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The Triangle of Fire - Essay Example

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Summary
It was during the early 90s that the initial stages of the labor union movement began. It is shocking when you view the working conditions that many factory employees worked under during that phase. When despite some form of protests and strikes taking place, for a meager pay factory workers were willing to settle for substandard conditions…
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The Triangle of Fire
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The Triangle of Fire

Download file to see previous pages... The Triangle fire, also known as ‘Triangle Shirtwaist Fire’ was a disaster in which 146 workers, a majority of which were women, died. What makes this incident even more horrifying is the fact that these women leaped to their deaths or that they were trapped inside the infrastructure. Due to aspects of workplace safety overlooked by the management; such as unsafe working conditions, in adequate fire escapes, no fire extinguishers and a lack of instilling emergency procedures as part of workers training. It was this tragedy which highlighted the negatives of the workplace conditions of the industrialization era – Low wages, tedious hours and an unsanitary work environment. (Cornell, 2011, p.3). Above all, it goes to show the general lack of concern for the low class but hardworking factory workers residing in America. The deaths of the victims on that day, a living proof of industrial greed, led to these 146 women being labeled as ‘martyrs.’ This was simply because of the consequences that resulted due to the Triangle Fire tragedy. There was wave of new awareness regarding work place safety, implementation of higher industry regulations. Despite all that one cannot help but point out the fact that it still failed to eliminate sweatshops from American soil. You see, Sweatshops initially existed for the intent of producing a large amount of clothing items, with their competitive advantage being the incorporation of cheap labor wages for the employees. The setup of these buildings left little room for spacious utilization, infact these buildings were cramped, with very few fans or windows. The factory workers received meager pays, worked long and hard hours with rare breaks and the place had poor facilities and little room to accommodate the large amount of workers. To gain a clearer picture of the happenings that took place in the Asch Building, where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was based lets look at the description given by Sadie Frowne, a swear shop employee: “The machines go like mad all day because the faster you work the more money you get. Sometimes in my haste I get my finger caught and the needle goes right through it.   It goes so quick, though, that it does not hurt much.   I bind the finger up with a piece of cotton and go on working".  The terror and the fear that the young workers felt can also been seen in the way another worker, Rose Cohen, describes her first day at the factory “He kicked a chair, from which the back had been broken off, to the finisher's table. My hands trembled so that I could not hold the needle properly.” As horrifying as that sounds, even today, despite all the progress that we have made as far as labor reform is concerned we cannot help but still see undercurrents of the industrialization era as Jo Ann depicts it. Studies conducted by the U.S Department of Labor show that over 67% of the garment factories of Los Angeles and approximately 63% of New York City factories, are in direct violation of minimum wage as well as overtime laws. Also it is seen that 98% of these factories in Los Angeles have such lax workplace safety regulations that serious health and security risks for the workers exist. These include long term severe injuries or death (Cornell, 2011, p.2). Furthermore it goes to reflect the destitute conditions that these workers still settle for even after 100 years of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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