NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Women's Rights Movement


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    designs posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 10:13:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 9917 of 19403
    Joined 6/17/2009

    101 years ago as Unions and safe working conditions gained more strength and public awareness a avoidable tragedy pushed government to create laws to protect workers where free market forces had failed. On March 25th 1911 a fire broke out in a 9 story sewing factory trapping the women workers on the 8th floor. A locked exit door, cramped burning stairways, an elevator that malfunctioned led to the deaths of 146 women, 50 of whom lept to their deaths and the youngest worker of 14. The two factory owners, who had fought unionization and 8 hour work days, escaped the fire and prosecution where the State failed to prove willful negligence.

    8 hour work days, livinging wages, safe working conditions, health care for workers ( private citizens raised money for the funerals of the 146 women) required the State and Federal governments to pass over 30 Laws to address worker's rights. Laisse Faire market forces vs the Public good.

    Band on the Run posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 20:15:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 4785 of 9876
    Joined 12/18/2010

    The building was in my immediate neighborhood so I walked by it frequently. We were taught about it in law schcool and college. Some documentaries grab my attention and sympathies. The neighborhood is so sedate now. It is hard to walk past it and imagine the horror that took place. The conditions were deplorable. I like hearing from the relatives of the deceased and disfigured. They were not impersonal market forces but very real humans.

    Band on the Run posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 20:17:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 4786 of 9876
    Joined 12/18/2010

    When I was growing up, the clothing manufacturing district was so busy. Now I believe there only offices.

    F Dagney posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 20:44:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 3453 of 4679
    Joined 8/14/2006

    History Channel, d? Edited to add:

    designs posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 23:34:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 9920 of 19403
    Joined 6/17/2009

    It was on PBS Sunday, incredible photographs of the women's marches for their rights to the actual fire and the haunting aftermath showing many of the victims and the firefighters who they tried to save. The fire ladders only reached a few floors and the women who jumped into the fire fighter's nets ripped the handles from the men's arms, they describe the men with bloody hands trying and failing to hold the handles as the women who were plunging 8 floors.

    F Dagney posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:35:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 3454 of 4679
    Joined 8/14/2006

    I saw one similar years ago, obviously not this one because this is only one year old. But this, and the special on US barons like Carniege, confirmed for me how conditions for the working poor are a 1000% better now than the turn of the century, as we were led to believe. The switch flipped for me on that and I developed no patience for any of the WTBS's myopic view on world history.

    Oh, and "The Jungle", Upton Sinclair...I almost didn't survive that, the story of immigrant workers in the Chicago stockyards.

    Unbelievably sad how life was for the poor workers before the changes you mentioned. Very brave those game changers...

    designs posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 00:43:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 9922 of 19403
    Joined 6/17/2009

    One interesting aspect of the program was the wives of the wealthy industrialist barons who had sympathy for the women's movement and supported it financially but some, and I think it was Mrs. Mellon, who balked at the sweeping social agenda that the women wanted. Very relevant to today.

    F Dagney posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 01:01:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 3455 of 4679
    Joined 8/14/2006

    The suffregettes, Margaret Sanger...strong brave women.

    poopsiecakes posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 01:21:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 3156 of 3045
    Joined 11/20/2009

    This story has been a source of great sadness and ultimately, inspiration to me. I'm glad I'm not the only one to be touched by it. I started a thread about it last year on the 100th anniversary but it got little attention...thanks for reminding everyone about it. In my opinion, this is a piece of history that shouldn't be forgotten.

    designs posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 02:16:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 9923 of 19403
    Joined 6/17/2009

    poopsiecakes- Glad this story got presented again, PBS tries very hard to keep this history before new generations. It was Mrs. Morgan who got cold feet at the pace of social demands. One thing struck me was the age range of the women in that factory, young girls to grandmothers, one Italian man lost all of the women in his family in the fire, wife and daughters. The exit had been locked because some women would try and leave their shift after 12-15 hours. The two bosses collected insurance money for the fire and fled the city

    poopsiecakes posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 02:50:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 3163 of 3045
    Joined 11/20/2009

    What this tragedy did to propel workers' rights is beyond measure. And the stories are truly heartbreaking. Why is it that something horrific needs to happen before good can happen? They had to sit at their machines for their entire shifts without even bathroom breaks. The doors were locked so that the supervisors could check their purses for scraps of material and thread before they would be allowed to leave. And these conditions were improvements over other places. It's sickening.

    designs posted Tue, 03 Apr 2012 10:06:00 GMT(4/3/2012)

    Post 9924 of 19403
    Joined 6/17/2009

    Once again health and social safety nets are being challenged here and around the world. Look at the mining accidents that took lives in the past few years and you see safety requirements being ignored. Alice Paul and Lucy Burns need mention here for their work on equal voting rights and their victory on June 4th, 1919, the 19th Amendment moves forward.


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