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Legislators Cite Tragedy as Poignant Reminder of Why Labor Union Rights Should Remain Intact

Democratic Assembly members Linda Stender, Thomas Giblin, and Wayne DeAngelo today paused to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the tragic fire at the Triangle Waist Co. in New York City, which gave rise to labor unions and the eventual improvement of working conditions for countless Americans.

Stender, Giblin and DeAngelo have sponsored several measures (AR-145, AR-148) backing collective bargaining rights, both at home and in Wisconsin, and urging Governor Christie to negotiate in good faith with New Jersey’s unions.

“This was one of the greatest tragedies to beset New York City for many years,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “But what was born out of that tragedy was a decades-long fight that today has created vastly safer working conditions for millions of Americans. We must not forget the importance of the rights of unions or else we risk retreating to a time when the very safety of workers was at risk.”

“Today’s anniversary is an all-too-important reminder of why the rights of unions must be preserved,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Safety conditions in the work environment have improved tremendously over the past 100 years. But if we allow the rights of unions to be slowly chipped away at, or stripped completely, who’s to say we won’t quickly find ourselves in a place where hazardous or toxic conditions again resurface and prompt similar tragedies.”

“Labor unions and working conditions have come under attack from all quarters with countless governors looking to strip away collective bargaining rights and Republicans in Congress attempting to cut nearly $100 million from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We should pause today to commemorate this tragedy by remembering the price that was paid that day and how far we’ve come since then due to the evolution of workers’ rights.”