Free Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Movie Review Sample

Type of paper: Movie Review

Topic: Factory, Workplace, Human Resource Management, People, Women, Triangle, Vehicles, Government

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/10

ANALYSIS. The movie “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” is a documentary about the deadliest workplace accident in cities history which took place on March 25, 1911 in one of the New York factories called “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory”. The factory occupied 8th and 9th floors of the Asch Building which was situated just in the heart of New York at Madison Square near Washington Square and New York University. The tenth floor of the Asch Building was dedicated to the owners of the Triangle Factory – Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, recent immigrants from the Eastern Europe. Their hired workers were Italian girls immigrants, some of them were as young as 10, who came to the United States for better life, dreaming about being economically independent and providing their families with all they needed. Sewing machine operator in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was a desired position because of the spacious halls with big windows and high ceilings which all the other factories did not possess. Despite these privileges and the similarity of the situations of immigrant owners and immigrant workers who, as it seemed, might have helped and supported each other, Blanck and Harris made their sewing machine operators work under the horrible and, what’s more, dangerous conditions: women had to work fourteen hours a day, six days a week for $2 per hour. There was invigilator walking between the rows monitoring their work, women were supposed to make 300 stiches per minute without standing up for drinking, bathroom or anything else; there were no sanitary protecting health of the workers, no legislations protecting their rights as humans and that was the reason they were treated like animals. All emergency doors were locked with the purpose of checking the bags of the workers who, as Harris and Blanck believed might steal a piece of cloth, needles or threads which they were afraid would reflect on their profit. The other factories opened and made the same fashionable for that time shirtwaists as the Triangle Factory did, also the price for cloth was increasing and the factory owners tried to buy as much cloth as possible at the lowest possible price, so it was easy flammable and of lower quality.
Meanwhile, garment workers from different factories all over the city were gathering for a strike aimed at demanding higher wages per hour, better working conditions and shorter working hours. Thousands of sewing machine operators were rising to resist injustice and 70 New York factories out of 500 agreed on the demands of their workers. Isaac Harris and Max Blanch were afraid of the thought that their workers would go on strike too; it would diminish their powers but they couldn’t prevent them from demanding their rights, so one day they came at the factory and found nobody there which meant their own workers were on strike. The two owners were trying to make every effort to avoid fall of the profit of their business. “The shirtwaist kings” even used private detective agencies to control their workers when they were out of work and brought prostitutes and police on the picket who battered the poor women every day. The women were ruled by the will of living better life and working under the acceptable conditions. A 22-year old Clara Lemard made the speech calling on going on picket which was totally supported by her audience. By the middle of December the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory felt they lost control over their personnel so they gathered the meeting and finally gave in to the demands of their sewing machine operators.
It seemed the things were getting better with shorter working hours and higher pay for the work. March 25, 1911, Saturday was a short 8-hour day on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory; New Yorkers went into the streets of the city center where the factory was situated for a weekend rest, it seemed everybody enjoyed the day. It was prohibited to smoke in the factory but the invigilators suspected them of smoking secretly. One of the workers on the eighth floor dropped a cigarette in a bin with pieces of cloth which was bought at new lower price. The smoke immediately started spreading all over the building, all exits were blocked by the fire, the only accessible door was the one that led to the Washington Square, women crowded near the elevator leading to the door, when it finally took them up and the women thought they were rescued, they saw the door was locked and nobody had the key, they were simply burnt alive, there were 50 of them. Fifty-three women leaped from the windows in order not to be burnt, 19 people died in the elevator shaft and more than twenty tumbled after the fire escape, death toll of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was one hundred forty-six. All this time thousands of passers-by outside stood watching the tragedy but they couldn’t do anything about that. The owners of the factory, Max Blanck and Isaac Harris were on the on the 10th floor of the Asch Building so they were able to escape on the roof where the fire started so they were alive. The factory owners were first blamed of the manslaughter of the first and second degrees as at the moment they escaped, they knew the doors were locked and their workers wouldn’t be able to go out of the building but the prosecutors failed to prove it in the court room. The public was enraged by the impunity of the culprits of the tragedy and government had then enacted 30 laws on working conditions and on child labor. The sad is that nobody would do anything and more than a hundred of people had so that the public and the government came to such a decision.
ETHICAL REASONING. The main point of the movie is human relationships and the most striking historical fact and idea the movie delivered was the one that nothing in our society can be done without pursuing the goal and making profit out of the case. “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” intended to make people pay attention to the relationships established between the people: nobody cares about the other’s problems, all we do we do for ourselves or for people who are close to us. This was brightly showed on the example of the relationships between the owners and the workers of the factory in which Harris and Blanck, who had already been rich, became greedy and wanted more not mentioning anyone in their ways and making their hired people work on them in inhumane conditions forgetting about the fact that those sewing machine operators were the same people as they were. There is one highly expressed moment in the film where the women were running to the escape pushing and pulling each other when the author said that nothing mattered, only their own lives. The locked door is another confirmation to the historical issue raised in the movie; the owners knew their workers wouldn’t be able to leave the building as it were they who ordered to lock the door but they escaped scaring for their own lives but not for the others. The government enacted the laws only after such tragedy happened and before it nobody paid attention to the horrible and dangerous conditions under which workers had to do their job, to the pickets all over the city, which government was against of, and the police battered the picketing crowd.
REFLECTION. The problem the community faced with had originated from the problem of misunderstanding between people of high level and the ones of the lower social status and unfortunately such issue exists within our modern community too. On the one hand, government and police had to fulfill their obligations establishing order in the streets and that was the reason they acted in such a way. Every issue should have been arranged in a consecutive way that is it would be better if sewing machine operators tried to gather and meet their owners before going on strike, maybe they would be flexible and agree to some requests of the workers and they would find consensus without going on picket. Probably, there was a mistake on the part of the women to start picketing without negotiating with the government first or gather something like referendum where people of different districts and working under distinct owners confirm the horrible conditions of the work, and then submit it to the official for consideration. In such a way, if there exists an issue that has to be resolved, there should be certain and consecutive steps for reaching arrangements that would be suitable for both parties. And finally, the owners could have more trust for their workers or find the other ways to control people from stealing, as, for example, hiring more invigilators that could watch workers, it would cost them another several dollars a month but with would be the cost paid for the lives of 146 people.

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Free Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Movie Review Sample. Free Essay Examples - Published Dec 10, 2020. Accessed June 15, 2024.

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