Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bloomberg booed at today's Triangle Shirtwaist ceremony

See video below of today's ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in Greenwich village. It was the deadliest industrial disaster in the city's history, in which more than a hundred seamstresses, most of them very young, died from the fire or jumped to their deaths when the exits were blocked. The disaster led to legislation requiring improved safety standards and working conditions.

The Mayor, by proposing the layoffs of thousands of teachers, most of them women, and the elimination of all seniority protections, is increasingly recognized as the enemy of labor rights and was appropriately booed. Meanwhile, his approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in eight years.


Dee Alpert said...

While Mayor Bloomberg's well-honed p.r. operation poo-poohs dangers to children in classrooms with PCB leakages from overhead lamps on the ground that the exposure is not dangerous, what about the prolonged PCB exposure experienced by teachers in these same rooms day after day, month after month and year after year? What about younger teachers and those who are pregnant?

Perhaps we should call it "killing them softly"?

It would be interesting to collect all the reports of NYC workers harmed or killed due at least in part to inaction on the part of this mayoral administration. I recall reports of the NYS Labor Dept. fining the NYC DOE because it violated safety laws re staff exposure to hepatitis in a D. 75 program in Queens, which stopped only when fines of $1,000 per week were levied on the NYC DOE. While not as headline-grabbing as a tragedy as ferocious as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, I would suspect the numbers of workers injured or killed via this kind of official flouting of basic safety laws and requirements are far, far greater.

The Bloomberg Administration's attitude toward worker occupational safety is in the negative numbers, as should those measuring his popularity.

richard barr said...

I was at the ceremony, and witnessed how everyone, whether an elected official, union person, worker, or descendant of a victim, who was introduced on the stage, or who was speaking at the podium, both before and after Bloomberg, was treated with respect, and he, by contrast, was steadily and loudly booed for his whole speech.

And yes, it has a lot to do with his oppositional stance toward the teacher's union, and there was a pro-union crowd there. But it's more than that. This was not just a pro-union event, but, relatedly, one about worker safety and building safety as well.

And here's a guy whose administration avoided being one of the defendants in the criminal negligence trial going on right now about the Deutsche Bank building fire due to a technicality in the law, despite the fact that his buildings and fire departments failed to inspect the site and discover that the pipe which would have provided water in case of a fire was not functioning. So the workers there and the firefighters called to fight the fire were not protected, and firefighters died. So when he talked about the safer conditions that the Triangle Fire brought about, his hypocrisy was obvious, and that led to booing as well.

Similarly, when he spoke of safety improvements that have been put in place at construction sites, and construction workers are falling to their deaths with regularity, in part because his buildings department is lax with inspections and enforcement, his hypocrisy was also apparent, bringing on more boos, imo.

So frankly, I can't imagine how he could have expected to get a friendly reception when he showed up to speak at that event, for a host of reasons.

Anonymous said...

Good, boo him more. I bet it didnt even sink in to his thick and arrogant head.

Anonymous said...

If the Admin's popularity and decency can only be measured by negative numbers, then it's negligence and sleaze that should be measured. What would accountability look like? Sewage treatment?

NYC Educator said...

It's utterly Orwellian that Bloomberg can muster the chutzpah to show his face at such an event, given his well-demonstrated desire to move working people back to having no rights and no power.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg want s to take away tenure just to save money. Now teachers can be hired and fired every few years to prevent them from ever reaching top salary. It's not about the kids but it's all about the money! Shame on everyone who has allowed this to happen because it's destroying education.

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