Monday, March 26, 2007

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Still Relevant Today

As Mother Jones once said, "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." The story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is still relevant today.

The Uprising of 20,000 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, a fire broke out on the top floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. Firefighters arrived at the scene, but their ladders weren’t tall enough to reach the upper floors of the 10-story building. Trapped inside because the owners had locked the fire escape exit doors, workers jumped to their deaths. In a half an hour, the fire was over, and 146 of the 500 workers—mostly young women—were dead.
Many of us have read about the tragic Triangle fire in school textbooks. But the fire alone wasn’t what made the shirtwaist makers such a focal point for worker safety. In fact, workplace deaths weren’t uncommon then. It is estimated that more than 100 workers died every day on the job around 1911. Read entire article here

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