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|The Asch building--known as the Brown building today--was the home of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and site of both the first large scale strike of women workers in the country and of one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. Hazardous working conditions were the rule in early 20th-century American industry, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was no exception.|
When fire swept through the building in the spring of 1911, locked doors and missing fire escapes contributed to the deaths of 146 workers, most of them young women. Many leapt to their deaths in a vain effort to avoid the flames.
This was the beginning of the labor movement that brought us safe working conditions, the child labor laws, a 40 hr week, minimum wage, vacations,and all the other laws that brought the middle class into being. The corporations through the teabag party and with republican support are trying to dismantle all that the unions have gained as we've witnessed over the past few weeks in Wisconsin and all over the country.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Building, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 23-29 Washington Place in New York City, NY. The property is now used as classrooms and offices by New York University and is not open to the public.