Kiki & Lala

100 Years Ago Today

Posted on: March 25, 2011

On this day 100 years ago was the worst workplace fire in New York City.  Known as the Triangle Fire, it abruptly took 146 lives of workers, mostly immigrant women and some as young as 14 years old!  The Triangle Shirtwaist Company employed many immigrants to work in their garment factory located right off Washington Square Park (my school).

Apparently, these workers were subjected to working conditions we would consider unaccepatable today – low wages, no over time pay, bad working environment and un-trusting, suspicious employers.  The fire broke out on the 8th floor and quickly spread trapping the workers.   The staircase that they could have used to escape happened to be locked that day!  The firemen were helpless because their ladders only reached the 6th floor.  The only silver lining this devastating tragedy brought was that legislators were forced to evaluate the horrible working conditions of blue collar workers and revamp regulations on occupational safety and health.   Here are some photos I grabbed from another blog (awesome blog on development, btw).  So photo credits go to

A warning to all employees.  Doesn’t this kind of management still resonate in the Philippines today?

NYU boys attempt to save the day.

Union Advocates wanting to be heard.

The Triangle building 100 years later.

In a way it’s sad that the lives of 146 workers had to be sacrificed to make this country one of the best places to work in. But it seems to be our nature to choose to learn the hard way.   So how about we make these 146 “martyrs” heroes for the month of March?


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