Essay On The Triangle Fire

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Matt Vignola Ms. Sassaman United States History I March 17, 2014 Changes in Workplace Environment Brought by the Triangle Fire In 1901, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory opened on the 8th floor of the Asch Building in the Greenwich Village neighborhood in lower Manhattan. By 1908, the company also occupied the 9th and 10th floors; however, the owners Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were notorious for ignoring fire and safety standards (The Triangle Factory Fire; von Drehle). There was a severe lack of regulations in regards to fire safety for both the physical factory conditions, as well as those for the workforce and the ones that were in place were mostly ignored (“Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire”). The disregard for these regulations lead to the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which lead to the death of 146 employees on March 25, 1911 (Marrin 1). This tragedy brought many necessary changes to fire safety rules and regulations regarding the American work environment. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire forced multiple demands for improvements in Gilded Age workplace safety conditions, which went on to cause lasting improvements in the working conditions of the United States. At beginning of the 20th century, not much thought was given to fire safety and standards in the workplace, especially in industrial factories. In addition, there was minimal consideration for the employees in these work environments. From the start of the Gilded Age to the turn of the century, roughly 12 million immigrants, most from Europe, came to America. Throughout the next decade there were as many as 9 million additional people who immigrated to the United States. A majority of those people came through Ellis Island in New York City (Marrin 4... ... middle of paper ... ...r Labor Standards Act, which established minimum wage and work hour regulations and child labor laws (“Workplace Safety: Need To Know”). Though a tragic event, some argue that the fire was a necessary evil due to all the changes it brought. The fire brought to light the fact that factory employees could form unions and fight the oppression they faced in the workplace. The president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, David Dubinsky, stated, “These were our martyrs because what we couldn't accomplish by reasoning with the bosses, by pleading with the bosses, by arguing with the bosses, they accomplished with their deaths,” at the commemoration for the 50th anniversary of the fire (The Triangle Factory Fire). In conclusion, the fire brought a legacy that has been, and will be, felt throughout all the workplaces in the United States for years to come.

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