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TRIANGLE The Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle - Essay Example

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Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David von Drehle. The issue of Working Conditions. Many people came to New York in search of work. Some journeyed all the way across the ocean and spent every penny they had just to get here and find a job. The dream of a city paved with gold could never come true, but for most there was at least a place in a factory, manufacturing some of the goods that made America into one of the leading trading nations of the world…
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TRIANGLE The Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle
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"TRIANGLE The Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle"

Download file to see previous pages The Triangle factory was not the best example of its kind in New York, but it was not the worst either. In a single working day, a thousand blouses would take shape, involving the work of machine operators, quality checkers, foremen, bookkeepers, shipping clerks, taking up their places on the top three floors of the ten storey Asch building which were devoted solely to the production of shirtwaist blouses. Factory owners and town planners had a duty, in theory at least, to observe general principles of safety and health, but everyone knew that “in reality, no one - contractors or city authorities - paid meaningful attention to laws against crowding.” (Drehle, p. 47) In the rush to produce ever more blouses, and of course to bring in ever greater profits, the bosses used to cut corners and push their workers to the limits. In some cases there were signs that they even went beyond the limits, as for example when they short-changed the workers’ pay, or tampered with the clocks to make sure lunch breaks were short, and working days were long. (von Drehle, p. 7) After all, the more money the company made, the more secure the jobs were, and the more money the workers made also. The terrible events that occurred on the afternoon on Saturday, March 25, 1911 have caused citizens across America to stand up for their rights and demand that bosses be held responsible for the safety of their workers. This single dreadful fire which caused the deaths of almost 150 loyal workers could and should have been prevented by proper fire alarm systems, and by ensuring that sufficient fire exits are available at all times to allow people working on the upper floors to descend to the street both quickly and safety. The newspaper reports speak of locked doors, broken fire escapes, and a total absence of a plan for the evacuation of the personnel. Some have argued that the design of the Triangle factory was progressive and modern, since it had lofty roof spaces and a layout that allowed for the use of efficient new machinery. The machines made clothing faster, but at the same time there were dangers in every sharp angle, and every unguarded cutting edge, every moving needle. It is marvellous what modern science can do but at the same time this event shows that there is just as big a need to use our skills to design and implement systems for the protection of the workforce. It is just not acceptable that we have the knowledge to build sprinkler systems and fireproof stairways (Von Drehle, p. 195) but that we choose not to use it just because of the trouble and cost that they add to the construction costs of the workplace. The Triangle disaster points to one of the biggest problems that face twentieth century America: the greed for profit which is sought at the expense of individual workers’ rights. Each person who died in that factory had a family back at home, who now will suffer for the rest of their lives from the memory of what happened, and the traumatic events that were described by the police and rescue services. Most of the people who died were young and they had their whole lives before them, and yet they were wiped out because of the drive for profit which was made at the expense of their futures. There is one ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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