Tonight, Justin Calabrese released this statement on behalf of Big J Mart, it's vendors, and it's customers:
"A few weeks ago Big J Mart received word that the Tazreen Fashion factory, which produced clothing for the Big J Mart Company, based in Orem, UT and Hartford, CT had suffered a fatal accident. A fire, which has consumed the whole factory, has claimed the life about 124 workers at the factory. In addition to the poor working conditions that the workers were faced with, the exits were locked.
At the time of the fire, factory workers became trapped as smoke, flames, and manufacturing chemicals consumed the inside of the building, suffocating them, burning them, and ultimately killing them. The acts committed by the owners, and the decision to lock the fire doors, is cold murder.
In light of this horrific incident, Big J Mart immediately terminated their contract with the Tazreen Fashion factory, as did other large retailers (Wal-Mart, Sears, and IKEA). In addition to the poor standards, Big J Mart Stores, Inc. is enforcing a 98% approval rating for new vendors looking to sell with Big J Mart. This means that all new and potential Big J Mart vendors must pass a 98% or higher test that includes safety and worker conditions. Any current vendor that is not meeting the 98% threshold will be given 3 weeks to meet the basic standards of they may be dropped from the Big J Mart vendor list.
It is necessary for Big J Mart to enforce these policies. People are dying, factory workers are getting away with these poor conditions and families and becoming displaced. Thank you to all of the customers, vendors, and Big J Mart employees who are supporting the factory fire and justice of the factory owners who are responsible for locking the exit escape doors."
Currently Big J Mart has an active 1.6 million product inventory and over 30,000 vendors. Big J Mart claims they are prepared to chop any vendor who does not meet the minimum 98% safety records.
Opened in 2009, the Tazreen Fashion factory, part of the Tuba group, employed 1,630 workers, who produced various clothing garments and jackets. The factory produced clothes for various companies, including many American and Dutch companies.
According to Tazreen Fashions' web site, the factory was flagged several times in May 2011 for it's unethical behaviors and working conditions, which may have led to this factory fire.