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
Many owners will be so financially embarrassed by the great expenditure made necessary thereby that great numbers of buildings would be forced into foreclosure or otherwise sacrificed.
In Utica no one ever bothers the factories about these things. Why are we bothered this way? No, we do not keep the names and addresses of our homeworkers. Women wanting such work come in and get it and that’s all there is about it.
I don’t think the public is going to gain anything by forcing the small baker out of business.
I want to say that a bakery that conducts their business in what you term a cellar can keep it just as clean as though they were in any other part of the building. I believe it entirely depends upon the person who is running the place.