Essay About Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

Essay About Triangle Shirtwaist Fire-46
At a series of mass meetings, thousands of strikers voted unanimously to reject the factory owners’ proposal.They insisted on a closed shop provision in which all employees at a worksite were members of a union.The large factories, which were the holdouts, knew they had lost the war of public opinion and were finally ready to negotiate.

At a series of mass meetings, thousands of strikers voted unanimously to reject the factory owners’ proposal.They insisted on a closed shop provision in which all employees at a worksite were members of a union.The large factories, which were the holdouts, knew they had lost the war of public opinion and were finally ready to negotiate.

A few months earlier, hired thugs had beaten her savagely for her union involvement, breaking ribs. Tired of hearing speakers for more than two hours, Clara made her way to the stage, shouting, “I want to say a few words! Once she got to the podium, she continued, “I have no further patience for talk as I am one of those who feels and suffers from the things pictured. ” The audience rose to their feet and cheered, then voted for a strike.

When the meeting’s star attraction, the American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers, spoke, the crowd went wild. The next morning, throughout New York’s garment district, more than 15,000 shirtwaist makers walked out.

Soon after, police officers began arresting strikers, and judges fined them and sentenced some to labor camps.

One judge, while sentencing a picketer for “incitement,” explained, “You are striking against God and Nature, whose law is that man shall earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. ” The struggle and spirit of the women strikers caught the attention of suffragists.

For these young women workers, the strike had become more than taking a stand for a pay raise and reduced work hours.

They wanted to create a union with real power and solidarity.The “shirtwaist”—a woman’s blouse—was one of the country’s first fashion statements that crossed class lines.The booming ready-made clothing industry made the stylish shirtwaist affordable even for working women.Wealthy progressive women like Anne Morgan (daughter of J. Morgan) and Alva Belmont (whose first husband, William Vanderbilt, presented her with a home so lavish, it was worth 0 million in today’s dollars) believed that all women—rich and poor—would be treated better if women had the right to vote.Alva saw the labor uprising as an opportunity to move the women strikers’ concerns into a broader feminist struggle.She arranged huge rallies, fund-raising events and even spent nights in court paying the fines for arrested strikers.The coalition of the wealthy suffragists and shirtwaist strikers quickly gained momentum and favorable publicity.Worn with an ankle-length skirt, the shirtwaist was appropriate for any occasion—from work to play—and was more comfortable and practical than fashion that preceded it, like corsets and hoops.Years before the Triangle fire, garment workers actively sought to improve their working conditions—including locked exits in high-rise buildings—that led to the deaths at Triangle.While a closed shop became standard practice in later decades, at the time, their insistence seemed radical.The issue unraveled the alliance between the union and the wealthy progressive women.

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