Saturday, December 14, 2013

Teaching Women How to Fly

Teaching Women How to Fly
by Ed Werstein

-          On December 14, 2010, more than 30 workers died and
100 were injured when they jumped from upper floor windows
to escape a garment factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Your great-grandparents marched
for safety, "Bread and roses!"
after the fire forced the women to jump
from windows at the Triangle shirt factory
in New York City  in 1911.

Your grandparents fought and died
for safety, "Bread and roses!"
at Flint in 1937.
Held the GM factory for weeks
to win their union.

Your parents picketed
time and again
for safety, "Bread and roses!"
to protect their unions
in what has become the Rust Belt.

And now women are flying again
falling from factory windows in Bangladesh
while you wait in lines at Walmart
to buy the shirts they were sewing
on the day before they died,
died to make the owners richer.

Owners whose ancestors owned
shirt factories in New York.
Owners who now are looking
for other women,
in even poorer countries,
to teach them how to fly.

~ first published in the Blue Collar Review