Over 100 Years Ago, 123 Young Women Working in a Factory Never Came Home. It Changed Our Country

Photo courtesy the Kheel Center on Flickr

This post originally appeared at Upworthy.

Watch the video Brandon references.

I have a hard time watching this and not getting terribly angry. Those 123 young women and 23 men who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire on March 25, 1911, deserve to be remembered. But we’re watching it happen all over again in developing countries that supply Walmart, Gap, and other marketing and retail giants. Sorry/not sorry, I’m mad as hell, and I wish we could live in a world where we didn’t have to take this anymore. Warning: some violent images.

At 2:00, you’ll see the cascading effects that the fire had on workers’ rights and eliminating sweatshops in the United States. But watching it happen all over again in other parts of the world at 3:00 is heartbreaking. It was the same, exact circumstances as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, word for word. At 4:24, how do they calculate the “value” of a human life? And the images at 6:40—really? All for a $26 pair of pants?

Even as recently as 2013, there was the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh that killed 1,123 garment workers.

It has to end. Right now.

This blog originally appeared at aflcio.org on March 25, 2016.  Reprinted with permission.

Brandon Weber writes for AFL-CIO on labor and union history.

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Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.