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American Experience

Triangle Fire

The story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York, which claimed the lives of 146 workers, primarily immigrant women, and its impact on labor laws. The documentary also details the years prior, when shirtwaist workers went on strike for better pay and working conditions, and were met with brutality and public indifference. Says historian Thomas Bender, the lesson learned from the fire was that "there are things that have to be managed not by the market but by public policy."