The federal government of the United States. Although,

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The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a sweatshop that mass produced a popular clothing item called, shirtwaist dresses. The majority of the workers were women and young girls. The average age consisted of women in their teens and twenties. Most of these factory workers were Russian Jew and Italian immigrants. They worked inside of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory sweatshop for long hours, low pay, and in hazardous conditions. On March 25, 1911 a fire broke out on the eighth floor of the Asch Building in New York City. This horrific fire greatly impacted the nation. The death of 146 workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire were caused by negligence on the part of the owners of the factory and the laissez-faire practices of the state of New York and the federal government of the United States. Although, there was no compromise at the time following the fire the state and federal government imposed numerous safety laws and regulations. Industrialization played a major role in the development of the United States from 1865 to 1914. During the period of American industrialization factories began to mass produce goods. Facing difficulties in Europe, many Europeans sought refuge and work in the United States. The “new” immigrants, who were unskilled and illiterate, found jobs in factories(Davidson and StoffPage 603). In an effort to increase profits, industrialists forced their workers to work for long hours, with minimum wages, and sometimes under hazardous conditions. Some Americans began to form Labor Unions. The purpose of Labor Unions was to protect workers rights. When talks and compromise failed, Labor Unions would strike to achieve their goal. Different Labor Unions had differential beliefs. The Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) were two Labor Unions that advocated for shorter hours, better pay, and imporved working conditions, The Knights of Labor believed in no child labor, and equal pay for immigrants, African Americans, and unskilled workers. They believed both men and women should also get equal pay. However, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) only hired skilled workers. They advocated for shorter hours, better pay, and improved working conditions(Davidson and StoffPages 591, 592).The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) were particular Labor Unions for women in the garment industry. These Labor Unions went on many strikes to benefit their conditions. In November of 1909, 20,000 factory workers from 500 different factories did not attend work. They went on a massive strike in New York. The workers appealed for a 52-hour workweek, extra pay for overtime work, and a 20 percent pay raise. These workers were lead by the ILGWU. Just after 48 hours of striking 70 of the smaller businesses acknowledged the demands, while the larger factories decided to ignore them. These strikers were labeled as “street walkers,” because they were picketing signs. The NYPD started to arrested the strikers. Judges would fine them and send some to labor camps. This strike would continue until February 1910. Most of the factories had arranged an agreement with their workers, but the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory refused to negotiate(“The Fire”). The owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Max Blanck and Isaac Harris are to blame for the fire due to their negligence. These two owners were known as the “shirtwaist kings,” did not take care of the factory nor their workers. Smoking was not allowed in the building, but owners did not enforce this rule. Since such rules were not ordained the fire started from a cigarette butt that was tossed inside of a bin. The fire spread quickly on the flammable fabric. There were no sprinkler systems installed, as well as water hoses rusted shut in the building. This prevented a way for the workers to put the fire out. The Asch Building only obtained one fire escape which crumbled immediately, making it impotent. Workers sprinted to the elevator, but only twelve people could fit inside. After four trips the elevator had collapsed. The owners did not practice fire drills or provide safe exits, because it would take time out of work being done. They would also lock all doors in the factory to prevent workers from stealing the material and taking breaks. Isaac Harris admitted that there was less than $25 of stolen goods over the years and that it had become an obsessive concern(“The Triangle”). As the fire arose workers were clueless of how to escape. The workers banged on the locked doors, anxious to save their lives. Unwilling to be burnt to death, they jumped out of the windows instantly dying from the impact of the pavement. Max Blanck and Isaac Harris did not take precautions in advance. They truly only cared about profit. Since so many workers had died because of their negligence, they are to blame.The state of New York and the federal government of the United States were equally to blame for this fire. The government was laissez-faire, meaning that they did not interfere. In the Asch Building the government took no action for the safety of the workers. -need assistance on this paragraphTwo weeks after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire two of the factory owners, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were convicted of manslaughter in 1911. 103 witnesses were brought to the stand by the prosecutor, Charles Bostwick. He claimed he would prove that the Washington Place door was locked on the ninth floor to prevent the workers from escaping. He mainly wanted to prove how the locked door caused the death of Margaret Schwartz(‘The Triangle”). The jury finally concluded to the ruling of not guilty. One juror stated, “I believe that the door was locked at the time of the fire, but we couldn’t find them guilty unless we believed they knew the door was locked”(“The Triangle”).  Blanck and Harris would have to pay $75 per victim. However, they got $60,000 for insurance. This meaning they earned $411 per victim. Later on in 1913 Blank would be fined $20 for locking doors in another factory.After the tragic fire safety laws and regulations were made by the state and federal government. The Legislature in Congress immediately set up an investigation to see what caused fire. While exploring the factory the investigators found many safety and health violations. After 222 witness interviews and investigating 1,836 places of businesses there was a proposal by the Commission for certain laws. From 1911 to 1914, there were 36 new authorized laws to improve the labor codes of the state. This was known as the “the golden era in remedial factory legislation”(Laws and Rise).Samuel Gompers, who was apart if the Investigation Commision was also the founder of the American Federation of Labor. Gompers joined with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL). Since he was apart of the Investigation Commision he contributed greatly to achieve the safety laws. The fire supported Labor Unions such as the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Women’s Trade Union League because they would gain sympathy(Leap for Life).

Categories: Industry


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