Senator Parker Speaks On Resolution J3716 - 101st Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

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    March 27, 2012

    101 years ago New York faced one of its most prolific industrial  disasters. One hundred 
    forty-six immigrant women were killed when a fire swept through the Triangle Shirtwaist
    Factory. What was most
    shocking was the discovery that the managers of the shirtwaist
    factory had ultimately condemned their vulnerable employees to death sentences by
    locking the doors to the stairwells and exits in order to prevent them from taking cigarette
    breaks during their shifts. This resulted in many of the employees being unable to escape
    and so of the one hundred and forty six that perished, sixty two persons jumped to their
    deaths as witnesses looked on unable to help. Attitudes to safety were drastically altered
    and from the ashes of this horrific event emerged the American Society of Safety Engineers.
    What remains imperative is that the people of the State of New York remember and 
    acknowledge the importance of this tragedy in the context of American history. That
    is why I introduced Senate Bill No. 1819A creating a commission to plan and execute an
    organized series of Triangle Shirtwaist Fire educational and tourism events.   The Triangle
    Shirtwaist Commission will make sure that
    the important lessons learned from this tragedy
    - in particular relating to the plight of immigrants, the labor movement and women's rights -
    will never be forgotten. This tragedy is representative of the need to acknowledge the past
    in order to effectively deal with the challenges of the future.