26.03.2011 20.Adar ll, 5771
New York City sweatshop disaster that killed 146 people, many of whom were Jewish immigrants, led to major changes in labor and safety laws.
A century ago today, one of the deadliest workplace disasters in American history took place at New York City’s Triangle Shirtwaist Company, killing 146 young sweatshop workers, most of whom were Jewish immigrants. Tragically, rather than wait for rescue forces that would never reach them, many of those killed chose to jump to their death. The tragedy, one of the most symbolic events for modern labor movements, led to major changes in workplace labor and safety laws throughout the United States.
On several occasions prior to 1911, the young women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company attempted striking in order to demand better sanitary and safety conditions. On the evening of March 25, however, they were back at work on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of the Brown Building in lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. On that Saturday, most of the doors to the factory were locked and when a fire broke out on the work floor, likely from a carelessly discarded cigarette butt, the girls had nowhere to escape….