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The Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory fire serves as a reminder of why unions exist to protect workers. Today marks the 100th anniversary of the incident in New York City, which killed 146 immigrant workers within minutes, most of them young women. It was one of the biggest disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Garment workers were locked into the sweatshop during their shifts. Owners of the building basically did it so workers couldn’t take breaks. But when a fire broke out, they were unable to escape. New Yorkers watched in horror from below as workers leapt to their deaths from the high-rise above.
The fire at Triangle Waist Company sparked a massive overhaul of the labor code. New York State also adopted new fire safety laws that served as a model for the whole country.
The RNC is now going after President Obama over the Wisconsin labor disputes. In a newly released ad, the group claims he's ruining the economy by supporting unions.
Meanwhile, those on the left argue the President isn't doing enough for unions, citing a 2007 campaign promise to "put on a comfortable pair of shoes" and "walk on that picket line" with workers denied collective bargaining rights.
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The stand-off over collective bargaining rights between lawmakers continues in Wisconsin. And at this rate, they're not meeting in person anytime soon. But, the two sides agreed to meet on our show.
That's about where all the agreements end. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell talked to Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach and Republican state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald about how they can move past the gridlock.
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell airs at 10pm ET, Monday through Thursday on MSNBC. The show channels O'Donnell's extensive background in politics and entertainment.
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