Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are among the fastest growing ethnic groups in organized labor. Their increasing numbers in the labor movement has implications for both workers’ rights and election year politics.
At a commemoration for the victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, immigrant workers said even though a hundred years have passed, they still suffer from unsafe work conditions and abuse.
Friday March 25 marks the centennial of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire—a catastrophic event that killed 146 young immigrant workers in Manhattan. This devastating incident led to the creation of workplace safety regulations, galvanized the union movement and became an iconic moment in New York history that continues to symbolize the need for immigrant and workers’ rights.
In New York, just as certain job sectors are dominated by immigrants, so are the unions representing workers in those fields. Many are new citizens who enthusiastically participate in the electoral process and are an important asset for local candidates.