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(ILGWU Archives, Kheel Center, Cornell University.)

Mourning the Triangle Fire victims in the rain, 1911

The tragedy of the fire shocked the nation. Rose Schneiderman, a young garment worker and organizer for the NY Women's Trade Union League, spoke at a memorial meeting in the Metropolitan Opera House: "Every year thousands of us are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap and property is so sacred! I know from my experience it is up to the working people to save themselves, and the only way is through a strong working-class movement." That movement grew out of the fire, and it pushed politicians to accept a new notion of the responsibilities of government. Ultimately thirty-six new labor laws were passed, the foundation of New York State's industrial code, and an industrial safety model for the nation.

© Copyright 2003, NYU Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives