Immigrant Experience In The Words Of Those Who Lived It Essay

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According to Section 217 of the New York Worker’s Compensation Act of 1910, employers were required by law to compensate their employees if a personal injury were to result from their occupation. However, this law only applied to specific types of dangerous labor, including “demolition, blasting, tunneling, electrical construction, and railroad operation.” In 1910, making shirtwaists was not considered a dangerous activity, so victims’ families of the fire could not expect to receive any compensation from the accident. The Charity Organization Society of the City of New York Red Cross Emergency Relief Committee published a report, showing a detailed account of everyone they gave aid to. In all, they ended up helping one hundred sixty-six people…show more content…
In an excerpt from the book American Mosaic: The Immigrant Experience in the Words of Those Who Lived It, published in the Chicago Sunday Tribune, Pauline Newman, one of the women who worked in the factory, says that the owners “were the kind of employers who didn’t recognize anyone working for them as a human being. You were not allowed to sing. … You were not allowed to talk to each other. … If you went to the toilet, and you were more than the forelady or foreman thought you should be, you were threatened to be laid off for a half a day, and sent home, and that meant, of course, no pay....” Many statements like this one were published and effectively used to persuade Americans that reform was needed. “According to one survey in the 1890s, the average workweek in these shops was eighty four hours—twelve hours every day of the week. During a busy season, it was not unusual to find workers on stools or broken chairs, bent over their sewing or hot irons, from 5 A.M. to 9 P.M., a hundred or more hours per week.” Workers were also usually not paid more than four dollars per week. This caused readers to believe that no one should be treated this way, which caused more of them to support Progressive
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