Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
There they were, screaming from the windows, trapped like a herd, nowhere to go.
On the 8th and 9th floors, facing an inferno of heat and flames; a living a horror show.
Young immigrants, just trying to earn a living;
Brutally exploited, a place so unforgiving.
One door was blocked, the other was locked.
The elevator crashed, the fire escape collapsed.
Choking from the smoke, unable to breathe;
The fire engines came, but the ladders wouldn’t reach.
They started jumping, you could hear the thuds,
Sixty-two bodies of mangled limbs and blood.A hundred and twenty-nine women, seventeen men,
Never see their friends or their family again.
When you don’t have a union, you don’t have a chance;
Death and injury will come to dance.
The owners, Blank and Harris were arrested and tried;
With money and slick lawyers, justice was denied.
But when the dead were buried, a hundred-thousand came;
The New Deal was born, it was time for a change.
[Chorus] The Triangle Shirtwaist fire was a call,
To wake up the movement, they died for us all.
For a safer workplace, an escape from poverty,
A decent living wage, a life with dignity;
Fight for the living, mourn for the dead;
It’s time to do what Mother Jones said.
It’s either race to the bottom or take the struggle higher.
Don’t let the lessons be forgotten of the shirtwaist fire, Triangle Shirtwaist fire.
On the frontiers of the global wilderness,
At the Hameem factory inside Bangladesh,
A mirror image from a century before;
No fire escapes, a locked and blocked door.
Jumping from the windows of wage slavery,
Down into the sidewalks of eternity;
The causes are known, they can’t be ignored;
Another callous owner like all the ones before;
Twenty-eight more who didn’t to die
On the altars of greed, it’s just another sacrifice.
Workin for the Gap, Walmart and the rest
In places like Honduras, China, Bangladesh,
For twenty-eight cents an hours, seven days a week,
A prison tower in a sweatshop factory.
Behind the fancy clothes and toys they want to sell ya,
A hundreds of fires, they just don’t tell ya.
After decades of struggle, and makin’ it better than before,
They shut ‘em down and moved the jobs off shore
Out of sight, out of mind, they hope we never stop them;
As they wage their class war, and take us to the bottom.