The Flaming Sword of Justice, with Ben Wikler

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Syndication

On March 25, a clothing factory caught fire. Workers ried to escape, but they found the doors locked—and 146 of them died. 

Sounds like Bangladesh. But this happened in New York City. In 1911. 

What happened after that has been written in a thousand history books: a national outcry; new legislation protecting workers' rights; and a wave of union organizing that helped transform the lives of workers in this country. 

Fast forward a century, loop around to the other side of the globe, and you'll find almost exactly the same story—fire, locked doors, death—in Bangladesh last year. But then it got worse: the factory collapse this April, a disaster far far deadlier than either fire. A gruesome story. But maybe, just maybe, another turning point. 

Maybe you've noticed: in recent weeks, under massive public pressure, more than three dozen huge clothing companies have joined a legally binding agreement for radically improved worker safety protections. On this show, we talk to three people in the heart of that fight: a California fashion industry veteran; a Bangladeshi woman who started working in a clothing factory at age 12, became a union organizer by 16, and now is leading the global fight for worker's rights there; and an international worker's rights campaigner who is helping rack up the victories. Through their stories, you'll get a taste of a life and death struggle—and, amidst tragedy, a rising tide of hope.

Direct download: Sword_2013_06_05.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:28pm EDT