The rapid growth of the garment industry in NYC at the turn of the 20th century brought a large number of young, unmarried women into the workplace. Often forced to work in sweatshop-like conditions, they were easily exploited by their employers but drew upon a spirit of independence to begin organizing unions, charities and newspapers. In 1909, when a general strike was called, 20,000 to 30,000 workers joined the protest. Triangles Fire, Immigrants Woman, Fashion History, Factories Fire, Al Colors, Triangles Shirtwaist Fire, Success Woman, People History, Shirtwaist Factories
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Funeral On April 5, 1911, the union that had been organizing in the garment industry, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), arranged a funeral along Fifth Avenue for the victims. More than 120,000 people marched; 300,000 people lined up to watch.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire  Photographer: International Ladies Garmet workers Union Picture of bodies at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Company rules were to keep doors closed to the factory so workers (mostly immigrant women) couldn’t leave or steal. When a fire ignited, disaster struck. 146 people died that day.
Clara Lemlich led the Uprising of N.Y. garment workers. "I am a working girl, one of those striking against intolerable conditions," she told the crowd. "And I have no further patience for talk." 700 of the women she led on the strike were arrested, 19 were sentenced to labor camps. The next year a fire in her workplace, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, killed 146 workers: steel doors had been bolted shut to prevent workers from going on breaks. She lived to be 96.