Frances Perkins, a survivor from the Shirtwaist Factory Fire quotes “Moved by this sense of stricken guilt, we banded ourselves together to find a way by law to prevent this kind of disaster.” Frances Perkins became secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and this quote said by Perkins “something must be done. We’ve got to turn this into some kind of victory, some kind of constructive action,” helped new workplace safety standards into law in the state of New York. The benefits that I would like the audience to see is how workplace safety is important by learning about the history of regulation, OSHA, and workers compensation. The history of regulation begins with the Shirtwaist Factory Fire that happened in 1911, and started
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Could the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory have been prevented? I am not going to answer that question just yet. Without assessing all of the information to prevent the making of unfounded accusations. First things first you may be asking yourself what a Triangle Shirtwaist is. A triangle shirtwaist is a type of blouse that many women wore in the early 1900's.
Including women's rights, workers rights, workplace safety, fire codes and immigrant issues. Before the fire, there were little to no worker regulations, leading to worker injury and death. The only safety measures available to workers at the workplace were 27 buckets of water and an unreliable fire escape. Most of the doors were locked from the outside, making it almost impossible to escape in time of disaster. After the fire, it was almost impossible for the government not to institute laws to protect workers.
Work Conditions in the 1800’s were worse than bad. A regular work day was 11.4 hours for Men women and children. Many factories had rapidly moving pieces of machinery. Those machines where very dangerous to work around. These machines being fast moving belts to crushers that wouldn't stop on a dime.
In April 2013, Matthew Yglesias, an American Economics Journalist proposed the people of Bangladesh would not appreciate having stronger safety standards in their country because it would cause undue harm economically. He asserts Bangladesh should have different lower standards for safety because they are a poorer country. Most of the people involved in the New York tragedy of 1911 also known as the Triangle Fire, would not agree with Matthew Yglesias on his assertion that lower economic status would be an indication of lower safety standards in factories. Namely, the workers, the union leaders, the progressive reformers and the political leaders would all vote for higher standards commiserate with the United States. The only ones who would not argue with Yglesias are the owners of the Triangle Factory with their vested interest, their own problems of multiple fires and accusations of safety neglect.
George Pullman might say that he wanted to listen the worker’s demands by inviting them to share their complaints with him. However, his actions showed that his true intentions were not to arbitrate the disputes, but to declare that he will fire anyone who complains about the wages. When Pullman was visited by 43 workers asking for lower rents or higher wages, he, in return, fired three members of the grievance committee, while claiming that he had no more use for their services. Workers were kicked out for simply explaining their financial difficulties to him, while others decided to quit because of the way Pullman treated the workers that he fired. Not only was this an irrational response, Pullman was not even trying to listen to these people.
In 1887, Samuel Gompers mused, “... I hold it as a self-evident proposition that no successful attempt can be made to reach those ends without first improving present conditions.” What Gompers is suggesting is that regulations to protect the workers must be made before one attempts to abolish bigger discrepancies. His base work in improving workplace regulations resulted in a stricter hand in government telling businesses what they can and can’t do. Gompers creation of the American Federation of Labor made workers of America a more united force, that led to changes for the good of the working class. One of these changes that occurred from Samuel Gompers work was the Adamson Act.
Based on our group’s research, we believe that the labor movement in the 1820s in the United States during the Jacksonian Democracy was a major factor in the implementation of many of the laws and better working conditions that are present in today’s society. As we have learned and presented to the class, this labor movement in the 1820s grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers and to improve their overall working conditions. We currently see the results of these labor unions that were formed in the 1820s whenever we enjoy the luxury of having our weekends off from work and having the opportunity to miss work, also known as “sick leave”, when we are ill. We now have an established minimum wage and legally, no one is forced
The detrimental Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is considered to be one of the most tragic disasters in history. On March 25th, 1911, a fire broke out and killed 146 garment workers who were mostly women. These women worked countless hours with low wages and inhumane working conditions in a factory. Even though this event was tragic, the triangle shirtwaist fire helped to shape the new world for the better. The multitude of workers trapped within the inferno to their demise was the final straw for the mistreatment of America’s workers.
The life of an industrial worker was very hard. Workers had to work long shifts and get paid very little. Some worked ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week, and made less than one dollar per hour. Along with long hours and little pay, there was no regulation for breaks, safety, or age. Due to this, one in eleven workers died on the job.
The exposure of these circumstances during the fire led to the attraction of Progressives and confirmed the arguments they were trying to make about the American economy. The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company caught the imagination of many Progressives because
They had horrible working hours and usually had to work six days a week or maybe even seven. In some cases, laborers had to work from 3am till 7pm. The Government took notice and addressed this issue in the International Labor Congress in which representatives demand a reduction on working hours (6). Another issue that was addressed was the fact that workers had no health insurance if they suffered from any injuries while doing their jobs. The representatives called for factories to treat the lives and limbs of their workers as sacred and help pay for the injuries (6).
To illustrate, in 1890, John Sherman passed a bill known as the “Sherman Antitrust Act,” which attempted to counter the growing number of trusts and monopolies in the country (Doc. 4). Although the Antitrust Act failed to stop any trusts, the act did help pave the way for legislation in the early 1900’s that would help workers and workers’ rights. In conclusion,
Despite progressive victories for organized labor being achieved, both internal and external feuds and threats consistently inhibited large scale gains for the movement. Some of the victories included improved working conditions, checks against monopolies, and protections against child labor. Despite these advances, a grand coalition of workers were unable to totally unite and change the tide of rampant and abusive capitalism in the country. This led to the continuation of a very volatile growing economy that left numerous working-class Americans in shambles, unable to climb out of the holes their wage reliance keeps them in. In order to maintain their massive profits and growing power, the big business owners proved that they were willing to subjugate their own workers in order to stockpile inexplicable piles of
Progressivism is unquestionably hard to define. Nonetheless, many historians have endeavored to define and sought out how it embarked. Every person will have different perspectives, thus each of the historians will have different outlooks of how they view the findings and what they assume progressivism is. Therefore, this essay will work to exemplify what I think triggered the progressive movement in the United States. Gilded Age caused many problems to outbreak in its era, such as, outlandish fortunes and poverty, incongruous meat production, flux of foreign immigration, ecological demolition, etc.
The Act included the first regulation that legalized safeguards for health, life and limb (Wikipedia). Indeed, the laws were meant for the workers in the factories to have safer working conditions, but it never really worked out. Records vary, but it is known that as many as 35,000 workers killed and another million injured on the job in 1900. (Lutz,