March 25, 1911 was a day that many victims, families, as well as those who were on the streets witnessing the most terrifying event that “changed America”. A fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Company causing 146 people to die out of the 500 employees. Those who survived the fire still relive the moments of what happened. Not only do the survivors have to remember what happened the day the fire broke out but also the pain and terror they had to endure while working there.
The Triangle Company was a shirtwaist factory in New York owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris. The employees of the factory were mainly women, as young as fourteen years old who were either Italian or European Jewish immigrants trying to find a better life. Instead, they lived in poverty and worked in a factory that had poor working conditions. Many of the women working at the factory were immigrants that were still ...view middle of the document...
Many were very scared to seek for help because it could lead to losing their job with a chance of violence against the workers.
The Women Shirtwaist strike happened in December of 1909 and continued for weeks. The strike caused many people to be beaten by the police and company guards. Some were also arrested repeatedly. The outcome of the strike has caught the attention of many people in the city especially the middle and upper class women who wanted to help and join the picket line. Fifteen thousand women walked off their jobs one morning that shocked the city. They all marched together to protest the cruel treatment on the pricket line to demand that the police as well as the public officials give them the respect that one deserves. The following day, five thousand more joined the strike. It was known to be the largest strike by women at the time. They were known as the “Uprising of Twenty Thousand” that united women together than ever before. It was a strike that was “run by women and for women” (Argersinger). This strike has made many of the strikers to become more confident and more responsive to their rights. The uprising was a big turning point for the American women’s activism and has spread to many other cities. It inspired fifteen thousand shirtwaist workers in Philadelphia to walk off on their jobs and fight for what is right. After that, many others began following along and having a strike everywhere across the nation.
Thirteen weeks into the strike and over seven hundred arrest of women, more then three hundred shirtwaist companies settled. The success of the strike is slowly starting to pay off. Even though many settled with the union, the Triangle Company didn’t. Blanck and Harris however, did increased wages and shorten the hours but the reductions weren’t as major as other companies. The ILGWU and the WTUL were very satisfied with the outcome of the strike and decided to end the strike in February of 1910.