Triangle Shirtwaist Factory

751 Words4 Pages
Throughout America’s history, there are few dates that are as influential as May 25, 1911. On this day, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught fire and took the lives of 146 workers. Before the “Triangle Shirtwaist Fire,” the factory was a successful garment industry that thrived off of political corruption, and extremely horrible working conditions. Not only was the disaster responsible for the death of 146 workers, it helped shape many changes dealing with business and politics. During the early 1900’s, countless immigrants were settling in America. From their first day in America, these immigrants, many from Italy or were Eastern European Jews, endured rough living conditions. Many of these outsiders lived in tenement houses, which were small houses jammed with people inside. Due to the amount of immigrants coming in, multiple families often lived together in these crammed houses. Because of the excessive number of people and the lack of air circulation, it was very easy to pass along sicknesses or diseases. The overwhelming amount of foreigners traveling to America provided cheap labor for many of America’s industries, especially the fast growing garment industry. Women could also do housework, or more demanding jobs including commercial laundries, and cleaning restaurant linens. Workers were expected to work long hours and paid next to nothing. Work schedules usually included working 12 hour shifts, everyday of the week with only 30 minute lunch breaks. Not only is factory work grueling and long, it is also humiliating. The workers were often rushed when using the bathroom, under paid, made fun of, and searched after every work day. The clothing industry rose very quickly and by the early 1900’s, more immigrants (many female immigrants) in New York worked in clothing factories than any other industry. With the quick expansion of the clothing industry, the
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