Question #3 – Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire that occurred in New York City on March 25th 1911, was truly a tragedy in American history. So many lives were lost due to circumstances that could have been avoided. This disaster left a lasting impact on society during that time and due to lessons learned, resulted in workplace changes and triggered many new laws. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a factory in New York City that was employed hundreds of young immigrant workers, mostly women, ranging in age from twelve to twenty five years old. All of these young women worked fourteen hour shifts for six days a week, with an hourly payment of thirteen cents an hour and unsafe working conditions. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris who were the owners of this factory put extreme pressure on the workers. There was no government oversight over working conditions, there were no laws protecting the workers, and there was physically no protection for the workers. During October of 1909 the workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory went on strike. When this happened, Blanck and Harris took the strike as a personal attack. They took it that way because they built the business from scratch; they believed they had achieved the American dream and from that they believed they were making America great. They were not going to be told how to run their business by a group of “factory girls”. They tried to break the strike by hiring replacement workers, prostitutes to start fights with the picketers and other thugs to beat up the workers; they also used their political connections and the police to arrest the strikers and take them to court. The Triangle workers held firm for 6 long weeks. This inspired other garment workers, leading to the greatest single work stoppage in city history; more than 20,000 workers walked off the job. Within a few days, some factory owners gave intragic eve to worker demands and allowed unionization. Harris and Blanck...
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