From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The high cost of cheap shit

With the hundred and third anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire approaching I thought  it a good idea to review where we stand today in terms of labour rights for those who toil in the garment factories of the world.

First a little history on the Shirtwaist fire: ....Triangle Shirtwaist fire that claimed the lives of 129 women and 17 men,some as young as 14. They toiled under horrendous conditions working 14 hour days with but one half hour break.When fire broke out that fateful day, it spread quickly from one pile of fabric to another.To their horror these unfortunate workers found themselves unable to flee the flames because the doors were locked to keep labour organizers out , some took to the fire escape only to have it  collapse sending many plummeting  to their deaths on the pavement below.

  " I learned a new sound, a more horrible sound than description can picture. It was the thud of a speeding living body on a stone sidewalk. THUD dead! ... THUD dead!....THUD dead! "

Which leads me to this video I came across the other day about another garment factory fire, a hundred years later, this time in Bangladesh, As the narrator points out in 2010 the victims of this fire earn adjusted for inflation a tenth of what the victims of the Shirtwaist fire did in 1911.

THUD dead! ... THUD dead!....THUD dead!

Why it`s almost like they decided to erase the twentieth century.

The 2010 Dhaka fire was a fire in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 3 June 2010 that killed at least 124 people (117 on spot, others later in hospital)

 Garment factories in the Pakistani cities of Karachi and Lahore caught fire on 11 September 2012. The fires occurred in a textile factory in the western part of Karachi and in a shoemaking factory in Lahore. The fires are considered to be the most deadly and worst industrial factory fires in Pakistan's history,[3] killing 257 people and seriously injuring more than 600

 On 24 April 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial building, collapsed in Savar, a sub-district in the Greater Dhaka Area, the capital of Bangladesh. The search for the dead ended on 13 May with the death toll of 1,129


  1. Hi Laura, That video reduced me to tears such a waste of lives. It angers me that so many choose to ignore the costs associated with the things they buy.

  2. This is an enlightening video. Great post.