Saturday, August 25, 2007

When the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire killed hundreds of poor women workers in a building where the fire escape doors were chained shut, Franklin Roosevelt was in Washington, D.C. working as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Francis Perkins regretted that for the rest of her life.

She had worked for labor issues, in and out of government, for years when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened, and she knew that she had a teachable moment.

She took New York State politicians with powerful government jobs on detailed, in person tours of conditions of people who had jobs but no power.

FDR wasn't on the tours because he was in Washington.