Skok v zgodovino: na današnji dan, 25. marca 1911, je v tragičnem požaru v tekstilni tovarni Triangle Shirtwaist v New Yorku umrlo 146 delavk in delavcev, večinoma mladih žensk in deklet. Ujete v zaklenjenih zgornjih nadstropjih desetnadstropne stavbe so se zadušile v ognju in dimu ali pa v obupu poskakale z oken gorečega nebotičnika. Šlo je za eno najbolj pretresljivih delavskih nesreč v ameriški zgodovini, ki je nato pripeljala do razmaha sindikalnih in delavskih gibanj ter odgovorne prisilila k izboljšanju tedanje delovne zakonodaje.
Tole je sijajen, pretresljiv tekst (sicer iz leta 2015, a zato ni nič manj aktualen), ki tehtno osvetli celotno tragično zgodbo.
“I learned a new sound, a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the sound of a speeding, living body on a stone sidewalk,” reported William Shepherd, a United Press writer who had just happened upon the scoop of his life. “Thud-dead, thud-dead, thud-dead. Sixty-two thud-deads. I call them that because the sound and the thought came to me at the same instant. There was plenty of chance to watch them as they came down.”
The fire companies that sped to the Triangle factory were not equipped with ladders that reached above the sixth floor, in a city that was already studded with skyscrapers. The policemen who watched the girls fall helplessly to the street below had been beating some of these same young women just the year before, during the nation’s first great garment strike, “The Uprising of the Twenty Thousand.”
There, police had ordered the pimps and gangsters they controlled to bring prostitutes to the picket lines to start fights and create a riot to be suppressed with beatings and arrests. While they did not succeed in breaking the strike, their efforts did help many New York garment shops—including the Triangle—succeed in withholding union recognition, firing and blackballing strikers, and preventing the sorts of workplace improvements that might have prevented those awful 15 minutes.”