One-hundred years ago 146 workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City. Today in downtown’s Market Square, union leaders joined together to say what it will take to make sure a similar disaster could never happen today.
The union representatives gathered at the Workers Memorial and expressed fear that today’s politicians are breaking down the workplace safety standards with consistent attacks on collective bargaining agreements. The unions say they rely on these contracts to achieve certain safety standards in the workplace.
Jack Shea, President of the Allegheny County Labor Council AFL-CIO says the Workers Memorial is a yearly reminder that the fight for workers rights rages on.
“You know every year on this date when we come here we mourn for the dead, fight for the living and we will continue to fight until one day we won’t have to come here anymore,” Shea says.
Frank Snyder, Secretary Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO also spoke at the event. He says the number of work-related deaths is more than the common person may realize.
“Think about this: Every day in this country 149 workers lose their lives as a result of their workplaces, 12 will die from injuries and 137 from diseases. Every day,” Snyder says.
According to the AFL-CIO, 166 workeRS in Pennsylvania were killed on the job in 2009.