Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: NYC factory work is still a struggle

Employees at Streit’s matzo factory on the Lower East Side said they feel safe and valued. But other factory workers face long hours and dangerous conditions.

One hundred years ago this Friday, 146 workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. And today, life inside some of the city’s factories still remains a struggle.

This Monday, Park Slope’s Associated Supermarket stopped carrying Sonny & Joe’s hummus, made at Williamsburg’s Flaum facility, after the factory reportedly fired workers wanting overtime pay.

Felipe Romero said he was canned after working at Flaum for nine years. Now, he gets by as a dishwasher — no more brutal night shifts or 72-hour work weeks.

“I work four days,” he told Metro in Spanish. “Nothing more.”

Just this past January, a Guate­malan worker died when he fell into a dough mixer at the Tortilleria Chinantla factory in Williamsburg.

The factory was shut down after it was discovered the company’s workers’ compensation policy had lapsed.

Metro also talked to a man who was fired after injuring his arm at a Brooklyn baking factory. “It’s difficult,” Francisco Castro said of factory life. Now, diagnosed with a hernia, he said, “I’m worried because I can’t work.”


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter at
@AlisonatMetro.



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