CHAPTER 11

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Rise of the Labor Safety Movement

Historians have called the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire a catalyst in the American labor movement. The tragic event—a result of a locked emergency exit—ignited strikes, outrage, and the mobilization of a major grassroots labor safety movement whose influence is still felt today. Although the Triangle fire occurred more than a century ago, research conducted by historians proves the event was one of the most transformative developments in American social and economic history, forever changing the “traditional war between capital and labor” and the responsibilities the federal government in protecting its workers.

Placing responsibility with the government ...

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