More than 1,100 workers died April 24 when the eight-story Rana Plaza in Bangladesh collapsed, reportedly after workers complained of cracks in the building and were ordered by managers to remain inside. The disaster comes amid a slew of other apparel manufacturing tragedies, including a November fire that killed 110 people and a more recent inferno that took eight lives -- both in Bangladesh. The events have intensified protests over poor working conditions, including pay of 21 cents an hour for Bangladeshi laborers. The government has promised reforms, including allowing workers to form labor unions. Activists have ramped up pressure on garment companies and consumers to ease up their relentless cycle of consumption and reevaluate their supply chains. Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney -- which both carried goods supplied by the destroyed factory -- have pledged more vigilance. Neither, however, signed the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which includes standards now backed by H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch and Calvin Klein parent PVH.
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