Mary Anne Trasciatti, Chair of Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition spoke with America’s Work Force on March 18 to discuss the 100-year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Trasciatti spoke about the 100-year anniversary of a factory fire that sparked discussions of workers rights and protections. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred in 1911, killing 146 workers, mostly women and girls. Most were trapped in the factory due to inadequate exit options and poor working conditions. Trasciatti said that the factory space where the workers were at was on the seventh, eighth and ninth floor, with the fire taking place on the sixth floor, trapping the workers. Rescue efforts were futile as the firefighters ladders could only reach the sixth floor and their nets were not strong enough to stop the workers who jumped from the windows. She said that because of this tragedy, safer working conditions, dignity of work and worker rights became a major topic of discussion.
Dr. Sheila Elliott, Clinical Pharmacist Specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and proud member of AFGE Local 2328, discussed healthcare workers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She said that healthcare workers are not receiving protection from their employers and are short on many necessary items such as masks and sanitizers. Dr. Elliott said that healthcare employers are not providing workers with these necessary items, so they are going out and buying them for themselves, raising outrage. Elliot explained that employers should provide employees with these items, especially during a pandemic, since they are frequently exposed to people and could be at risk of contracting the virus.
AWF host Ed “Flash” Ferenc spoke about how federal agencies are dragging their feet in coming up with, or improving on existing protections for their workers during this pandemic.
To listen to this show, click the play button below.