The supply chain for products sold by retailers in the U.S. has been dominated by a handful of big players that are a few decades old.
They include Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Costco and Target.
Their brands include Toys ‘R’ Us, Kohl’s, Home Depot and Best Buy.
The brands are also the subject of a $2.5 billion class-action lawsuit filed by consumers in the federal district court for the District of Columbia.
Target is now the largest seller of household items in the country, while Wal-mart has expanded its reach to include clothing, furniture and accessories.
The companies have been under fire for years over the quality and safety of their supply chains, which are also subject to high standards and labor standards.
The lawsuit argues that retailers’ lack of accountability for their suppliers’ safety and well-being has led to injuries and deaths.
The complaint accuses Walmart, Target and Costco of failing to ensure that suppliers adhere to minimum standards of safety and health and to comply with the law, including mandatory unionization requirements.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) The suit accuses Wal-Marts of failing in this regard by not certifying that its supplier has an independent safety and human resource director, or an independent third-party auditing firm.
The suit also accuses Target and Best Buys of failing by failing to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of safety violations at its suppliers’ stores.
Target has admitted to paying a $4 million fine to settle a similar suit, but the company has denied wrongdoing.
The Wal-Waters suit alleges that Walmart’s failure to comply has resulted in at least 10 deaths, and that the retailer has committed to improving its safety practices, particularly at its stores.
The group is also seeking $10 million in damages for medical expenses suffered by consumers who bought Wal-Walmart products.
Target and Wal-Eys have denied any wrongdoing.
Target and Costco also face a separate class-actions lawsuit filed in the district court by the same consumers, claiming that they have failed to maintain adequate workplace safety standards.
Walmart is now a defendant in the case, but is not directly named.