State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli will join a contingent of New York labor and religious leaders on a trip to Bangladesh this holiday season to meet with survivors of the factory collapse that occurred six months ago in Dhaka, killing more than 1,000 people and marking the deadliest garment factory accident in the country’s history.

DiNapoli is paying his own way for the trip, according to his office. Also traveling with the comptroller are RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

The group has decided to depart on Black Friday – the busiest shopping day of the year here in the US, and the official start of the holiday gift-buying season – as a symbolic gesture to highlight the need for better worker protections abroad and more awareness by retailers here at home.

While in Dhaka, the group will also meet with H&M officials and labor leaders who were involved in getting global retailers to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety and improve conditions for garment workers. Their itinerary for this rather short trip calls for meetings on Sunday, Dec. 1 through Tuesday, Dec. 3.

RWDSU spokesman Dan Morris (who I spoke with briefly this afternoon while he was waiting on line to get his visa) said the purpose of the trip is to gather testimonials to bring back to New York that will help raise awareness about the accord, and also encourage shoppers to support retailers that have already signed onto it.

“We plan to gather the latest on-the-ground evidence and information on progress that has been made since the Rana Plaza factory collapse,” Appelbaum said.

“We want consumers to realize that how they spend their money during the holiday shopping season impacts the lives of workers in Bangladesh. Consumers should know what pro-union companies like H&M are doing to raise standards for global brands and retailers whose factories are in Bangladesh.”

DiNapoli has long had a close relationship with organized labor – a fact that has sometimes put him at odds with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The unions worked hard on his behalf in the 2010 election, and contributed to his narrow victory over his Republican challenger, Harry Wilson.