NEW YORK, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --This Friday, March 23 Amalgamated Bank, America's Labor Bank, and its employees are joining with local New York City community leaders and members of Workers United and other labor and progressive organizations to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The ceremonies, beginning at noon, will be held at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street in Manhattan, which is near the site of the devastating industrial disaster that killed 146 workers, most of whom were young immigrant women and girls. The site of the catastrophic factory fire on Washington Place is a National Historic Landmark.
In announcing the Bank's participation in the 101st commemoration, Amalgamated Bank's President and CEO Edward Grebow said, "We take time to honor the legacy of the victims of the Triangle Fire and recall that signal moment in the history of the American labor movement. This tragic event initiated a nationwide debate about workers' rights, representation and safety that continues today. The movement for workplace reforms was led by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, which later merged with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, the labor organization that founded Amalgamated Bank in 1923."
The fatal fire, which occurred on the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors of the space occupied by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, was one of America's worst workplace disasters. The loss of life in the fire and unsafe working conditions at the company led labor organizations to significantly increase their efforts to obtain better working conditions and fairer pay, as well as securing the right of workers to have a greater voice in how their workplaces are run. Labor unions formed alliances with progressive organizations and government leaders to help pass laws that today regulate workplace conditions and reduce the potential level of industrial danger in New York State and across the nation.
Equally important many union locals continue to inspect conditions at factories, plants, and facilities to monitor employers' compliance with safety and other requirements. The vigilant inspection of workplaces remains a critical responsibility of organized labor today.
Going further, labor leaders looked beyond the workplace to assist their members with such aspects of life as healthcare, housing, and personal finances. For example, The Amalgamated Clothing Workers started Amalgamated Bank so that workers would have easier and more affordable access to credit and banking services.
Amalgamated's employees are being given extended time off to attend the commemorative ceremonies. Also, the Bank is presenting a video in each of its branches and on its website and Facebook page to raise awareness about the factory fire and Friday's commemoration.
About Amalgamated Bank
Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank.
The Bank's corporate divisions include Commercial Banking, Commercial Real Estate Finance, Investment Management Division, Amalgamated Capital™, and Retail Banking. Amalgamated has 25 retail branches including 20 in New York City as well as branches in: Las Vegas, Nevada; Lyndhurst, New Jersey; Pasadena, California, and Washington, D.C.
For more information about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, the labor and workplace reforms that followed, and information about the commemoration, visit http://www.rememberthetrianglefire.org.
SOURCE Amalgamated Bank