The Common Good

Workers Die in Building Collapse

Last Tuesday, a building in Dhaka, Bangladesh that housed five garment factories collapsed, resulting in more than 400 deaths and 2,500 injuries. Estimates are that possibly hundreds more are still missing. Cracks had appeared in the buildings walls the day before and polices ordered it evacuated. Factory managers, however, ordered workers to return. The factories primarily produced cheap clothing for western markets.

Protest rallies have been held this week in Bangladesh. Today, May Day, a procession demanded safe working conditions and the death penalty for the building’s owner, currently under arrest.

The Associated Press reported that Pope Francis commented on the tragedy in his Mass for the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker:

“At the Vatican, Pope Francis said he was shocked by a headline about the building collapse that said some of the workers were living on 38 euros [$50] a month. "This was the payment of these people who have died ... and this is called `slave labor,'" he said. Vatican Radio said the pope made the remarks during a private Mass at the Vatican.”

Read the Associated Press report.

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