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Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

It was 100 years ago today that factory workers at the Triangle Waist Company in Lower Manhattan ushered in a new era of labor rights for employees across the United States.

The workers made up of mostly young Jewish and Italian women did not know they would be a part of history. On March 25, 1911 the workers were preparing to go home after working long hours at the factory when the unspeakable happened that day.

Fire engulfed the building trapping workers inside killing 146 people. Dozens jumped to their death in order to escape the burning building.

In the aftermath, a series of legislation was developed that changed labor laws within New York and across the US. The National Labor Relations Act was approved giving rights to workers and strengthening their right to organize.

On this day let’s remember those who lost their lives in that terrible fire.

Labor unions and its hard-working members have done and are doing their part to make this country great.

A century after the Triangle Waist  Company fire we still find ourselves in the midst of a political struggle to protect employees and their basic rights in the work place.

The IAFF will never stop fighting for you.

So please stay strong and support your fellow brothers and sisters across the labor movement as we continue to confront the political challenges ahead.

Comments (1) -

  • Karrie Boswell (Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters And Paramedics)

    3/28/2011 5:28:56 AM |

    Ms Blume,

    Thank you for publishing this.  There is a powerful documentary on HBO this month featuring the horrific events surrounding the Triangle fire.   It is available on demand for those members who have that feature. It is really hard to watch it and not have enormous empathy for those workers and their families.  There is also a message in for all labor leaders.  A message that says, “fight and never give up".  When you look at the issues that those workers had to deal with and did so fearlessly and unyieldingly it should serve as an inspiration to us all.  I can't imagine what would have happened if those labor activists had been scared to rock the comfort zones of the political leaders of that time.  I was inspired and would recommend it to everyone.  Industrial democracy lays at the foundation of this tragedy as well as events like the Lawrence textile strike and the Ludlow massacre.  I am going to be working to create a poster for our local that provides and annual timeline and description of some of the significant events that help shape the labor movement in this country.  

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