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 The Triangle Fire - 100 Years Ago Today

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
mouse Posted - 03/25/2011 : 12:24:54 PM
This is what we had before unions and safety regulations:

"I learned a new sound -- a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk," Shepherd wrote. "Up in the [ninth] floor girls were burning to death before our very eyes. They were jammed in the windows.
"Down came the bodies in a shower, burning, smoking-flaming bodies, with disheveled hair trailing upward."

Shepherd reported 62 people jumped to their deaths. Another 50 burned bodies were found on the 9th floor. In all 146 Triangle workers, mostly young, immigrant women -- many just teenagers -- were killed.
http://money.cnn.com/2011/03/24/news...dex.htm?hpt=C1

........................................................................................................................
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. Antoine de Saint Exupery
17   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
mouse Posted - 03/26/2011 : 1:09:59 PM
quote:
Originally posted by NastiJ

[quote]Originally posted by mouse

[No, my point is that "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, so using that quote is sort of meaningless. The unions and safety regulations DID do a lot of good, and changed a lot of conditions, just not that.



I'm pretty sure that I didn't state, or even imply, that unions and safety regulations eliminated that sound. After all, it's heard when there's a bad fire in a multi storey building, not just on 9/11.

I used the quote because it was from a firsthand witness, and I think there's always something particularly evocative and valuable in the emotional reaction of someone who actually witnesses an event, as compared to the more clinical description someone might write a hundred years later.

I'm sorry that the use of the firsthand account was objectionable in any way.

........................................................................................................................
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. Antoine de Saint Exupery
flicka Posted - 03/26/2011 : 12:57:18 PM
Sorry, Nancy, I did read too much into your post. That was all I could think of that would tie those two events together. I hope we can agree that both of us were not writing at our best that day.

flicka
NastiJ Posted - 03/26/2011 : 12:29:21 PM
quote:
Originally posted by mouse

quote:
Originally posted by NastiJ

Well, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.

Nancy J.



I'm not sure what your point is - that, because a bunch of murderers killed a lot of people by flying planes into the twin towers, there's no point to having safety regulations and unions protecting workers?



No, my point is that "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, so using that quote is sort of meaningless. The unions and safety regulations DID do a lot of good, and changed a lot of conditions, just not that.

Nancy J.

"Learning how to knit was a snap.It was learning how to stop that nearly destroyed me." Erma Bombeck
NastiJ Posted - 03/26/2011 : 12:24:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by flicka



Nancy, I don't think that honoring the victims of one tragedy does dishonor to the victims of another.


Where, and how, do read "honor and/or dishonor" into my post?

Nancy J.

"Learning how to knit was a snap.It was learning how to stop that nearly destroyed me." Erma Bombeck
mouse Posted - 03/26/2011 : 09:51:19 AM
Shaggy, I love you.

........................................................................................................................
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. Antoine de Saint Exupery
shaggy Posted - 03/26/2011 : 05:19:53 AM
quote:
Originally posted by eldergirl

No, Melinda and Mouse, Amanda, and Flicka, I think Nancy was just pointing out that we, in our lives, have heard that terrible sound also--it was the first thing I thought of when I read Mouse's initial post.
It is a horrible, heartbreaking sound, and we could see souls holding hands and jumping from so high up.....we have lived and heard that sound.

Mouse's quote was from an article by a Mr. Shepherd from just after the Triangle Factory fire. ( I think, am I right, Mouse?)

Anyway, I think Nancy was affected deeply by our more recent hearing of that terrible sight and sound. Nothing argumentative.

I know I will get in trouble, but to some of us, I just want to say, "lighten up!"

Anna

Life is beautiful.



Anna, I am waiting for NastiJ explanation. The above mentioned think and also some of us, are making me think you are being argumentative.

All the posts I read were asking for NastiJ to explain, I don't see why we need to lighten up. However if some of you feel that way, I will try my very best.

BTW............ Milinda has been posting on KR for a veryyyyyyyy long time, I would think KR members would know how to spell her name. This has happened in threads that have been argumentative.

Now I will take my stress med for today.

shaggy

every dollar makes Betty smile





kkknitter Posted - 03/26/2011 : 04:37:51 AM
Some pictures from the commemoration.

http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/scenes-from-the-ceremonies/

I'm working on it Eldergirl.
mouse Posted - 03/25/2011 : 9:26:55 PM
quote:
Originally posted by eldergirl

I know I will get in trouble, but to some of us, I just want to say, "lighten up!"



This is very clever - you get to criticize, and if someone responds, you can say "I knew I'd get into trouble!" It's a win-win; I'll have to remember the technique.

........................................................................................................................
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. Antoine de Saint Exupery
Milinda Posted - 03/25/2011 : 8:38:48 PM
Anna wrote:
I know I will get in trouble, but to some of us, I just want to say, "lighten up!"


:: Ummm, why would you get in trouble?

If that was indeed what Nancy meant, it was not phrased in such a way that was cohesive to the original topic, as far as I was concerned. I was not casting aspersions on anyone, I was just wondering if I had missed something.

And since you wrote collectively to us all, I would have to come to the conclusion you are encouraging me to lighten up and okay, I'll work on it.

M L
eldergirl Posted - 03/25/2011 : 8:01:53 PM
No, Melinda and Mouse, Amanda, and Flicka, I think Nancy was just pointing out that we, in our lives, have heard that terrible sound also--it was the first thing I thought of when I read Mouse's initial post.
It is a horrible, heartbreaking sound, and we could see souls holding hands and jumping from so high up.....we have lived and heard that sound.

Mouse's quote was from an article by a Mr. Shepherd from just after the Triangle Factory fire. ( I think, am I right, Mouse?)

Anyway, I think Nancy was affected deeply by our more recent hearing of that terrible sight and sound. Nothing argumentative.

I know I will get in trouble, but to some of us, I just want to say, "lighten up!"

Anna

Life is beautiful.
Milinda Posted - 03/25/2011 : 4:10:27 PM
[quoteWell, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.

Nancy J.
[/quote]

:: Nancy, I'm confused by your post. The two aren't related incidents in the least that I can think of. Please explain further.

M L
Atavistic Posted - 03/25/2011 : 3:05:55 PM
quote:
Originally posted by NastiJ

quote:
Originally posted by mouse

This is what we had before unions and safety regulations:

[i]"I learned a new sound -- a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk," Shepherd wrote.


Well, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.



Are you saying the root cause of 9/11 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire are one and the same? Because if not, your comment seems entirely out of place and like comparing apples and oranges.

"I'm telling you, we're in a M. Night Shyamalan flick."
mouse Posted - 03/25/2011 : 3:03:01 PM
quote:
Originally posted by NastiJ

Well, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.

Nancy J.



I'm not sure what your point is - that, because a bunch of murderers killed a lot of people by flying planes into the twin towers, there's no point to having safety regulations and unions protecting workers?

........................................................................................................................
You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. Antoine de Saint Exupery
flicka Posted - 03/25/2011 : 2:26:30 PM
quote:
originally posted by NastiJ:

Well, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.


Nancy, I don't think that honoring the victims of one tragedy does dishonor to the victims of another.

flicka
kkknitter Posted - 03/25/2011 : 2:03:14 PM
In this article you can find a link to the story of this guy, an amateur historian, who has worked very hard on trying to identify some of the women from the Triangle factory.

http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/a-century-later-recalling-a-fires-toll/

Kristina
NastiJ Posted - 03/25/2011 : 1:15:32 PM
quote:
Originally posted by mouse

This is what we had before unions and safety regulations:

[i]"I learned a new sound -- a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk," Shepherd wrote.


Well, unfortunately, "unions and safety regulations" didn't eliminate that sound, which was heard again on 9/11.

Nancy J.

"Learning how to knit was a snap.It was learning how to stop that nearly destroyed me." Erma Bombeck
shaggy Posted - 03/25/2011 : 1:11:50 PM
Mouse thanks for posting this, I read about this early this morning and it has been on my mind all day.

I couldn't get your link to work for me but this is what I read this morning.

100 Years After the Triangle Fire: Are Labor Rights Moving Backward?
By BRUCE WATSON
Posted 6:30 AM 03/25/11 Economy, People

One hundred years ago this month, New York City's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory burst into flames, killing 146 garment workers and fundamentally changing the way America viewed its laborers. In the months after the blaze, dozens of workplace regulations were passed, helping to make factories much safer. More importantly, the Triangle fire inspired a massive unionization push that paved the way for the development of America's strong middle class.

A century after the blaze, however, many of the worker protections that grew out of the Triangle fire are under attack. Today, laborers from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Trenton, N.J., to Madison, Wis., are fighting for many of the same protections the Triangle's workers desperately craved. And, like the seamstresses who perished 100 years ago, they are still being vilified by politicians -- and sacrificed on the altar of lower taxes and cheaper consumer goods.

The Triangle Fire

On March 25, 1911, a fire tore through the top three floors of New York's Asch Building, home of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. On the eighth floor, where the blaze began, garment workers and their supervisors quickly filed out. Two floors up, the company's owners -- Max Blanck and Isaac Harris -- were notified by telephone of the fire and escaped by jumping to the roof of a nearby building.

But on the ninth floor there were no phone calls, fire alarms or other warnings. In fact, the 200 seamstresses who worked there -- many of them new immigrants to America -- didn't realize there was a fire until smoke began pouring in from the floor below. Within a half hour, more than half of those women were dead: They had either died in the flames, been caught in the building's elevator shaft, or lay mangled and bleeding on the sidewalk below after jumping from the windows to escape the fire. The last victim, who fell 90 feet, died five days later. Six of the victims were burned so extensively that they would remain unidentified for almost a hundred years.

A year before the Triangle fire, the factory had made headlines when its workers went on strike, demanding higher wages, shorter hours and the right to unionize. A few weeks after they walked off the job, the workers were joined by 20,000 of their fellow shirtwaist seamstresses. The "short revolt," as it later came to be known, ended in December 1909, when factory owners agreed to give the strikers shorter hours and better wages. But the companies refused to budge on the seamstresses' biggest demand: the right to organize into unions. In fact, garment workers unions didn't really gain power until after the Triangle fire, when the horrific tragedy brought national attention to the plight of New York's factory workers.


Out of Triangle's Embers

In the months after the fire, the New York State Legislature launched a factory safety commission and passed more than 30 laws reforming the workplace. Among other things, those laws set standards for minimum wages, maximum hours and workplace conditions. New York's fire safety commissioner also began inspecting the city's factories, ultimately finding that hundreds were unsafe. Between the stronger laws, increased enforcement and the 1911 development of the American Society of Safety Engineers, New York became a model for factory workers' rights.

A hundred years after the Triangle fire, however, many of the inequities that led to the disaster still exist -- but with some important changes. As Richard Greenwald, author of The Triangle Fire, the Protocols of Peace and Industrial Democracy in Progressive Era New York, points out: "Industry's solution has been to outsource production to other countries." After all, while the Triangle fire led to strict regulations governing workplace safety in the U.S., these rights aren't available to many workers overseas. Not surprisingly, this has led to a mass migration of textile jobs: today, roughly 95% of all clothing sold in the U.S. is made overseas. In 2010, that translated into $93.2 billion in clothing and textile imports, according to Women's Wear Daily.

In addition to outsourcing production, American companies are outsourcing labor exploitation -- and workplace disasters. This trend was thrown into sharp relief on Dec. 13, 2010, when a fire tore through the ninth and tenth floors of the That's It Sportswear Limited factory, part of a huge complex located outside Dhaka, Bangladesh. Within minutes, 28 people were dead and hundreds were injured in a disaster that bore some eerie parallels with the Triangle fire. The workers in Dhaka had recently protested the low minimum wage and poor workplace safety standards in their country. And, like the Triangle workers, they had discovered Bangladesh's police firmly supported the factory owners: Three workers were killed and 100 were injured in protests that had occurred the day before the fire.

But the workers' protests were only the beginning of the similarities. As Triangle's Harris and Blanck had done a century before, the factory owners in Dhaka had locked some of the building's exits to prevent workers from stealing merchandise. And, like the Triangle factory, the facility in Bangladesh had insufficient emergency gear and fire escapes. Finally, just as some of the Triangle fire's victims desperately attempted to escape the flames by jumping from windows, many of the Bangladesh victims leaped to their deaths rather than burn.

There are other similarities between Triangle and That's It Sportswear: In Triangle, immigrant women regularly worked 14-hour days to make blouses that sold in upscale boutiques on New York's classy "Ladies' Mile" and at high-end stores across the country. The Bangladeshi factory's workers produced clothes for The Gap (GPS), Abercrombie and Fitch (ANF), Wrangler (VFC), J.C. Penney (JCP), Target (TGT) and Osh Kosh B'Gosh (CRI). At the Triangle factory, wages topped out at $2 per day; in Bangladesh, the state-mandated minimum wage is $43 per month -- roughly $2 per day -- although many factory owners pay less.

Everything Old Is New Again

But one doesn't have to go to Bangladesh to see workers fighting for the same rights won by the Triangle factory's seamstresses. Wisconsin's recent struggle revolved around state attempts to ban collective bargaining, the same right that Triangle's owners repeatedly refused to extend to their workers. This is not a minor consideration: as international labor relations expert Edward Weisband notes, public service unions like the teachers' union in Wisconsin, arose out of "concern over the ability of public service workers to strike." Policemen, teachers, firemen and other urgent service workers needed to be able to collectively bargain, in part because a strike -- one of the other major union tools for exerting pressure -- could seriously threaten society's safety.

In recent decades, however, laws have been passed making it illegal for public employees to strike. Spared that worry, politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have raised the specter of intransigent or rigid unions refusing to bend. But Weisband points out these concerns are "belied by the willingness of public sector unions to make numerous major concessions to state governments." Considering that Wisconsin teachers are legally barred from striking and are eager to compromise with legislators, it's worth asking why Gov. Walker -- like the Triangle's owners Blanck and Harris -- is so dead-set against collective bargaining.

As Richard Greenwald notes, it's hard to underestimate the impact of unions on the history of the United States. During the 1940s and 1950s, he says, "unions were responsible for the formation of the middle class. By negotiating wages, benefits and hours, they made it possible for many workers to achieve membership in the middle class." Six decades later, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie argues exactly the opposite point, claiming that wage protections and other benefits were tanking the Garden State's budget. Or, as he put it, "the unions are trying to break the middle class in New Jersey."

Discussing the Triangle fire, American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers allegedly said, "Rarely do you get an opportunity for such legislative reform, but women had to burn first in order for this to happen." With worker rights under attack across the United States, in Bangladesh and elsewhere, it's worth asking what it will take to shift the tenor of the national conversation.

For his part, Greenwald offers measured optimism: "The attention surrounding Wisconsin's teacher protests signal a turning point," he says. "Hopefully, it won't take another catastrophe to remind us of the lessons of the Triangle fire."




See full article from DailyFinance: http://srph.it/ej7JEs


shaggy

every dollar makes Betty smile






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