and varies by retailer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The agreement continues to attract scrutiny from labour activists and worker groups who say the safety plan falls short of a separate, legally binding agreement that commits Hennes & Mauritz, Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp and 70 other, mostly European companies to directly pay for the costs of repairing and renovating some 5,000 Bangladesh garment factories.

Critics also complain of the absence of labor organizations from the North American alliance’s board of directors and say that nothing will change as long as the retailers continue to control the inspection process by choosing and paying the auditors, as well as electing a board that is supposed to conduct oversight and ensure the companies follow through with their safety plan.

“They are essentially asking the companies and factory owners to regulate themselves,” said Scott Nova, executive director at the Worker Rights Consortium, who helped craft the European-led accord. “They want people to see this as an alternative plan, but it’s no different than what companies have been doing without success for decades.”

The North American retail alliance’s eight-member board includes four company representatives from Target, Wal-Mart, Gap and VF Corp. as well as former US Ambassador to Bangladesh Jim Moriarty and fire-safety consultant Randy Tucker, both of whom were employed by the companies on previous safety programs.