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Triangle Shirt Waist Fire killed 146

March 25, 2011

U.S. workplace health and safety laws improved but have since lapsed

Funeral for 146 workers who died in the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire.

Today, March 25, marks the 100th anniversary of the tragic Triangle Shirt Waist Factory fire in New York City that led to mass protests and some modest changes that were designed to create safer work conditions.

The workplace tragedy killed 146 workers, many of them immigrant Jewish and Italian women, two only 14 years old. Reforms did occur as a result of the public outcry, but much of the occupational health and safety legislation adopted has to a large extent lapsed in effectiveness.  

For a good account by Joshua Freeman in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/159282/remembering-triangle-fire.

In a call to the labour movement to mobilize to move forward not maintain the status quo, Freeman concludes that “Only by recapturing the spirit of the reformers of a century ago, that the world belongs to us, to make right as we see fit, can we achieve even modest improvements in our daily reality.”

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