Triangle Factory Laws
The tragic Triangle Waist Company fire on March 25, 1911 in New York City’s Greenwich Village was a major turning point in American history. One hundred and forty-six workers, mostly teenage Jewish and Italian immigrant girls, perished after the fire broke out on Triangle Company’s sweatshop on the 8th and 9th floors of the building. Many were locked in, a common measure to prevent theft, and the only available exit was a multi-story plummet to the pavement below. Others burned alive or were stampeded to death in the rush to escape.
After the Fire Governor John Alden Dix (D) created the Factory Investigating Commission (FIC) and granted it powers unprecedented in New York’s history. The FIC experienced remarkable success in restricting child labor and granting women workers a reasonable workday. The FIC even tried to institute a minimum wage for New York, but political opponents stifled the policy proposal. Other accomplishments include:
Automatic sprinklers became mandatory in buildings seven stories or higher and factories of 200 or more employees.
Factory doors had to be unlocked during work hours, and they were required to swing outwards.
A building construction code requiring that new buildings include multiple enclosed fireproof stairways and fire escapes.
Employers are required to provide clean drinking water, washrooms, and toilets for their employees.
Women could work no more than a 54 hour work week and nine hours a day.
Children ages 18 and under were banned from work that could injure their health and well-being.
Cry Wolf Quotes
I have seen children working in factories, and I have seen them working at home and they were perfectly happy.
This condition is depreciating the value of real estate, restricting its marketability, and driving manufacturers out of the City and State of New York.
The rent is very high, and you can’t recent a place above ground in New York city to establish a bakery. If you can’t have a bake shop in a basement in New York City, you can’t have a bake shop here, that is all, unless people will pay prohibitive prices for bread; And we hear a great deal now about the high cost of living.
I can’t see what all this talk is about. How is it wrong for the State to intervene with regard to the working conditions of people who work in the factories and mills. I don’t see what they mean. What did we set up the government for?