Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Look for the Union Label

We watched the Triangle documentary on HBO on demand last night. (Thanks to Meg for pointing it out!)I knew about the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory from my days as both a history major at UC Berkeley and as a US History teacher. But watching the story and hearing from the families made me both sad and angry. I kept saying to Mr. Hunting Creek, "This is why we need collective bargaining and unions! This is why we need regulations!" I was angry because I feel that the current political climate is trying to demonize Unions and destroy them for the benefit of the powerful. Look how they try to make the the non -Union workers hate the Union ones! Turning the workers against each other to get rid of benefits for everyone! (It's not a coincidence that the companies moved U.S. textile jobs overseas where there are fewer worker protections.) Don't even get me started about what's happening in Wisconsin. After working as a teacher, I can testify that it's not an easy job and is not very well paid. When I was a kid my parents had an office next to a Hawaiian shirt factory, and those women worked all day long turning out beautiful shirts at high speed- not an easy job. Their conditions were palatial compared to those in New York for those poor women. Watch the documentary. Write to your elected representative. Make your voice heard!
I'd like to force certain governors to sit and watch. It should be a job requirement.


Marie-Christine said...

Are you crazy? I haven't seen one of those on a new item in more than 20 years..

Beangirl. said...

If I thought certain governors would be moved in any way by watching.... however, I'm pretty sure that people who support putting more money into shareholders' pockets at the expense of people who perform the work that creates that money are unlikely to be moved.

Now, why those people who work think they will in some way benefit by putting money into shareholders' pockets... that part I will never understand. But it certainly isn't the only thing I don't understand about people's actions. People are quite often a complete mystery to me.

badmomgoodmom said...

I saved some of my college era clothes for my daughter to show her the union labels. There was a time when middle class people bought clothes made by other middle class people.

After Levi's closed down their union factories in SF to move to nonunion southern states (and eventually, China), I can't bear to buy Levi's. I know they are no worse than anyone else, but I remember the union fight in my hometown and Levi's response.

I remember being surprised by seeing a union label in a swimsuit I bought (from LE?) a few years ago.