I just finished watching a documentary about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. And it reminded me the value of government regulation.
In it, it spoke of the primary reasons for the number of young women dying – as well as some men – that it was largely the result of blocked stairwells, doors opening in and not providing information about fire escape in the form of drills or documentation.
And these were because prior to the fire, they weren’t “regulations” but rather “safety suggestions”.
Let me back up a little. The year is 1909, the city is New York. Hundreds of young women are working in the garment factory, cranking out clothing by working 60, 70 and even 80 hours a week. Sitting in row upon row of sewing machines, nearly elbow to elbow, without the benefit of union representation. Don’t want to work 10 or 12 hours a day? Quit and they will fill your spot before you reach the front door. Complain about the cramped conditions and maybe they will move you to the machines were accidents take hands, arms and even your life. Stop coming to work and lose those meager paychecks and you and your family starve or lose your home.
Now think a little about the conditions under which (mostly) women work: there aren’t any fire drills to show you how to exit the building should a fire break out. Sprinklers? Fire alarms? They’re available, but not mandated, so of course the wealthy company owners aren’t going to spend money to have them installed. Fire escapes? Ditto for those as well. And to make things worse, lock optional escapes because it is mandated that someone had to check those women as they left, in case they opted to try and take home scraps of fabric.
146 young and not-so-young women and men died. Many of them by jumping from the ninth floor windows. Because New York wasn’t equipped to deal with buildings with so many floors, their ladders reached only to the third level. Once the fire broke out below them, they literally had no options.
Fortunately, something good came out of this. Regulations. Yes, REGULATIONS. Something to help safeguard the lives of the 99%. Something that the current administration in Washington wants to start chipping away at. To save money for the 1% (and worse, the über rich .01%). Because basic regulations don’t really apply to them other than it costs them money.
Trump is calling for the repeal of two regulations with the proposal of any new regulations and has been quoted as saying regulations need to be cut by 75%. All Americans should be aware and fight this. Once the regulations are overthrown, you will start to see things happening that common sense once mandated as against the people as a whole.Wanna see drilling in the Arctic, the wild places of Alaska, Yellowstone National Park? Want to see fracking in every corner of America? Want to see Americans without safety protocols in place in constructions, mining, drug production, farming, manufacturing, automobile emissions, etc., etc., etc.
I’m really worried about our future. How about you?