It was 98 years ago today that the Triangle Shirtwaist fire needlessly killed 146 workers, mostly immigrant women, due to an appalling lack of workplace, safety, and fire standards. About 1/3 of those killed fell or leaped to their deaths, trapped on the upper floors of the building and locked in, with no hope of escape and without fire ladders that could reach them. It prompted many groups, especially labor and women’s rights organizations, to vigorously push for long overdue reforms to ensure that such a appalling disgrace would not again occur.
Also on the labor front, call your Congressional representatives and senators to urge them to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. While our generation has not faced anything quite as disastrous as the Triangle Shirtwaist tragedy, there have been plenty of incidents, not the least of which were the mine tragedies a couple years ago in addition to the current financial crisis, to amply illustrate the need to effectively check big business and capital with the power of everyday people.