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Remembering the Triangle fire 99 years later

Today’s New York Times has a very poignant story about yesterday’s remembrances of the 1911 Triangle Shirt Factory fire, which killed 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women. Here is an excerpt from the story:

photo from the New York Times
photo from the New York Times

There were accounts of how the low-paid seamstresses who made ladies’ blouses — shirtwaists — were trapped in the blaze. How locked doors prevented many from fleeing to safety. How the firefighters’ tallest ladder reached only to the sixth floor, well below workers trying to stave off death two, three and four floors higher. How in desperation — does this sound familiar? — many jumped to their deaths.

There were speeches from labor leaders about how the disaster led to tougher safety regulations but also about how much remains undone. Locking in workers? Wal-Mart was found to have been doing that just a few years ago. Last month, in an echo of Triangle, 21 workers in Bangladesh died in a fire at a garment factory with locked exits.

And there was the mournful tolling of a firehouse bell, each ring accompanying a name, each name capturing a soul: Lizzie Adler, Rosina Cirrito, Yetta Goldstein, Gaetana Midolo, Simie Wisotsky and, every now and then, Unidentified Woman and Unidentified Man.

Click here to read the whole story.

Take a moment to remember those whose lives were ended because of inhumane labor practices and let those memories move us forward in our efforts to improve working conditions for all.