The rapid growth of the garment industry in New York City 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. One of the targets of their anger was the Triangle Factory, where the bosses were known for tight discipline and a disregard for fire and safety measures.
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