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WHY COMPENSATION IS SO IMPORTANT – THE TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE!

On March 25, 1911, just one day after the New York Court of Appeals struck down the recently enacted Workers Compensation Law as  unconstitutional, 146 young immigrants, mostly young women and mothers, perished in the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in Lower Manhattan. The owners had locked the doors so that these workers could not take breaks or sneak out. The ladders for the New York City Fire Department did not reach high enough. This sweat shop was one of the only major employers who had resisted the recent unionization of the needle trade in New York.

The surviving families received practically nothing for the death and suffering of their loved ones. Shortly after this tragedy, the unionization of the needle trades and other enterprises took off. Within a few short years, the Constitution of New York was amended to constitutionalize the Workers' Compensation law. In 1914, three long years after the needles tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, New York passed its Workers' Compensation Law.

Today, ninety-four years later, we continue to struggle with providing proper benefits to those most in need, injured workers' and their families. The Injured Workers' Bar Association helps protect those rights by bringing together those attorneys around the Empire State who have dedicated their lives to assisting injured workers. Further, the Workers' Compensation Alliance promotes and attempts to enforce the rights of workers before the New York State Legislature and Executive Branch. Finally, six years ago a group of concerned participants, including attorneys from the claimant and defense bar, doctors, judges, union members and others formed the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial. This group raises money for scholarships for children of workers killed or severely injured on the job. Something to help in their time of need. To date, the TSFFM has provided over $138,000.00 in scholarships. Please help if you can as well by clicking on the link!

For more information on any of these issues, please feel free to contact me, Brian Mittman, at bmittman@markhofflaw.com.   

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