March 27, 2014
By Alan Schulkin
New York, NY – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial [TSFFM] completed its 13th annual fundraising campaign Tuesday March 25th at the NYC Fire Museum. The same evening, the organization honored three New Yorkers to its Clara Lemlich Class of 2014.
Brian Mittman, Esq., TSFFM's President said, "Our Scholarship fundraising has exceeded $400,000 for tuition grants to children of injured workers and continues a tradition of commemorating the 1911 factory fire with another distinguished group of Lemlich honorees."
"When the Triangle scholars Class of 2014-15 is selected this Fall, TSFFM will have awarded more than 200 individual tuition grants of $2,000 each to more than 85 students, attending 34 institutions of higher education in New York.
Historians credit Lemlich's impassioned speech at New York's Cooper Union on November 22, 1909 as the spark which ignited an industry-wide strike by garment workers for better wages and working conditions. The action resulted in an agreement in early 1910. Ironically and tragically, the Triangle factory owners refused to join in the agreement.
"This Class of 2014," said Ed Vargas, who is associated with Workers United and Chair of the Lemlich committee of TSFFM, "joins a distinguished honor roll of citizens whose dedication to improving workplace safety and benefits for working people echoes that of Clara Lemlich and signifies that there remains areas for improvement and a need for individuals willing to engage the task."
Similar tragic workplace events in third world countries take lives and destroy families while consumers enjoy lower cost goods. The Triangle fire was no different.