Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial Dinner 3/24/05Tuesday, March 8, 2005
When I was studying at Cornell School of Industrial & Labor Relations, one of the most riveting events we studied was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. In short, on March 25, 1911, a raging fire broke out on the top floors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company building in lower Manhattan. Many of the workers, mostly immigrant women and girls, could not escape because the company had locked the exits. Because of the locked exits, many of the workers had to jump from the ninth floor to their death. In total, 146 workers died. Up until the 9/11 tragedy, the Triangle Fire was the seminal event in occupational safety history, and led to the establishment of workers compensation laws and better working conditions throughout the nation.
On March 24, 2005, the Third Annual Triangle Memorial Fire Dinner will be held at the Fire Museum of the City of New York at 6:00 pm. My good friend Jim McCarthy and fellow workers compensation attorneys spearheaded this fantastic event, and the proceeds fund scholarships for children of injured workers. All those interested in attending can contact Jim at (718) 830-3200. For those who can make the dinner but are interested in the history of this gripping industrial tragedy, I strongly recommend the recently published Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by David Von Drehle. It is a real page turner involving struggling immigrants, building inspectors on the take, crafty lawyers, titans, of industry, and the politicians demanding reform (only after a tragedy occurs my how things done change!). Hope you can join us on March 24th.