The Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building, was the site of both the first large-scale strike of women workers in the country, and one of the worst factory fires in New York City’s history. In 1910, the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union made the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on the 8th to 10th floors its primary strike target. More than 75% of the industry’s workers agreed to strike to support demands for union recognition, higher wages, and better working conditions. One year later on March 25, 1911, a fire erupted in the factory, killing 146 female workers, many of whom were forced out of the windows by intense flames and smoke.
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