Along with Winsten, Lillian Roberts, Veronica Montgomery-Costa, Patricia Smith, and James McCarthy were honored with Lemlich awards at the dinner for their dedication to labor issues.
The awards are named after the young woman whose fiery speech to garment workers in November 1910 led to a strike for better wages and working conditions. Ironically, the owners of the Triangle Company did not sign the industry agreement. On March 25, 1911 the horrific fire at the building caused the deaths of 146 young men and women mostly immigrants.
By 1914, New York’s Constitution was amended to authorize creation of a Workers’ Compensation statute. In addition, the 1911 fire spawned many workplace safety regulations including protection of child labor.
Over nine years since its inception, TSFFM has raised over $250,000 in college scholarships for children of injured workers and worked to sustain the memory of the Triangle tragedy in the public eye. “We now support twenty Triangle Scholars,” McCarthy said, “and hope our next event on the 100th commemoration in March 2011 enables us to increase our funding for these students and appreciation for the sacrifice of the victims of the fire.”
Ed Vargas, a board member of TSFFM, commented, “This project should be on the calendar of every labor organization since the most vulnerable workers – those whose injuries end their careers – benefit from it and offer their children some educational opportunity they might not otherwise afford.”