146 Women Leap to Death

March 25, 1911 Written by: The Great Muckraker Mrs. Angus

Awful work conditions led to the death of 146 young ladies.

At the Triangle Shirt Factory, women were use to working long work days. Girls as young as 12 were working up 14 hours a day, 6 days a week hunched over their sew machines. These women two years prior tried to unionize in the 20,000 march for better work conditions. However, these pleas went on deaf ears. Conditions did not change, bosses instead made sure to lock them in their work rooms. This way they could not unionize on breaks but this would be the leading cause of their death.

The factory was a death trap with no fire escapes. Plus the exits were locked. It was just a matter of time before the factory went up in smoke. A fire started and quickly spread because of the debris of cloth littered around the dirty factory. Women tried to desperately get out but found it impossible. As a result, they jumped 9 stories to their death. As one bystander said, "They were crackling like buttons on the cobble stone" as they fell (Robert Phillip, poem)

Factory conditions must change! How many more mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters must New York lose before changes are made. Are you will to sacrifice your loved one? Or will you stand by, as the police officers did below, and watch your family and friends die.

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Follow up 1920

Changes were made after Triangle Shirt Waist Factory. New fire codes such as proper fire escapes, sprinkler systems, and the ended of locked doors. There would even be laws passed to limit work hours for women and children later on. However, the unions are what picked up the most steam after this event, which would fight for even more change.