Saturday, March 26, 2011

100th anniversary of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire

A L O H A!

"He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
and he that gives only to the rich,
shall surely come to want."

(Proverbs 22:16) 

"I have always felt that it was important
that everyone who was a worker
join a labor organization.
IBEW Strike, 1941

I believe you should tell the story of injustices,
of inequalities, of bad conditions,
so that the people as a whole in this country
really face the problems 
that people who are pushed to the point of striking
know all about,
but others know practically nothing about.
CIO Convention, 1943


The unionization of domestic workers
will be salutary 
for both the employer and the employee. "

"My Day," 1946

Eleanor Roosevelt (all)

  Friday marked the 100th anniversary
of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire.

  146 people died that day,
most of them young immigrant women & children
(many of whom jumped to their deaths
to escape the flames).

The  March 25, 1911  fire started on the eighth floor of the Greenwich Village building  quickly engulfing the floors above.

Firefighters' ladders reached only to the sixth floor.

It was also common practice
for "bosses" to lock factory doors,
back in those good old days
before those nasty unions
forced us to work only 8-hour days
and to forswear child labor.

Let all that sink in for a moment.

The tragedy prompted many improvements
in fire safety across the country,
such as laws mandating fire drills. 

Days after the Triangle fire,
100,000 mourners marched in a funeral procession
through the streets of New York,
while another 250,000 lined the route.

Their grief was the foundation
for the right of garment workers to unionize.

The tragedy is credited with conferring a certain
"self evident" moral authority
to the U.S. labor movement.


"I cannot let my children or my grandchildren go back to that time; You know we are moving back. Not just unions, middle class in general is moving back in that direction. America has got to get out and protest."
One man told the AP at Friday's observance.