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Kā nāvējošā trīsstūra krekla vidukļa rūpnīcas uguns šokēja tautu un noveda pie reformām

Kā nāvējošā trīsstūra krekla vidukļa rūpnīcas uguns šokēja tautu un noveda pie reformām

Jaunas sievietes tika iesprostotas ar galdiem, lielgabarīta aprīkojumu un durvīm, kas aizslēdzās vai pavērās nepareizi, jo 1911. gada 25. martā Ņujorkas Griničas ciematā Asch ēkas astoto, devīto un desmito stāvu apņēma liesmas. vairāki iekrita liesmās, viņu ķermeņus sakrauj bloķētas izejas. Citi izlēca divatā un trijatā pa degošās ēkas augstajiem logiem.

1911. gada 25. marta trīsstūra krekla krekla ugunsgrēks bija viena no nāvējošākajām katastrofām darba vietā ASV vēsturē, kas prasīja 146 strādnieku dzīvības, no kurām lielākā daļa bija imigrantes pusaudžu un divdesmit gadu vecumā. Ugunsgrēks bija tik šausmīgs, ka satricināja ņujorkiešu un citu cilvēku sirdsapziņu un galu galā izraisīja izmaiņas drošības noteikumos un rūpīgākus centienus tos ievērot.

Nožēlojami darba apstākļi

Amerikas Darba studiju centra direktors Pols F. Kols saka, ka ugunsgrēks pamodināja tautu bīstamajos un nožēlojamajos apstākļos, ar kuriem ikdienā saskaras daudzi darbinieki.

Katastrofas cēloņi bija sarežģīti. 1890. gadu sākumā imigranti no Itālijas un Austrumeiropas ieradās Amerikas Savienotajās Valstīs, meklējot labāku dzīvi, bet tā vietā bieži nonāca tādās vietās kā Triangle Waist Company, kur viņi strādāja 12 ar pusi stundas par 6 ASV dolāriem nedēļā, liecina AFL-CIO ugunsgrēka vēsture. Viņiem bija jāpiegādā savas adatas, diegi, gludekļi un dažreiz pat savas šujmašīnas.

Darba apstākļi bija tik slikti, ka sievietēm pat nebija piekļuves ēkas vannas istabai, un durvis tika aizslēgtas, lai viņas nevarētu iziet ārā un palēnināt ražošanu. Un, lai gan vieta bija piepildīta ar viegli uzliesmojošiem materiāliem, ugunsgrēku novēršanai tika pievērsta maz uzmanības.

Neapmierinātība par algām un darba apstākļiem Triangle un citās pilsētas apģērbu rūpnīcās izraisīja desmitiem tūkstošu darba ņēmēju streiku 1909. gadā, meklējot piekāpšanos, piemēram, atalgojuma palielināšanu par 20 procentiem un 52 stundu nedēļu, kā arī drošākus darba apstākļus. Lielākā daļa rūpnīcu īpašnieku ātri apmetās, bet Triangle īpašnieki pretojās prasībām. Kad streiks beidzās 1910. gada februārī, strādnieki atgriezās darbā bez arodbiedrības vienošanās, liecina AFL-CIO vēsture.

"Trīsstūris bija naidīgākais no īpašniekiem pret savienību," skaidro Ričards Grīnvalds, vēsturnieks un Fārfīldas Universitātes Mākslas un zinātnes koledžas dekāns un 2011. gada grāmatas autors. Trijstūra uguns, miera un rūpnieciskās demokrātijas protokoli Ņujorkas progresīvajā laikmetā. "Viņi 1909. gadā pārcēla ražošanu no Ņujorkas, lai izvairītos no streika, nolīga slepkavas, lai pieveiktu rakstniekus, un, visticamāk, uzpirka policiju, lai arestētu streikotājus."

Trijstūra rūpnīcas ugunsdrošība: tukšas ūdens spaiņi

25. marta pēcpusdienā, sestdienā, 500 cilvēki strādāja Triangle rūpnīcā, kas aizņem trīs stāvus ēkā, kas tika uzcelta tikai pirms 10 gadiem. Tiesas liecības vēlāk vainoja ugunsgrēku uz ugunsgrēku, kas sākās audumu lūžņu tvertnē astotajā stāvā un kuru, iespējams, aizdedzināja izmesta cigarete, neilgi pirms rūpnīcas pulksten 16.00.

Trīsstūrī bija ūdens spaini ugunsgrēku dzēšanai, kas tolaik bija izplatīta prakse apģērbu rūpnīcās. Bet, kā viena strādniece Mērija Domska-Abramsa vēlāk atcerējās 60. gadu sākuma intervijā ar autoru Leonu Šteinu, spaiņi bija tukši. "Tajā konkrētajā rītā, traģēdijas dienā, es saviem kolēģiem atzīmēju, ka spaiņi ir tukši un ka, ja kaut kas notiktu, tie neko nedos," viņa sacīja.

Cita strādniece Sesīlija Volkere Frīdmena, kura strādāja devītajā stāvā, sacīja, ka ir gatava aiziet no darba, kad paskatījās uz logu un ieraudzīja liesmas. Visi apkārtējie sāka kliegt un kliegt, bet daudziem tika traucēts aizmukt. "Meitenes pie mašīnām sāka kāpt uz mašīnu galdiem, varbūt tāpēc, ka bija nobijušās vai varbūt domāja, ka varētu aizskriet līdz lifta durvīm virs mašīnām," sacīja Frīdmens. “Ejas bija šauras un aizsprostotas ar krēsliem un groziem. Viņi sāka krist ugunī.

Ugunsdzēsēji galu galā atrada sešas pēdas augstu līķu kaudzi, kas bija iesprūdusi pie durvīm uz aizmugurējām kāpnēm, norāda Ņujorkas tribīne.

Pati Frīdmena kaut kā tika līdz liftam, lai tikai noskatītos, kā lifta vagons iet lejā pa šahtu, atstājot atvērtas durvis. Izmisusi viņa apvija ap rokām dekoratīvu maisiņu, ielēca šahtā un satvēra lifta trosi, slīdot līdz galam. Trieciens salauza roku un pirkstu, un viņa guva galvas traumu un apdegumu, kas stiepās visā ķermeņa garumā. Bet viņa izdzīvoja.

Citiem nebija tik paveicies. Ugunsdzēsējs izliecās zem bēgšanu mēģinošo darbinieku svara. Daži strādnieki gaidīja palīdzību pie logiem, bet tikai ar izmisumu vēroja, kā ugunsdzēsēju pārāk īsās kāpnes nespēj tās sasniegt. Saskaroties ar sadedzināšanu dzīvu, daži darbinieki izvēlējās lēkt - dažreiz divatā un trijatā - līdz nāvei, saskaņā ar 2011. gada datiem. Ņujorkas Laiks retrospektīvs. Ugunsgrēks neiznīcināja pašu ēku, un līdz saulrietam policija un ugunsdzēsēji uz ietves izlika līķus.

Ņujorkas iedzīvotāju pieprasījums pēc reformas

Nedēļu pēc ugunsgrēka ņujorkieši sarīkoja ārkārtas sanāksmi Metropolitēna operteātrī, lai aicinātu rīkoties ugunsdrošības jomā. Pēc dažām dienām aptuveni 350 000 cilvēku pievienojās masveida gājienam ugunsgrēkā cietušajiem.

Rūpnīcas īpašnieki Īzaks Hariss un Makss Blanks tika tiesāti par slepkavību, taču viņi netika atzīti par vainīgiem decembrī notikušajā tiesā pēc tam, kad tiesnesis deva žūrijai norādījumus, kas apgrūtināja viņu notiesāšanu. Kā 2018. gada esejā atzīmē grāmatas par ugunsgrēku autors žurnālists Deivids Von Drehle, pāris bija jāizved ārā pa tiesas nama durvīm, lai izvairītos no dusmīga pūļa. Lai atrisinātu tiesas prāvas pret viņiem, viņi galu galā izmaksāja 75 USD kompensāciju katras upura ģimenei - daļu no 400 USD par nāvi, ko viņiem maksāja viņu apdrošinātājs, saskaņā ar ASV Darba departamenta datiem.

Lai gan rūpnīcā bija bīstami apstākļi, daļa vainas tika uzlikta arī Ņujorkas valdībai, kas nebija daudz darījusi, lai nodrošinātu drošas darba vietas, un nebija gatava šādam ugunsgrēkam. "Pilsētas aģentūrai nebija skaidras atbildības nodrošināt darbinieku un rūpnīcu drošību," saka Grīnvalds. “Neviens nebija atbildīgs par ēku drošību. Nebija skaidru ugunsdrošības noteikumu un modernas ugunsdzēsības iekārtas. ”

Pieaugot sabiedrības sašutumam, Ņujorkas štata likumdevēji pieņēma likumu, ar ko izveidoja rūpnīcas izmeklēšanas komisiju - uzraudzības aģentūru, kurai ir plašas pilnvaras pārbaudīt darba apstākļus visā štatā. Nākamo divu gadu laikā tā izpētīs tūkstošiem darba vietu-ne tikai apģērbu rūpnīcas, bet arī gaļas iepakošanas un ķīmiskās rūpnīcas.

"FIC vadīja Tammany Hall mašīnu vadītāji, tāpēc ierosinātās reformas nonāca likumos," saka Grīnvalds. "Tika pieņemti vairāk nekā 20 likumi, kas mainīja ugunsdrošību, ēku drošību un uzlika valstij par darbinieku drošību."

Reformu programma dod iespēju FDR jaunajam darījumam

Turklāt uguns palīdzēja apvienot organizētu darbu un dažādus reformu domājošus politiķus, tostarp progresīvo Ņujorkas gubernatoru Alfrēdu E. Smitu un senatoru Robertu F. Vāgneru, vienu no prezidenta Franklina D. Rūzvelta New Deal darba kārtības arhitektiem. Frensisa Pērkinsa, kas strādāja komitejā, kas palīdzēja izveidot FIC, vēlāk kļūs par Rūzvelta darba sekretāru. "Skaidrā veidā var apgalvot, ka ugunsgrēks noveda pie Jaunā darījuma," saka Grīnvalds. "Perkins to teica savā mutiskajā vēsturē."

Plašākā mērogā trīsstūra uguns pārliecināja tautu, ka valdība ir atbildīga par to, lai strādniekiem būtu droša vieta, kur veikt savu darbu.

LASĪT VAIRĀK: Darba kustība

SKATIES: cīnies ar varu: kustības, kas mainīja Ameriku, pirmizrāde notiek sestdien, 19. jūnijā plkst. 8/7c kanālā HISTORY®.


Trijstūra krekla vidukļa rūpnīcas ugunsgrēkā gāja bojā 146 cilvēki, bet tika veikta darba reforma. Gadsimtu vēlāk, vai Amerika ir aizmirsusi savas mācības?

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Linda Okasio

Tās bija jaunas sievietes, dažas tikai pusaudžas, strādājot garas stundas, sešas dienas nedēļā, par dažu dolāru samaksu Ņujorkas rūpnīcā, šujot kreklu kreklus-kokvilnas blūzes ar augstu kaklu, kas 1911. gadā bija dusmas uz strādājošām sievietēm. Īpašnieki aizslēdza durvis pret zādzību. Kad darba diena beidzās, sievietēm bija jāaiziet pa vienām durvīm, vienu pēc otras atverot makus, lai grīdas pārzinis pārbaudītu, vai iekšpusē nav saburzīti krekls.

Šī necieņa un pārpildītā un antisanitārā rūpnīcas grīda lika daudziem no 400 trīsstūra krekla vidukļa rūpnīcas darbiniekiem 1909. gadā sākt streiku, kad viņi sāka pieprasīt savas tiesības uz cieņu, labāku algu un drošākus darba apstākļus. Viņi ieguva piekāpšanos atalgojumā, bet maz ko citu no rūpnīcu īpašniekiem, kuri darbavietu sagrāva.

Divus gadus vēlāk, kad ugunsgrēks sākās pītā atkritumu grozā, daudziem darba ņēmējiem nebija nekādu izredžu: 146 gāja bojā, lielākā daļa no viņiem bija jaunās itāļu un ebreju sievietes, kas tikko ieradās Amerikā 17. Tā bija vissliktākā katastrofa Ņujorkā līdz 11. septembrim.

Trijstūra krekla vidukļa rūpnīcas ugunsgrēks 1911. gada 25. martā ir pagrieziena punkts darba vēsturē, kas arī iezīmēja progresīvas ēras sākumu ASV politikā. Arodbiedrības bija augšupejošas, tāpat kā ideja, ka sievietēm vajadzētu būt balsstiesībām un ka visi darbinieki ir pelnījuši modrības valdības aizsardzību, kas regulē uzņēmumu darbību.

VAIRĀK PERSPEKTĪVAS:

Pēc simts gadiem traģēdijas simtgade ir rūgta. Mūsdienās tikai 7 procenti amerikāņu strādnieku privātajā rūpniecībā pieder arodbiedrībai, un valsts darbinieku arodbiedrības ir aplenktas. Iespējams, Amerikas Savienotajās Valstīs vairs nepastāv sliktākie Triangle rūpnīcas apstākļi, bet zemākās kvalifikācijas darbinieki, no kuriem daudzi ir bez dokumentiem ieceļotāji, joprojām tiek izmantoti, nopelnot zemu atalgojumu noplukušās sviedru veikalos un rūpnīcās. Aizjūras rūpnīcas, kurās tiek ražotas daudzas amerikāņu preces, izvairās no bīstamiem apstākļiem un sliktas kompensācijas, kas būtu bijusi pazīstama trīsstūra darbiniekam pirms 100 gadiem.

Trīsstūris parādīja laikmeta plēsīgumu: simtiem strādnieku, kas sēdēja pie šujmašīnām pie šauriem galdiem, jaunie imigranti, kuri bija gatavi ekspluatācijai. Aizmirstiet par virsstundām. Īsi pārtraukumi tika uzraudzīti. Neviena runāšana vai jokošana neļāva pārtraukt ražošanas ātrumu.

Papildus aizslēgtajām durvīm atkritumu grozus pārpildīja kaudzes ar uzliesmojošiem audumiem. 1911. gada ugunsgrēku aizdedzināja sērkociņš vai cigarete, kas bezrūpīgi mētājās starp gruvešiem astotajā stāvā, un strauji izplatījās pa atklātajiem rūpnīcas stāviem virs tā. Tā bija 10 stāvu ugunsdroša ēka-tā joprojām stāv Rietumu ciematā, Grīnas ielas un Vašingtonas laukuma stūrī-, bet iekšpusē bija ar eļļu nokrāsotas grīdas un telpas, kas bija pārpildītas ar mašīnām un koka galdiem.

Laimīgie astotajā un desmitajā stāvā skrēja uz jumta, izbēga pa kāpnēm vai pacēlās ar liftu, pirms tas pārstāja darboties. Neviens nedomāja brīdināt devītā stāva strādniekus, un tieši tur notika lielākā daļa nāves gadījumu.

Ugunsdzēsēju mašīnu kāpnes sasniedza tikai sesto stāvu. Slikti uzbūvētā ugunsdzēsības avārija karstumā saburzījās, nosūtot strādniekus uz nāvi. Citi izlēca no logiem. Kāds reportieris toreiz aprakstīja līķu triecienu, kas ietriecās ielā, un daži no tiem nokļuva liesmās. Tie, kas bija pārāk nobijušies, lai pārlēktu, padevās dūmiem un ugunij.

Pēc ugunsgrēka nodzēšanas ugunsdzēsēji, ieejot devītajā stāvā, konstatēja, ka apdegušie sieviešu skeleti joprojām ir saliekti pār šujmašīnām.

"Lija lietus," sacīja Rutgersa vēstures profesors Toms Makbejs. Tas ir stāsts, kas vienmēr saista viņa studentus, viņš teica. “Drupās tika atrasti 16 saderināšanās gredzeni. Trijstūris uzlika cilvēkiem seju šajos sviedru veikalos. Ikvienam, kuram ir līdzjūtība, tas atbalsojas. ”

Mirušo vārdi izraisa gadsimta mijā Amerikā ienākošo kultūru: Konketa, Dora, Jeta, Mišelina, Besija, Netija, Lūcija. Tie nebija pasīvi upuri. Daudzi bija piedalījušies lielo sieviešu krekla vidukļa strādnieku streikā 1909.-1910. Gadā, un viņi zināja par ugunsgrēku Ņujorkas rūpnīcā, kas bija izcēlies tikai četrus mēnešus pirms trīsstūra ugunsgrēka, nogalinot 26 sievietes.

SĀKAS KUSTĪBA

Trīsstūra rūpnīcas īpašniekiem tika izvirzītas apsūdzības, bet viņi tika attaisnoti, jo Ņujorkas pavalsts nespēja pierādīt, ka durvis ir apzināti aizslēgtas. Taču gaidīja lielāka uzvara: arodbiedrības un to sabiedrotie pēc ugunsgrēka turpināja izdarīt spiedienu uz reformām, veicinot plašāku sabiedrības atbalstu šajā procesā. Tika pastiprināti ugunsdrošības likumi un izpilde, kā rezultātā tika izveidoti automātiskie smidzinātāji, ugunsgrēka treniņi un marķētas ugunsdzēsības izejas durvis, kas viegli atveras.

No trijstūra pelniem dzima progresīva reformu ēra. Tika atbalstīts sieviešu balsstiesības. Traģēdija veidoja Eleonoras Rūzveltas un Frensisa Pērkinsa politisko skatījumu, kuri abi mudināja demokrātu līderus, piemēram, Al Smitu un Robertu Vāgneru, Ņujorkas štatā izmantot reformu mantiju. Viņu izstrādātie vietējie tiesību akti kļuva par paraugu darba ņēmēju tiesību un aizsardzības darba kārtībai.

Perkins, sociālais darbinieks, kurš bija liecinieks ugunsgrēkam, strādāja rūpnīcas komisijā, kas izmeklēja ugunsgrēku, un kļuva par prezidenta Franklina Rūzvelta darba sekretāri, pirmo sievieti, kas strādāja kabineta amatā. Laikmeta vēsturiskie tiesību akti izveidoja bezdarba kompensāciju un sociālo nodrošinājumu. 1935. gada Nacionālais darba attiecību likums aizsargāja darba ņēmēju tiesības organizēt un streikot, kā arī prasīja uzņēmumiem piedalīties kolektīvajās sarunās. Pēc gadiem Pērkinss teiktu, ka Jaunais darījums sākās dienā, kad dega trīsstūris.

Bet nekas no tā nenotika vakuumā, atzīmēja Blūfīldas koledžas emeritētais profesors Stīvs Golins.

"No 1932. līdz 1935. gadam FDR saskārās ar nemitīgiem darba nemieriem," sacīja Golins. Milzīgos streikos 1934. gadā tika slēgtas lielākās pilsētas, un miljoni izgāja ielās. "Tie strādnieki mudināja valdību aizsargāt darba ņēmēju tiesības, tāpat kā strādnieki šogad mēģināja darīt Viskonsīnā," sacīja Golins. "Tas ir stāsts par cilvēkiem, kas saplūst kopā, lai iegūtu pienācīgu dzīvi, nevis tikai izdzīvojušu dzīvi."

SAVIENĪBAS SPĒKU VEIDI

Savienības vara, kas ietvēra streikus, turpināja augt arī pēc Otrā pasaules kara. Kara laikā algas bija pazeminātas, salīdzinot ar cenām, un bija ko panākt. Bet nepagāja ilgs laiks, līdz valdība un biznesa intereses reaģēja. 1947. gadā Tafta-Hārtlija likums ierobežoja strādnieku spēju streikot un aizliedza arodbiedrību vadībai radikāļus, piemēram, komunistus un sociālistus. Tas bija aukstā kara sākums un medības tiem, kas tika uzskatīti par “neamerikāņiem”.

Golins sacīja, ka šajā laikā liela daļa ideālisma aizgāja no arodbiedrību kustības, jo “radikāļi” ar vīziju par vienlīdzīgāku sabiedrību tika izslēgti no arodbiedrībām. Turpmāk arodbiedrības koncentrēsies uz labāku algu un pabalstu saņemšanu saviem biedriem. Amerikāņu ražošana bija visaugstākajā līmenī, un arodbiedrības nodrošināja, ka strādnieki ieguva savu bagātības daļu uzplaukuma gados 1950. gados un 60. gadu sākumā.

Bagātības dalīšana bija īslaicīga. Notika dramatiskas pārmaiņas. Pāreja no rūpniecības uz pakalpojumu ekonomiku nozīmēja mazāk rūpnīcu, kuras organizēt. Arodbiedrībām bija izdevies izveidot vidusšķiru, kas vairs neidentificējās ar strādnieku šķiras solidaritāti, it īpaši pēc tam, kad koncepcija bija sabojāta Sarkanās baidīšanās laikmetā. Bet bizness, kas vēlējās iegūt lielāku peļņas daļu, aizbēga no neunionālās un lētākajām darbaspēka izmaksām dienvidos un galu galā aizjūras zemēs. Līdz 1981. gadam, kad prezidents Ronalds Reigans atlaida streikojošus gaisa satiksmes vadības dispečerus, bija skaidrs, ka rītausma ir jauna. Arodbiedrības varētu izjaukt ar nelielām politiskām sekām.

Tas bija satriecošs kritiens no žēlastības arodbiedrībām. Un arodbiedrībām bija sava daļa vainas savā nāvē. Korupcija un organizētā noziedzība ieņēma vietu viņu rindās. Pat tīras arodbiedrības bija nemainīgas.


Amerikāņu vajāšanas

Šajā datumā, 1911. gada 25. martā, aizdegās Manhetenas sviedru veikals Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, kas dažu minūšu laikā prasīja 148 cilvēku - galvenokārt jaunu sieviešu - dzīvību. Aizverot durvis, lai novērstu zādzības un nepietiekamu ugunsgrēku, daudzi strādnieki nomira no ēkas augšējiem stāviem, nevis riskēja tikt sadedzināti. Uguns šokēja visu tautu, uz visiem laikiem mainīja drošības noteikumus un atstāja vajāšanu.

Asch ēka Grīna ielas un Vašingtonas laukuma stūrī bija diezgan neaprakstāma desmitstāvu ēka. Īpašnieki Makss Blanks un Īzaks Hariss iznomāja vai noslēdza apakšlīgumu par ēkas apakšējiem septiņiem stāviem dažādiem citiem līdzīgiem uzņēmumiem. Viņi izglāba astoto, devīto un desmito stāvu rūpnīcai Triangle Shirtwaist Company, kuru viņi izmantoja, lai izgatavotu dāmu blūzes, kuras tolaik sauca par krekliem.

Asch ēka Manhetenā, 1911

Uzņēmuma Triangle Shirtwaist darbinieki nedrīkstēja iziet no ēkas pie galvenajām durvīm. Darba dienas beigās viņiem bija jādodas uz aizmugurējām izejas durvīm, kuras darba laikā tika turētas aizslēgtas, baidoties no zādzības. Šeit darbinieki tika regulāri pārmeklēti pirms aiziešanas, lai viņi nemēģinātu kaut ko nozagt. Tā kā jaunkundzes, kas strādāja sviedru veikalā, zināja tikai šo vienu izeju, lai izkļūtu ugunsgrēka gadījumā, uz šīm aizmugurējām kāpnēm notika briesmīgas lietas.

1911. gada 25. marts pēc visiem uzskatiem bija sestdiena un jauka diena. Lielākā daļa pilsētas sviedru veikala darbinieku tika atbrīvoti līdz pusdienlaikam uz sestdienas pusi brīvdienas, ieskaitot tos, kuri strādāja Asch ēkas apakšējos septiņos stāvos. Tomēr uzņēmuma Triangle Shirtwaist Company īpašnieki lielāko daļu savu darbinieku cītīgi turēja darbā līdz pulksten 17:00. Lielākā daļa rūpnīcas darbinieku, gandrīz pieci simti sieviešu un apmēram simts vīriešu, todien bija darbā. Lielākā daļa sieviešu bija ļoti jaunas, vecumā no sešpadsmit līdz 23 gadiem, un ļoti maz no viņiem runāja angliski. Viņi lielākoties bija itāļu, vācu, krievu un ungāru imigranti, un daudzi no viņiem bija galvenie algu saņēmēji savām ģimenēm. Tur nodarbinātie vīrieši galvenokārt strādāja biroja darbinieku un vadības amatā.

Ap pulksten 16.40, tikai desmit minūtes pirms darba dienas beigām, saucas “uguns!” atskanēja astotajā stāvā. Neviens nekad nav uzzinājis, kā tieši izcēlies ugunsgrēks, bet lielākā daļa spekulēja, ka to izraisījusi neuzmanīgi izmesta cigarete vai sērkociņš.

Dažu minūšu laikā no Asch ēkas augšējo trīs stāvu logiem lija liesmas. Tūlīt atskanēja četras ugunsgrēka trauksmes, taču ugunsgrēks jau bija tik spēcīgs, ka pirmās piecas sievietes, kas nāca līdz nāvei, to darīja pirms pat pirmās ugunsdzēsēju mašīnas ierašanās.

Pēc nāvējošā ugunsgrēka Trijstūra kreklu vidukļa apdegušās paliekas

No diviem ēkas liftiem tikai viens bija darba kārtībā. Dažas minūtes pēc ugunsgrēka sākuma vienīgā kāpņu telpa bija pilna ar liesmām un dūmiem, tādēļ nebija iespējams bēgt, izmantojot šo ceļu. Tomass Gregorijs, lifta operators no citas ēkas, kurš todien bija ceļā uz mājām, ieskrēja ēkā un veica vēl trīs braucienus ar liftu, pirms tas sabojājās. Viņš aprakstīja, ka izbijušos, panikas pārņemto cilvēku masas cenšas iekāpt liftā, bet katrā braucienā varēja uzņemt tikai apmēram piecpadsmit cilvēkus.

Lai gan lifts vairs nedarbojās, šahtas durvis tika atvērtas piespiedu kārtā, un vairāki cilvēki mēģināja aizbēgt, slīdot pa lifta trosēm. Vismaz diviem cilvēkiem izdevās mēģinājums. Kāda jauna sieviete, vēlāk dzīva izvilkta no šahtas, sacīja, ka viņa, samazinoties pa kabeļiem, ir zaudējusi samaņu un viņai nav atmiņas par to, kas notika tālāk, bet viņa uzskatīja, ka izdzīvoja, jo nokrita uz vairākiem līdzstrādnieku līķiem. amortizēja viņas kritienu. Cits vīrietis ziņoja, ka bēgšanai izmantojis tos pašus kabeļus. Diemžēl, noslīdot lejup, jaunas sievietes ķermenis, kas nokrita no augšas, nogāza viņu no kabeļiem, un viņš nokrita pēdējos stāvos. Pēc ugunsgrēka no lifta šahtas apakšas tika izvilkti 25 līķi, no kuriem daudzi vienkārši bija lēkuši līdz nāvei, lai izvairītos no liesmām.

Ugunsgrēka sākumā ēkā atradās gan ēkas īpašnieki Hariss, gan Blanks kopā ar Blanka bērniem un viņu auklīti. Visi izbēga, dodoties uz jumtu - glābšanās līdzekli, kas nebija zināms lielākajai daļai rūpnīcas darbinieku. Jumta durvis tika turētas aizslēgtas visos, izņemot augšējo stāvu.

Aptuveni divi simti strādnieku galu galā nokļuva uz jumta, lielākā daļa no desmitā stāva. Ņujorkas Universitātes Juridiskās skolas ēka atradās tieši pāri nelielam pagalmam, bet bija par vienu stāvu augstāka. Ugunsgrēkam plosoties, upuriem palīgā steidzās vairāki jurisprudences studenti Čārlza Krēmera un Eliasa Kantera vadībā. Viņi sasēja divas īsas kāpnes, lai upuri varētu uzkāpt uz savas ēkas jumta. Krēmers uzkāpa uz apakšējā jumta, lai palīdzētu viņiem uzkāpt pa kāpnēm, un tādā veidā viņi varēja izglābt simt piecdesmit vīriešus, sievietes un meitenes. Pēc tam Krēmers nokāpa desmitajā stāvā, lai meklētu vēl izdzīvojušos. Viņš redzēja tikai vienu jaunu meiteni, kuras mati dega. Viņa skrēja pret viņu kliedzot un tad noģība viņa rokās. Viņš nodzēsa viņas degošos matus, pēc tam nogādāja viņu drošībā, uzskatīdams, ka šajā stāvā neviens cits nav palicis dzīvs. Tikmēr otrā jumta galā bija sapulcējušies apmēram piecdesmit cilvēku un cīnījās, lai piecas pēdas pietuvotos līdz blakus esošās ēkas jumtam. Vairāki tiesību zinātņu studenti ziņoja, ka redzējuši, kā vīrieši sper un grauž sievietes un meitenes, izsitot viņus no ceļa, kad viņi izbēguši uz drošību.

Pēc ugunsdzēsēju ierašanās daudzi mēģināja glābt iesprostotos vai krītošos upurus. Diemžēl viņu kāpnes sasniedza tikai nedaudz virs sestā stāva. Vairāki cilvēki mēģināja lēkt uz kāpnēm, taču neviens nespēja notverties un visi nomira. Tika izmantoti arī drošības tīkli, taču tie bija bez rezultātiem. Lielais augstums bija pārāk liels, un daudzi tīkli sadalījās vai tika sasmalcināti, kad tiem izkrita ķermeņi, ietriecoties ietvē. Vienā gadījumā jauna meitene tika ieķerta tīklā, bet trīs citi, kas uzreiz pēc tam uzlēca, nokrita uz viņas un visas četras gāza uz zemes, mirušas. Daži apkārtējie mēģināja izstiept segas vai pārklājus, bet rezultāti bija gandrīz vienādi. Šādā veidā ietaupīto cilvēku skaitu varētu saskaitīt ar vienu roku. Viena sieviete nokrita ar tādu spēku, ka izrāva cauri drošības tīklam un ietriecās ietves ietvarā pa biezo stikla velvi, beidzot nonākot pie miera ēkas pagrabā.

Vairāki glābšanas dienesta darbinieki tika ievainoti, kad viņus skāra krītoši ķermeņi. Cilvēki krita straujāk, nekā ugunsdzēsēji varēja nostāties, lai mēģinātu viņus noķert. Ugunsdzēsēju glābšanas darbus vēl vairāk apgrūtināja arvien pieaugošais līķu skaits, kas mētājās pa ietvēm, apgrūtinot drošības tīklu pārvietošanu. Līķi tika atstāti guļus vietā, kur tie krita, līdz vēlākam vakaram, jo ​​ugunsdzēsēji bija aizņemti ugunsgrēka dzēšanā. Tika uzskatīts, ka neviens no kritušajiem vēl nevar būt dzīvs.

Tomēr pēc dažām stundām no līķu kaudzes tika izvilkta jauna sieviete, kas joprojām elpoja. Liela uzmundrinājums radās, kad viņa tika iekrauta ātrās palīdzības mašīnā. Diemžēl viņa pēc dažām minūtēm nomira.

Jaunu sieviešu skaits pieauga līdz nāvei. Iepriekš minētie fotoattēli kļuva par “fotoattēliem, kas uz visiem laikiem mainīja rūpnīcas drošību” pēc tam, kad tie tika plaši izplatīti laikrakstos visā valstī. Dažas sievietes ietriecās ietvēs ar tādu spēku, ka izlauzās uz zemāk esošo pagrabu celtniecību.

Degot ēkas augšējiem stāviem, tūkstošiem cilvēku, kas pulcējās ielās zemāk, liecināja par slaktiņu, kas risinājās viņu priekšā. Skatoties viņi šausmās kliedza bezpalīdzīgi. Drīz sekoja daudzi aculiecinieku ziņojumi par traģiskajiem nāves gadījumiem, kad cilvēki nomira no Washington Place un Greene Street puses logiem. Daži lēca, daži tika izmesti vai stumti, bet citus izbiedēja panikas pārņemtie pūļi, kas virzījās uz logu pusi. Lielākā daļa kritušo to darīja ar dedzinošu apģērbu un matiem. Daži turpināja degt, gulēdami uz ietves, līdz viņus nodzēsa ūdens, kas pilēja no ugunsdzēsības šļūtenēm, un viņu melnie ķermeņi palika tur gulējuši līdz vēlam vakaram.

Piecas jaunas sievietes ēkas Grīna ielas pusē izkāpa uz palodzes, aptvēra rokas un lēca kopā. Viņi ietriecās pa ietves pārsegu pagrabā, nokrītot drēbes un mati. Vēl viena meitene izlēca ļoti tālu, bet viņas kleita bija sapinusies dažos vados, un viņa palika pakarināta augstu virs tā, kad pūlis to vēroja, nespējot palīdzēt. Galu galā viņas kleita izdega un viņa nokrita līdz nāvei. Vīrietis tajā pašā pusē bija redzams no blakus esošās ēkas, skrienot no loga uz logu, paņemot sievietes un izmetot tās pa logiem. Galu galā, kad vairs nebija palikušas citas sievietes, viņš pats uzkāpa uz dzegas, uz brīdi apstājās un tad uzlēca. Nekad nebija zināms, vai viņš tic, ka būs tīkli, lai tos noķertu, vai arī cenšas saīsināt viņu ciešanas.

Jauna meitene, kas bija apmēram trīspadsmit gadus veca, bija redzama dažas minūtes karājamies pie pirkstu galiem no devītā stāva palodzes. Tad uguns sasniedza viņas pirkstus, un viņa iekrita gaidīšanas tīklā, lai to saspiestu divas citas sievietes, kuras krita uzreiz pēc viņas, pievienojot visas trīs mirušo sarakstam.

Dažas meitenes, kuras izlēca no Vašingtonas laukuma puses, ietriecās ietves ietvētajā velves gaismā. Kad sievietes turpināja krist vai lēkt no tā paša loga, viņu ķermenis galu galā izveidoja caurumu gandrīz piecu pēdu diametrā. Vēlāk vakarā ugunsdzēsēji no šīs bedres izvilka vairākus daļēji kailus un sadedzināja ķermeņus.

Vēl viens meiteņu pāris izkāpa pa logu devītajā stāvā ar skatu uz Grīna ielu. Vecākā no abām šķita mierīga un nosvērta, cenšoties pakļaut jaunāko meiteni, kad viņa “no bailēm kliedza un savijās”. Kad pūlis aicināja viņus neiespringt, vecākā meitene apvija rokas un pievilka viņu pret ēku. Jaunākā meitene savā panikā, izlocījusies brīvi, paspēra dažus soļus, un tad viņa uzlēca. Vecākā meitene palika stāvam uz dzegas, līdz liesmas nāca tik tuvu, ka viņas mati bija apdeguši. Viņa paskatījās uz debesīm, nolika rokas uz sāniem un lēca taisni uz leju, kājas vispirms. Viņas vārds bija Berta Veintrouta, un viņa bija meitene, kura vēlāk, ja tikai uz dažām minūtēm, tika atrasta dzīva, apglabāta starp līķu kaudzi uz ietves.

Sešas meitenes, nokļuvušas pie loga devītajā stāvā, izgāja uz astoņu collu platu dzegu, kas stiepās gar ēku. Lēnām viņi gāja pa šo malu, vairāk nekā simts pēdu virs zemes, virzienā uz šūpojošu elektrisko kabeli. Kad visi bija ieradušies, viņi vienlaicīgi satvēra kabeli, mēģinot šūpoties blakus esošās ēkas drošībā. Kabelis saplīsa, kad viņi izšūpojās, un visi seši gāja bojā zemāk.

Dažus logus uz leju, tajā pašā stāvā, uz palodzes parādījās vīrietis un sieviete. Vīrietis noskūpstīja, tad apskāva sievieti, izmeta viņu uz ielas un pats lēca. Abi tika nogalināti. Tieši ap stūri, no cita loga, jauna meitene, vīrietis un sieviete, un vēl divas sievietes, aplikušas rokas, kopā metās uz zemes. Jaunā meitene pēc kritiena tika atrasta dzīva un tika nogādāta slimnīcā, kur pēc ierašanās viņa nomira.

Neliela vīriešu grupa mēģināja izveidot cilvēku tiltu starp degošo ēku un citas ēkas logu. Viņiem izdevās izglābt vairākas sievietes, bet galu galā sieviešu svars kļuva pārāk liels un tilts salūza, centra vīrietim nokrītot zemē ar salauztu muguru.

Ugunsgrēks tika likvidēts stundas laikā un līdz pulksten 19:00, nepilnas divas stundas pēc tā sākuma ugunsdzēsēji varēja piespiest savu ceļu augšup pa kāpnēm un izdegušajās grīdās. Viņi ziņoja, ka “tikai devītā stāvā tika atrasti 50 grauzdēti ķermeņi”. Deviņpadsmit upuru apdedzinātie ķermeņi tika atrasti sakrauti pie aizslēgtām durvīm, un vēl 25 tika atrasti, salikti kopā ģērbtuvē. Katrs ķermenis, kā tas tika atrasts, tika rūpīgi pacelts no degušās apkārtnes, ietīts drānā un pacelts zemē, izmantojot trīsi. Pēc tam viņi tika nogādāti vienā no simts koka zārkiem, kas ietvēra ielu. Pēc tam līķi tika pārvietoti uz morgu Beljū slimnīcā vai labdarības piestātnes morgu.

Kāds vārdā nenosaukts reportieris New York Times rakstīja, ka “. mirušo mirstīgās atliekas, diez vai ir iespējams tās saukt par ķermeņiem, jo ​​tas liecinātu par kaut ko cilvēcisku, un lielākajā daļā no tām nebija nekā cilvēciska, kas vienmērīgā straumē tika nogādātas morgā identificēšanai. ” Ugunsdzēsības priekšnieks Edvards F. Krokers, viens no pirmajiem vīriešiem, kurš pēc ugunsgrēka atkal ienāca ēkā, pameta ēku acīmredzamā nelaimē, norādot, ka visu savu gadu laikā viņš nekad nebija redzējis neko līdzīgu tam, ko viņš bija redzējis šajos augšējos stāvos.

Tūkstošiem cilvēku ieradās, lai apskatītu līķus un mēģinātu identificēt mirušos. Daudzi kļuva histēriski un pat mēģināja izdarīt pašnāvību uz vietas.

Policija lēsa, ka pat 200 000 cilvēku, kas izpostīja ģimeni un draugus, kā arī slimīgi ziņkārīgo sabiedrību, ienāca pagaidu morgā pie piestātnes un nokļuva garām vairāk nekā simts koka zārkiem, kuros atradās līķi. Viņi gāja garām ķermeņiem, kas bija vismaz daļēji atpazīstami, cerot atrast pazudušu mīļoto. Policija novērsa desmitiem tūkstošu cilvēku, cenšoties novērst plašāku sabiedrību. Vairāk nekā četrdesmit cilvēka formas, kas bija pārāk slikti sadedzinātas, lai tās būtu atpazīstamas, tika pārklātas ar baltu audekla pārklāju, cerot, ka tās var identificēt ar piekariņiem, rotaslietām vai apģērba gabaliem.

Neticamu ciešanu stāsti tika publicēti laikrakstos visā apgabalā. Jauna meitene tika identificēta pēc ģimenes mantojuma zīmogu gredzena, kas atrasts pieķēries pie stipri apdedzinātā ķermeņa pārogļotās miesas. Jauna sieviete kliedza, sabrūkot, pēc līgavaiņa identificēšanas pēc gredzena, saderinājusies tikai iepriekšējā vakarā. Viņa jautāja, vai nav atrasts pulkstenis ar viņa ķermeni. Kad viņai iedeva pulksteni, viņa to atvēra un “paskatījās uz savu portretu”. Kāds vīrietis, gaidījis rindā vairāk nekā piecas stundas, identificēja savas meitas pēc apģērba. Pēc sabrukuma no skumjām viņš mēģināja sevi nogalināt uz vietas. Policija viņu savaldīja, līdz viņš pietiekami nomierinājās, lai turpinātu meklēt sievu, arī pazudusi ugunsgrēkā. A man with a fresh burn on his cheek, identified his brother. He told the police that he and his brother had fought the fire, standing side by side, with buckets of water. A man who had barely escaped with his own life identified his fiancée by her engagement ring. In her hand, she still clutched her handbag, her weekly wages of $3 remained inside, intact. A sobbing brother stumbled away from the mangled bodies of his two sisters left propped up in their coffins to search for their mother. The fire took his entire family.

As a growing number of people became hysterical or suicidal, a makeshift hospital was set up at the pier to deal with this unexpected problem. Doctors and nurses from Bellevue Hospital worked for days trying to help keep these grieving family members from being added to the list of lives stolen by the fire.
Thirty-one victims remained unidentified after the last of the survivors claimed their family and friends. The Hebrew Free Burial Association paid for the burial of 23 of these victims in a special section of Mount Richmond Cemetery. The remaining eight bodies were interred in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn.

As the blaze began, the only safety measures within the Asch Building available to those still inside were 27 buckets of water and one fire escape that collapsed almost immediately. Most of the exits were locked and those that weren’t, opened inward so they remained closed under the crush of people pushing toward the doors.

It was not the 95 charred bodies found inside the building that so outraged the public, but rather the heaps of bodies along the sidewalk and rows of mostly young girls lying dead in the street. By the end, 53 people had jumped, fallen or were pushed from the upper floors and thousands of people were there to witness each one of them fall and strike the pavement. The average age of those killed in the fire was nineteen. The public outrage was carried like a wave across the country as reports and pictures of the tragedy appeared in newspapers everywhere.

The resulting public pressure proved to be too much to overcome and dramatic changes were in store for the existing fire codes and their enforcement in the workplace. The New York State Legislature formed the “Factory Commission” in 1911, which developed many requirements linked directly back to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire such as all exit doors must be left unlocked during operating hours and sprinklers were to be installed if a factory employed more than 25 people. The memories of the young women who perished in that terrible fire resulted in a major change in the way many people thought about protecting workers. Prior to the fire, the government left businesses alone regarding the safety of their workers. Afterwards, the government had little choice but to begin instituting sweeping safety laws that changed history for American workers.

In the end, no one was held accountable for the Triangle deaths. In December of 1911, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the Asch Building owners and Triangle Shirtwaist Company owners were charged and tried for manslaughter. Despite a mob of people outside the courthouse chanting “Murderers! Murderers!” the two were acquitted of all charges by the jury after only two hours of deliberation. Twenty-three individual civil suits for damages against the company were settled for an average of $75 per life lost.

Blanck and Isaac completed their association with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory by filing an insurance claim in excess of their losses, garnering them a profit from the fire of more than $60,000 -- a hefty sum in 1911. Blanck continued on in the clothing manufacturing business. He opened another factory on Fifth Avenue. In 1913, just two years after the Triangle fire, he was arrested for locking the exit door in his factory during working hours. He was fined $20.

The Asch Building still stands at the corner of Washington Place and Greene Street, but its name has been changed to the Brown Building. No longer are the floors of that building home to sweatshops employing poor and desperate immigrant women and girls, overworked and underpaid. Today, the Brown Building is full of young university science students as it has become a part of the New York University as a science lab -- the same university that was located next door and provided a means of escape to nearly one hundred and fifty people fleeing the fire with the aid of many of the students.

On the corner of the building a plaque has been placed, commemorating the tragic events that took place on that site on March 25, 1911, and the lives lost that day. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire continues as a turning point in United States history.

There are other reminders of the fire for those who pay close enough attention. Even though the use of the building and the occupants have changed dramatically, bits and pieces of its history still linger, many of these believed to be supernatural. It is not uncommon for the smell of smoke to waft through the halls of the upper floors and more than once fire warnings have passed through the building. On occasion, people have reported a different kind of odor accompanying the smell of smoke. This odor can only be described as that of burning flesh -- then the odors simply disappear as quickly as they began.
Often, doors that are supposed to be locked are found unlocked, sometimes within minutes of being locked! Could it be that the spirit of someone lost in the fire is trying to keep the current occupants from meeting the same tragic fate by being trapped behind a locked door in an emergency?

A few people over the years have described a most peculiar experience. While sitting at a desk or workstation they have seen, out of the corner of their eye, something large flutter downward past their window. Upon going to the window to look down and see what it was, there is nothing there.

The most striking ghostly experience was related by “Susan” (not her real name), a secretary who worked in the building for many years. She explained that she had been working later than usual one evening and by the time she left to go home, most of the other employees and students had already left. As she walked out of the building, she noticed a young woman walk past her with a slight stagger and a dazed look on her face. She was very dirty and her hair and clothes appeared to be singed or burned. Susan called to her to see if she needed help but the young woman didn’t respond she just kept walking and turned the corner. Susan, thinking that the woman might be injured or in trouble, ran after her but upon turning the corner, she was met by an empty sidewalk. The young woman had simply vanished.

We will never know for sure if these occurrences are directly related to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. However, it does appear that the most important thing is that we never forget what happened there, nor the lessons learned. We may even get a little reminder now and then --- just to make sure.

From the book AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH IT by Troy Taylor & Rene Kruse


How a tragedy transformed protections for American workers

The 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire—which killed 146 garment workers—shocked the public and galvanized the labor movement.

Smoke poured out of the Asch Building in Greenwich Village. Then came the bodies. Young women—mostly immigrants, all poor sweatshop workers—leapt to their deaths in a desperate bid to escape the flames that raced through the Triangle Waist Company’s factory.

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire claimed the lives of 146 garment workers who were trapped in an unsafe building during the preventable blaze. The tragedy shocked the public and inspired Progressive movement activists to push for new workplace safety laws in New York State—which ultimately became the model for stronger regulations across the country.

The factory was owned by Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, Russian Jewish immigrants known as the “Shirtwaist Kings.” They founded the Triangle Waist Company in 1900, producing ready-to-wear shirtwaists, tailored, button-down blouses that were the era’s most popular women's garments. Their success skyrocketed them into luxurious lifestyles.

Their employees’ lives stood in stark contrast. Most garment workers barely earned enough to subsist. The factory employed mostly young women, some as young as 14 most were immigrants, and all were expected to work grueling, 13-hour days. Workers were goaded by supervisors who discouraged bathroom and lunch breaks and punished them for talking, singing, or pausing in their monotonous work.

Though the Triangle factory was considered modern—particularly compared to the sweatshops of its day—its workers were subject to horrendous working conditions. Fabric scraps littered the floors of the factory’s overcrowded rooms. The building only had a single, flimsy fire escape, leading to an internal courtyard, and there were no fire extinguishers, only pails of water. Workers bent over sewing machines that were fitted onto long rows of wooden tables. And doors were locked to keep them from taking unsanctioned breaks.

Despite a strike in in 1909, Triangle’s owners resisted unionization, lashing out at picketers and ignoring union demands for safer conditions including unlocked doors and working fire escapes. The factory was a tinderbox—and on March 25, 1911, a few minutes before the factory closed for the day, it burst into flames. Historians speculate the flames were ignited by a cigarette tossed in a scrap bin—likely by a male worker or supervisor as few women smoked at the time.

Within moments, the building was inundated by fire. The fabric inside burned swiftly. Terrified workers pushed at the doors and flooded toward the too-small fire escape. "I broke the window of the elevator door with my hands and screamed, 'fire! fire! fire!'” recalled Irene Seivos, who made blouse trimmings on the eighth floor of the building, in her testimony during a criminal trial after the fire. “It was so hot we could scarcely breathe.”

Workers crowded at the windows, begging for help. Then, they began to jump. Firefighters who attempted to catch them used netting that fell apart with the impact their ladders only reached up to the sixth floor. Inside the building, others jumped down the elevator shaft in an attempt to escape suffocation and death. As onlookers screamed and firefighters battled the blaze, the mangled bodies of the people who jumped piled up on the sidewalk. “Strewn about as the firemen worked, the bodies indicated clearly the preponderance of women workers,” noted The New York Times the day after the fire.

Thirty minutes later, the blaze was out. The factory floors of the building, which survived intact, contained nothing but charred debris. One hundred and forty-six workers died. It would take nearly a century for the identities of all the fire’s victims to be determined—in some cases because their bodies had been charred beyond recognition and, in others, simply because no one at the time bothered to make a definitive list.

Blanck and Harris were indicted on several counts of manslaughter but were acquitted and never paid a serious price for their negligence.

For years, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was the United States’ worst occupational disaster—a macabre symbol of the tragic hazards of the sweatshop system. But the fire birthed more than tragedy. It shocked Americans and galvanized public opinion on workplace safety, and the investigation afterward exposed the factory’s unsafe conditions. Though its victims were among the poorest and most invisible laborers, their deaths were publicly mourned and acknowledged.

The fire also sparked effective and groundbreaking legislation in New York and set the stage for future national labor legislation and the New Deal. And it inspired a witness to the tragedy – labor activist Frances Perkins. Her fury over the unsafe conditions and deaths inspired her to push even harder to protect American workers. She later rose to become the first female Secretary of Labor, where she helped craft signature legislation—including the Social Security Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act—devoted to the economic and physical safety of workers.


Triangle shirtwaist factory fire

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Triangle shirtwaist factory fire, fatal conflagration that occurred on the evening of March 25, 1911, in a New York City sweatshop, touching off a national movement in the United States for safer working conditions.

The fire—likely sparked by a discarded cigarette—started on the eighth floor of the Asch Building, 23–29 Washington Place, just east of Washington Square Park. That floor and the two floors above were occupied by the Triangle Waist Company, a manufacturer of women’s shirtwaists (blouses) that employed approximately 500 people. The flames, fed by copious cotton and paper waste, quickly spread upward to the top two floors of the building. Fire truck ladders were only able to reach six stories, and the building’s overloaded fire escape collapsed. Many workers, trapped by doors that had been locked to prevent theft, leapt from windows to their deaths.

The 129 women and 17 men who perished in the 18-minute conflagration were mostly young European immigrants. It took several days for family members to identify the victims, many of whom were burned beyond recognition. Six of the victims, all interred under a monument in a New York City cemetery, were not identified until 2011 through research conducted by an amateur genealogist. A citywide outpouring of grief culminated on April 5, 1911, in a 100,000-strong procession behind the hearses that carried the dead along Fifth Avenue thousands more observed the memorial gathering.

Though the owners of the factory were indicted later that month on charges of manslaughter, they were acquitted in December 1911 the owners ultimately profited from inflated insurance claims that they submitted after the tragedy. However, the uproar generated by the disaster led to the creation of the Factory Investigating Commission by the New York state legislature in June. Over the following year and a half, members of the commission visited factories, interviewed workers, and held public hearings. The commission’s findings ultimately led to the passage of more than 30 health and safety laws, including factory fire codes and child labour restrictions, and helped shape future labour laws across the country.

The Asch Building (later called the Brown Building) became a national landmark in 1991.

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Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Essay

Sadie Nussbaum, an eighteen-year-old Jewish girl who had lived in the United States of America her entire life along with 148 of her fellow workers, was killed in the fire in the Triangle Shirt Factory(Nussbaum death certificate). Ever since, historians and advocates have asked the question, “Who should be held responsible for their deaths?” After looking at many sources it seems that the owners of the building, Blanck and Harris, were ultimately responsible for the fire. This is because they failed to keep the building properly inspected, had terrible working conditions and over crowding, and only had one exit door.
March 25, 1911 started out as a normal work day for Sadie and the other 500 workers at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. But near the end of the day, a fire broke out on the top three floors of the Asch Building where she was working. Within thirty minutes, the building was engulfed in flames and approximately 146 workers (Introduction Fire!), mostly young women including Sadie, either burned or fell to their deaths. Historians have debated who should be held responsible for the.

It led to the transformation of the labor code and adoption of fire safety measures. Because of Blanck and Harris’ fatal mistakes when running their company and the tremendous number of deaths that occurred, The New York Factory Investigative Commission wrote thirty-six new labor related bills to protect the safety of the workers (Legacy of the Triangle Fire). The changes in codes and labor laws generated in the aftermath of the Triangle Fire had obvious beneficial effects on the safety and the working conditions of workers in New York State and across the country. Even though this event in history was catastrophic, the faults of Black and Harris eventually led to the improvement of working conditions in the United States of.


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Why the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Is Important Today

It may not seem that the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, which happened over a century ago in New York City, would be relevant today -- but it is. It was a tragedy that opened the nation's eyes to poor working conditions in garment factories and other workplaces, and set in motion a historic era of labor reforms. Unfortunately, we haven't built enough on these gains. Today, too many employers are failing to obey the labor and workplace safety laws that were enacted in the years following the tragedy. And in part because our government is not adequately enforcing these laws, workers are still needlessly losing their lives on the job. There is a lot that we can and must do to ensure that the wellbeing of workers is put above profits.

The Triangle Shirtwaist incident is remembered for its shocking brutality: On March 25, 1911, a ferocious fire broke out at a factory on the ninth floor of a building in New York City's Greenwich Village. Some of the exits and stairwells had been locked to prevent workers from taking breaks or stealing, leaving many unable to get out. As a result, 146 workers, mostly young immigrant women, died within 20 minutes. They were burned alive, asphyxiated by smoke or died trying to escape out of the windows and balcony.

The horrific event generated a nationwide outcry about working conditions and spurred efforts to improve standards. Activists and labor unions like the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) -- which lost members in the fire -- were at the forefront of this push for reforms. Honoring the memory of those who died is particularly important to me and others at Amalgamated Bank, which was founded by a garment worker's union in 1923, and is now majority-owned by Workers United, the successor to all major garment worker unions, including the ILGWU.

Thanks to the efforts of the ILGWU and all who fought for workplace reforms, real changes got underway immediately in 1911, New York State initiated the most comprehensive investigation of factory conditions in U.S. history. Their conclusions informed new standards that other states across the country replicated and built upon in subsequent years.

We've come a long way since the fire happened -- but it's clear we still have a long way to go.

After all, workplace safety issues are hardly a thing of the past. It seems like nearly every year, another workplace disaster happens somewhere in the United States. Like last year, when a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded, killing 14 and injuring over 160. Or in 2010, when an explosion at a West Virginia coal mine run by Massey Energy killed 29 miners and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion left 11 workers dead and caused an enormous environmental disaster.

Thankfully, none of these events matched the human cost of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire -- or the devastating factory collapse in Bangladesh last year where 1,129 people died -- but they should send a similar message. No one should lose his or her life because companies are putting profitmaking ahead of worker protections, and because our government is not performing its critical watchdog role. Experts say that in each of the cases cited above, proper safety precautions could have prevented the devastating accidents.

But companies are not consistent in their practices of adhering to worker safety precautions. So it's up to us -- through pressure on our government and strategically exercising our rights as consumers and shareholders -- to ensure that the right rules are in place and that companies play by them.

This issue of worker safety is of particular concern for undocumented workers who often receive the worst treatment of all. While working in some of our most physically demanding and low-paying jobs -- from construction to landscaping, and from housekeeping to daycare and nursing -- many of their employers also cut corners when it comes to their safety, knowing they are less likely than other workers to stand up for their rights. Immigrants have been crucial contributors to our economy since our nation's founding. Teenagers from Russia, Italy and Germany worked side-by-side at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory -- just as immigrants from all over the world do in today's workplaces -- and it's time we treated them with the fairness and respect they deserve.

How can we avoid these kinds of safety problems and exploitation to begin with? We can start by reinvigorating the role of unions. While unions continue to do everything they can to curb these abuses, the proportion of the workforce that is unionized has eroded dramatically since its peak in the 1950s. To ensure both safety and fairness on the job, workers need to join together on the job to improve their working conditions.

Institutional investors and other shareholders of publicly traded companies also have an important role to play. By pursuing corporate governance reforms when needed and lawsuits when companies commit serious wrongdoing, investors can spur changes from the inside out. Corporate governance actions can't erase the tragedy, but they can help make sure companies -- and their competitors -- are looking out for workers going forward.

Government also needs to step up. In so many cases of workplace safety problems or worker mistreatment, there are laws on the books that just aren't being enforced. Our elected officials need to fight for resources for workplace inspections through agencies like OSHA -- which has consistently faced cuts in recent years -- and ensure thorough investigations when problems are brought to their attention. For citizens, that means making our voices heard about the importance of workplace safety, and voting for elected officials who represent those views.

We can't undo history and bring back those we've lost. But we can prevent others from suffering similar fates -- and work to ensure both safety and fairness in the workplace -- now and in the future.


How the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Changed Fire Safety for Workers

Many workplace safety measures, such as fire and explosion safety, are something workers today take for granted. Most people don’t think about experiencing a fire or explosion in a factory or on a construction site, as there are laws and regulations in place that require employers to take steps to prevent these catastrophic events from happening.

However, fire and explosion safety wasn’t always a concern in the workplace. In past decades, employers didn’t give much thought to making their workplaces safe for employees.

In 1911, one of the most devastating workplace accidents in U.S. history forever changed fire safety in the workplace. In March 1911, 145 workers were killed when a fire broke out in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in Manhattan. The nation was shocked to learn that conditions in the factory were directly responsible for the loss of life.

What Was the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire?

As the History Channel states, “[The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire] is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial history, as the deaths were largely preventable — most of the victims died as a result of neglect safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories, and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers.”

While most people today think of a sprawling industrial complex when they picture a “factory,” the Triangle Shirtwaist factory was actually located in a high rise in the middle of the city. Situated on the top three floors of the Asch Building in Manhattan, it had four elevators and, two stairwells, and one fire escape. The problem was that just one of the elevators was operational. Even worse, workers had to file down a long, narrow hallway to reach it. The factory also lacked a sprinkler system because the company’s owners refused to install one.

As for the stairways, the company kept one locked at all times — purportedly to stop workers from stealing. The single accessible stairway had a door that opened inward, making it hard for workers to escape in the event of a fire.

The building had a fire escape, but it was “so narrow that it would have taken hours for all the workers to use it, even in the best of circumstances.”

This is an important point, as people understandably panic when they are around a fire. And when they are trapped in an enclosed space with few ways out, they typically start pushing and crowding around exits. This can stop anyone from actually getting out.

What’s even more devastating about the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1911 is that the same company had already experienced two earlier fires — both in 1902. Furthermore, the Triangle owners also owned a second shirtwaist company called the Diamond Waist Company. The Diamond Waist Company factory burned twice, once in 1907 and again in 1910.

Details About the Fire

On March 25, 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory had about 600 workers inside. The owners of the company had a long reputation of requiring their employees to work under terrible conditions. Workers, who were almost exclusively young girls from immigrant families, were paid just $15 each week for 12-hour work days. When workers attempted to strike in the past, the company’s owners had paid police to jail workers and harass them into abandoning their efforts to secure better pay and improved working conditions.

On the day of the fire, the blaze started in a rag bin. The manager on the floor tried to use a fire hose on the fire, but the hose was rotted and had a rusted valve that prevented it from turning on. As the fire grew and spread, some workers managed to use the building’s sole operating elevator to reach the ground level. However, the elevator eventually stopped working as the fire consumed the building. Several of the workers jumped down the elevator shaft as they tried to escape the flames but were killed by the impact. Other workers tried to escape down the stairwells but were burned alive when a door at the bottom of one stairwell was locked.

Fire and Explosion Safety Laws After the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire is a tragedy that spurred almost immediate action from worker safety groups, as well as government agencies in charge of ensuring employers adhere to safety regulations. As the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states, the tragic event “led to a ‘general awakening’ that continues to drive OSHA’s commitment to workers.” Over a century after the fire claimed so many lives, factories and construction companies today must take steps to protect their workers against fires and explosions.

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The Triangle Fire: Still Burning Before Our Nation

The Nation -- When word got out that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had ordered the windows of the state Capitol building bolted shut during the protests against his attacks on public employees, it was a chilling reminder of how employers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company had locked their factory doors, preventing the young, mostly immigrant women from escaping the deadly fire that killed 146. Employer groups like the Manufacturers’ Association had fought legislative efforts to install sprinklers in buildings, and garment manufacturing owners had resisted attempts by workers to form unions and gain bargaining rights so they could address job safety issues and improve wages and hours.  

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire on March 25, it’s sobering to realize many of the lessons we thought had been absorbed must be learned again—and again. The Triangle fire, a symbol of unfettered Gilded Age greed, still stands burning before us. From the lack of job safety and health protections to the treatment of immigrant workers to the attacks on the right to form a union and bargain for a better life—the issues raised by the Triangle fire still have not been resolved.

America’s Immigrant Workers

When most of us think about how the immigrant workers were treated at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, we are convinced such conditions no longer exist in this country. Not so, says Ai-jen Poo, founder of Domestic Workers United based in New York. Poo has helped lead a movement of some the nation’s most invisible workers, those not covered by standard US labor laws and hidden from view in countless homes. Last year, through the efforts of Domestic Workers United, the New York State Legislature enacted a precedent-setting law covering the wages, severance pay and sick days of the state’s estimated 200,000 nannies and housekeepers. The New York campaign for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights is a model for domestic workers nationwide who, despite the odds, are joining together and demanding their basic human rights on the job.

Today, some of the industries that employ immigrant workers are unregulated and have fallen outside the protection of existing labor laws, including the right to organize, says Poo. "But while these industries were once considered marginal, they are increasingly defining the entire direction of the economy where workers, whether immigrant or not, are experiencing dangerous working conditions, long working hours and low wages."

This “shadow” economy, with its long hours, low wages and dangerous conditions in which people are overworked and yet still poor, is “more the norm,” says Poo—and worse: "It’s a good window into the economic health of this country which is not very healthy. Just as at the turn of the century you could look at the manufacturing industry and see the economy wasn’t healthy."

But after Triangle and after countless more outrages, known and unknown, at the workplace, workers took their futures in their hands and reshaped the economy.

"We’re now in a very similar moment," says Poo. "We’re standing at the precipice of a major crisis for working people in their country, another moment where we have to stand up as immigrant workers and all workers to take back our rights and dignity in the workplace and in the economy as a whole."

Job Safety and Health

Last April, 99 years after the Triangle disaster, 29 miners were killed at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine in an explosion that the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says could have been prevented if the mine had been in compliance with federal mine safety rules. Massey Energy, the mine’s owner, had a significant history of safety violations.

The coal industry isn’t the only one in which US workers die at work. In 2008, 5,214 workers were killed on the job, another 50,000 workers died from occupational diseases, and at least 4.6 million workers were reported injured. The disasters last year that killed those miners could have been avoided had lawmakers resisted lobbying by mine owners, says Peter Dreier, who teaches politics and chairs the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. Dreier says that today, the leading foe of reform "is the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is on a crusade against the Obama administration’s plans to set new rules on unsafe workplaces, industrial hazards and threats to public health." According to Dreier, "the Chamber’s most vocal proponent is Darrell Issa, the conservative California Republican who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. At the request of the Chamber and other industry lobbies, Issa recently launched a congressional assault on safeguards in workplaces and communities."

The American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Association of American Railroads, the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association and lobbies representing health care, banking and telecommunication providers are lobbying to scale back the gamut of job safety and health laws that protect millions of workers. And Republicans are doing their bidding. In a piece on Triangle, Dreier and Donald Cohen, director of the Cry Wolf Project that counters attempts to discredit progressive policies, write that Republicans in Congress are "proposing to cut OSHA’s budget by 20 percent, which, coming on top of decades of cuts, would cripple an agency that has been effective at significantly reducing workplace injuries and deaths."

A century after the Triangle fire, “we still hear much of the same rhetoric whenever reformers seek to use government” to get businesses act more responsibly and protect consumers, workers and the environment.

The Republican leadership is trying to drive home the message that, as Speaker John Boehner put it, “excessive regulation costs jobs” and the “path to prosperity” is by “getting government out of the way.” Americans of earlier generations—who enjoyed the benefits of the Progressive Era and the New Deal reforms, and the political clout of a vibrant labor movement—understood this was nonsense, but it seems like the lessons of the past have to be relearned again.

Freedom to Form Unions

When newly-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker proposed taking collective bargaining rights away from Wisconsin public employees early this year, Chad Goldberg joined tens of thousands—sometimes hundreds of thousands—of state residents to protest the move. He and others spent the night at the Capitol to ensure the governor didn’t shut them out, in addition to taking part in rallies during the state’s bitter winter. The Wisconsin uprising has lasted for more than five weeks, sparking solidarity rallies across the country and generating support from as far away as Egypt and Australia. Goldberg, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, notes the bitter irony that on the 100th anniversary of the Triangle fire, "Walker is turning the clock back in Wisconsin, refusing to work with unions or allow public employees to bargain over working conditions."

"The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire showed what can happen when employers refuse to work with unions,” says Goldberg, vice president of United Faculty & Academic Staff (UFAS), AFT Local 223. "If the factory owners had negotiated with the garment workers' union, which demanded a decent fire escape and better safety conditions, 146 lives would have been saved."

The Republican-controlled legislature approved Walker’s proposal to gut collective bargaining, saying the action would help the state’s budget. But Goldberg and others know the move was political—taking away the freedom of workers to bargain has nothing to do with balancing the budget. In state after state, similar attacks on the rights of workers to bargain for good middle class jobs are aimed at gutting the strength of workers and stacking the deck in favor of CEOs and Wall Street. Collective bargaining rights are a matter of basic fairness, says Goldberg. Collective bargaining “strengthens shared governance, needed checks and balances and accountability and improves working conditions.” Goldberg adds, "Our working conditions are students’ learning conditions and when you improve one, you improve the other."

The Triangle fire “also showed how arrogance and oppression can galvanize the public to demand better treatment for workers,” he says.

“The governor’s arrogance, the arrogance of the public legislators, the way they’re overreaching and the extremist nature of their agenda is really fueling a public reaction in defense of workers’ rights and public services. The Triangle fire led to the growth of the garment workers' union and the strengthening of fire, health, and labor regulations. Today in Wisconsin, we're seeing the same kind of public mobilization to defend workers' rights and the public services on which working families depend."

Columbia University’s Remembering the Triangle Factory Fire site offers details of the events, the reforms it sparked and educational resources for teachers.

The US Department of Labor offers a mobile-optimized website to commemorate the anniversary, featuring an audio tour and background of the event. When you travel to one of the locations for the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire you can listen to an audio description of the location by clicking on the link within the page.

Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition lists a range of events commemorating the 100th anniversary.


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