On March 25 1911, 146 people died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
|Photo courtesy of obit-mag.com)|
The vast majority of those that perished were women, some as young as fourteen. Part of the reason there were so many deaths was due to the fact that the stairwells and exits were locked, preventing escape.
As with similar events, the tragedy prompted legislative reforms, primarily in the areas of workplace safety regulations. In addition, it helped to contribute to the rise of labor unions in the United States.
I have no deep insights on this event. It’s mind-numbing to think of the impact the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire has had on the family and communities in which the victims belonged to. People’s lives were changed forever. It’s a heartbreaking and unfortunate chapter in New York City’s history.
I would encourage the readers to explore more about this event and its effects:
- Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (via Wikipedia)
- The 1911 Triangle Factory Fire (via the Cornell University ILR department)
- What is a Shirtwaist? (via PBS.org)
- 100 Years Later: Examining the Impact of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (via The New York Times)
It’s important to understand the past, so as to not repeat it. Within the spaces (physical and otherwise) we share with peers, colleagues, and co-workers, we must be mindful. As leaders, we can choose to be pro-active in removing or reducing potential threats and issues, or we can wait until something forces our hand. The choice is ours.