There is something spectacular about the way New England looks in the fall. Even in the industrial mind of this city do we see the vibrant colors of fall leaves adorn our trees on the streets. The smells of hearty foods from various ethnic neighborhoods wade into the air, along with the cool, crisp air that refreshes the mind. However, not every New Yorker has the right to choose to stay in a dark, closed-off room instead. Recently, young women workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory have gone on strike seeking “increased wages, reduced working hours, and union representation,” to quote the Local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU).
This protest is part of an ongoing battle for labor rights within the factory’s workplace. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory is known for making unique blouses that are popular with today’s styles. Polls have shown that the majority of New York men have found these blouses too stuffy with not too much to go off on, yet clearly the male public does not want to consider the stuffy conditions within the factory’s walls. There have been accounts saying that the workplace is littered with scraps of fabric, often unsanitary, with workers even reporting to have had to bring their own sewing machines.
The factory itself is headed by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, known for their notorious anti-worker policies. Nevertheless, it was reported in the New York Times earlier this March that Blanck and Harris were influenced to the infamous tenement realtor and politician, Douglas Trump. Mr. Trump has recently invested in the British cruise company White Star Line’s new luxury steamship, the Titanic, predicting that the project, set to be complete in two years, is “Gonna be huuge.” Despite his naval ventures, Mr. Trump has been a vocal critic of immigration reform, immigration, women, children, and the rest of the population of New York City. Through Trump, Blanck and Harris have been able to lower the women’s salary to just $15 dollars a week. As of today, workers of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory have been arrested by undercover police dressed as common criminals.
Many civilians have complained to various city officials about the current conditions of the factory workers. In fact, over 200 letters of discontent have reached the desk of the president himself, which of those Taft has promised to read, eventually. All the while, outrage continues, as Douglas Trump has admitted to advising Blanck and Harris to ignore the warnings of a fire prevention specialist, who quotes that “The safety of the women in this factory is greatly at risk should a fire occur.” Quotes Douglas Trump “That loser needs to be fired.” Clara Limlich is an activist who frequently speaks out at union meetings, urging members to resist the efforts and support of politicians and decide for themselves whether future protests should occur. She quotes that “I am tired of listening to speakers who talk in generalities.” It can be inferred that this statement was aimed at Douglas Trump.
The fight for rights goes on at the Asch Building in Greenwich Village. Although leaves may be dropping from the trees in Central Park, the population growth of the city shows no signs of stopping. Neither does the rampage of Douglas Trump or that of other monopoly leaders. Douglas Trump will hold a meeting next week addressing amending standing child labor laws, sharing with our publication that “Should my grandson or great grandson run for president in the future, he should be proud that his ancestor kept American children employed.” Until then, the majority to all of New York City’s citizens are not ready to see their city made “Great Again.”