The 103rd Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

by Norman B. Blumenthal on March 28, 2014

San Francisco California employment lawyerThis month marked the 103rd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The fire broke out in the Asch Building on New York’s Washington Place. The Greenwich Village, NYC fire killed 146 girls on March 25, 1911. During the blaze, horrified onlookers watched as factory workers leaped to their deaths in an effort to escape the flames.

Labor union members gathered to protest and mourn the loss of life in the fire. The fire very quickly became a touchstone for the organized labor movement. It also spurred fire-safety laws and brought the issues facing immigrant workers to light in the public arena. Public outcry over the tragic fire led to nationwide debate on workers rights, safety regulations, etc. It helped pave the way for strong workers unions.

Survivors of the tragic blaze attended ceremonies in New York in 1961 on the 50th anniversary of the horrible event. More than 350 people barely escaped death the day of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that day. It is forever remembered not only for the lives of workers lost, but for those who survived and the difference they have been able to make for so many in the workforce throughout the years.

Ninety-two years after the fire killed such a high number of young girls and women, it is evident that the widespread labor reforms that the tragedy triggered have made a major difference for today’s workers. Since that day in 1911, the law has evolved to provide much greater protection for employees. Employees are now protected from unsafe work environments. Employees who feel they may be subjected to unsafe practices or environments while on the job should contact a legal professional versed in employment law immediately.

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