The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Consequences

The article recounts the Triangle waist company fire incidence of March 25, 1911. It recollects stories from individual witnesses and news articles from New York Times and Literary Digest. It also includes the activities before the fire, where Clara Lemlich organized a strike in 1909 as an executive member of Local 25, which represented the shirtwaist workers. Clara Lemlich’s story of life in the shop, in which she gives a narration of the general conditions of the factory, sets off the article. Lemlich’s account is then followed by Samuel Gompers’ recount of the Cooper Union meeting of 1909. The report then proceeds to include a narration of the shirtwaist factory fire incidence according to different individuals’ points of view. First off, on March 26, 1911, New York Times article gives a foundation of the whole event. It indicates that three top levels of the ten-story building were burned down the previous day and 141 individuals got burned or jumped to the pavement to death (Stein 214). The article also gives an account of witnesses, survivors, and rescuers about the incident, and Literary Digest’s news story, which indicates that no individual was found guilty of the fire incident.

The article presents a series of articles and analyses of the Triangle waist factory incidence. For example, in the stories of survivors, witnesses, and rescuers, the New York Times reviews the accounts of Cecilia Walker. She survived the tragedy with a bruised body and burned hands. It is reported that she slid down the elevator at Washington Place, and she was on the eighth floor when the incident occurred. The article also gives accounts of eyewitnesses, who maintained that some workers jumped from the building before the firemen arrived at the scene.

Moreover, Samuel Levine, one of the machine operators at the factory, also gave his account of what transpired. He maintained that the elevator made one trip and did not stop at the ninth floor where he was posted (Stein 219). The Literary Digest news article’s story nine months after the incident is also featured in the article. It points out the actual number of people that died to be 147 and furthers that no one was found guilty of the factory fire.

The author’s argument is centered around the Triangle waist company, the incidences before the March 1911 fire incident, and the mistreatment of workers in the sweatshops. He maintains that before the fire incident, many clothing employees were never organized into specific unions. One of the instances given by the author as an example is the Cooper Union meeting held by garment employees in New York. At the meeting, Clara Lemlich called for a general strike, and many garment workers followed. Following the meeting, a historic arrangement formed a grievance framework in the garment factories was achieved with the garment employees’ strike of 1910. Admittedly for the employees, many shops remained under the control of corrupt entrepreneurs who ignored the entire workforce’s rights and subjected their workers to harsh working environments. These arguments point to the mistreatment of workers in the garment factories and their experiences working for these factories, including the Triangle waste company. The factory later experienced a fire incidence that would change the general view of the working conditions in factories across the city and all over the country.

No one heard the shirtwaist factory workers despite their plight regarding the overall working conditions. The author is trying to establish the consequences of poor working conditions at the factory. The workers held a series of strikes to channel their grievances about poor pay and working conditions, but they were ignored. The death of a large number of factory workers at the shirtwaist factory in 1911 shed light on the challenges faced by the workers. The supervisors, who were from the middle class, did not care about the working conditions at the factory, but all that took a turn after the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire incident. The author is trying to use the different information stories and primary sources to show all these aspects.

My thought on the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire incidence is that it opened people’s eyes to the hazardous and awful environments that different factory workers experienced before. On March 25, 1911, the Shirtwaist Fire was among the world’s most dangerous workplace disasters in U.S. history, killing 146 employees, the majority of whom were female immigrant workers. The fire became so dreadful that it took the city’s residents and the whole country by surprise, eventually leading to changes in safety laws and more conscientious initiatives to impose them. The welfare system of legislation passed into law in the aftermath of the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire emerged from decades of requests made by employees and their labor organizations. It represented a vision for the future of administration. It was a watershed moment that opened the way for historic labor laws in New York and, subsequently, on a national basis. It resulted in New Deal pay rates, working hours, workplace conditions, and the right to join a trade union.

Work Cited

Stein, Leon. “Out of the Sweatshop: The Struggle for Industrial.” Democracy. New (1977).

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BusinessEssay. "The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Consequences." October 18, 2022.