Wednesday, February 9, 2011
THE ADVENT OF AMERICAN UNIONS
MY MOTHER ARRIVED IN AMERICA AT THE AGE OF 16 ALL BY HERSELF. IT WAS 1910 AND SHE WAS A SEAMSTRESS. I WAS NEVER TOLD WHERE SHE WORKED, BUT I AM CERTAIN IT WAS AT LEAST NEARBY.
Jews and Labor
In March 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. Locked doors kept the immigrant workers in while a shoddy fire. escape and elevators left the 8th floor windows the only escape from the blaze. Almost 150 young immigrants died that day and the Triangle Shirtwaist factory became a rallying cry for the international labor movement. This March, almost exactly one century later, a leading voice in the American labor movement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, will join the JCPA Plenum to reflect on that pivotal event and the deep engagement of American Jews in the labor movement that spawned from it. Over the last 100 years, the collaboration between the Jewish Community and the Labor Movement has been integral to important reforms in this country’s working conditions, promoting civic and economic equality. With this unique opportunity to speak with such a prominent American labor figure, attendees at the JCPA Plenum will be given the chance to examine where that relationship should head next.