News & Press Releases

Triangle Scholars Program Tops $400,000 | Lemlich Honorees Receive Awards

March 20, 2014

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial [TSFFM] completed its 13th annual fundraising campaign Tuesday evening, March 25th, at a caberet dinner at the NYC Fire Museum. The same evening, the organization honored three New Yorkers and a New York bar association to its Clara Lemlich Class of 2014.

Brian Mittman, Esq., TSFFM’s President and head of the White Plains firm of Markhoff & Mittman, reported, “Our Scholarship fundraising has exceeded $400,000 for tuition grants to children of injured workers and continues a tradition of commemorating the 1911 factory fire with another distinguished group of Lemlich honorees.”

“When the Triangle scholars Class of 2014-15 is selected this Fall, TSFFM will have awarded more than 200 individual tuition grants of $2,000 each to more than 85 students, attending 34 institutions of higher education in New York,” noted Richard M. Goldman, Esq., an attorney with the Albany firm of Buckley, Mendelson, Crscione & Quinn. “And,” Goldman added, “these students represent 27 of New York’s counties and, often, are siblings.”

The Clara Lemlich Class of 2014 includes:

  • David Walsh, CEO of the Amalgamated Family of Companies
  • Julia Jorge, former Commissioner of the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board
  • Noel Beasley, President of Workers United
  • The Injured Workers Bar Association

Historians credit Lemlich’s impassioned speech at New York’s Cooper Union on November 22, 1909 as the spark which ignited an industry-wide strike by garment workers for better wages and working conditions. The action resulted in an agreement in early 1910. Ironically and tragically, the Triangle factory owners refused to join in the agreement.

“This Class of 2014,” said Ed Vargas, who is associated with Workers United and Chair of the Lemlich committee of TSFFM, “joins a distinguished honor roll of citizens whose dedication to improving workplace safety and benefits for working people echoes that of Clara Lemlich and signifies that there remains areas for improvement and a need for individuals willing to engage the task.”

“The historic lesson of the Triangle fire,” noted Mittman, “resonates abroad today where similarly tragic workplace events in third world countries take lives and destroy families while consumers enjoy lower cost goods. The Triangle fire was no different and instructs us to continue our efforts.”

Images courtesy of Cornell University

TSFFM, a recognized 501 ( c )(3) organization incorporated on December 2, 2002, was established to memorialize the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of March 25, 1911, its impact on changing New York State labor laws, and its role in the creation of the Workers' Compensation law. TSFFM seeks to educate the general public regarding workplace safety and to provide scholarships for the children of workers who died or were permanently disabled as the result of workplace accidents or illnesses.