Labor Day

Posted September 13, 2021

Brothers and Sisters,

Last weekend we celebrated Labor Day with a 4-day weekend.  As I was going through Instagram, I saw a post from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).  It said;

“Labor Day is not about hamburgers, hot dogs, or a sunny day off.  It’s about you.  It’s about the worker.  It’s about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  It’s about the Ludlow Massacre.  It’s about your honor.  It’s about your dignity.” AFL-CIO

I looked up the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire ad this is what I found;

  “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of ManhattanNew York City, on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city, and one of the deadliest in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and girls and 23 menwho died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Italian or Jewish immigrant women and girls aged 14 to 23 of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was 43-year-old Providenza Panno, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and Rosaria “Sara” Maltese.

The factory was located on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the Asch Building, at 23–29 Washington Place, near Washington Square Park. The 1901 building still stands today and is now known as the Brown Building. It is part of and owned by New York University.

Because the doors to the stairwells and exits were locked a common practice at the time to prevent workers from taking unauthorized breaks and to reduce theft[8] – many of the workers could not escape from the burning building and jumped from the high windows. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.” Wikipedia

Over the last 110 years we have come so far from what happened in this tragic fire.  We have 2 mandatory breaks and no less than a half hour lunch.  We have designated days off, holidays and 4-day weekends that if we work any of the 4 days we are paid at double time.  Over the years through labors solidarity, hard fought battles and never give up attitude, has given us worker’s rights, dignity and a living wage.  All of this came at a high price, many people lost their lives during the struggle.  Now a days it’s a struggle to get members to vote, attend meetings or help friends of labor campaign.  If we keep going down this path, we can lose a lot.  I hope to see you at the next union meeting (via Zoom) on October 7th.  You can reach me at (916)407-8279

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