Women working in factories often faced terrible working conditions and low wages. During the Progressive Era working-class women. Alone and in concert with middle class women fought to raise wages and improve working conditions
The Women’s Trade Union League represented a partnership between middle-class reformers and working class women to raise wages and improve working conditions. Founded in Boston in 1903, it was staffed and run by working-class women, and middle-class women served as organizational “allies.” In the early 20th century, it focused on unionizing women workers and supporting women’s strikes.
Unsafe working condtions
There was great interest during the Progressive Era in investigation and amelioration of hazardous working conditions. President Theodore Roosevelt had championed the conservation movement and broadened its scope to include the saving of human life. It was but a short step from there to protecting the lives and limbs of industrial workers. Through settlement houses and other urban social work, reformers aided workers and their families and entreated employers to eliminate dangerous working conditions and other abuses. Muckraking journalists and others gave nation wide publicity to accidents and unsafe conditions.
Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burned, killing 145 workers. It is remembered as one of the most infamous incidents in American industrial history, as the deaths were largely preventable–most of the victims died as a result of neglected safety features and locked doors within the factory building. The tragedy brought widespread attention to the dangerous sweatshop conditions of factories, and led to the development of a series of laws and regulations that better protected the safety of workers.