The iconic industries of North Brooklyn were staffed by females who were underpaid and often worked in dangerous conditions. It’s high time we honor these anonymous, but heroic local workers. Some local industries preferred female workers.
Why? Well, there are a number of reasons, but more often than not factory owners could underpay female workers, especially immigrant women who often lacked the language skills and awareness to demand their fair wage and better conditions.
Some local female workers, however, were anything but docile. They fought for better wages and better conditions in strikes that often became violent. The American Manufacturing Company centered on West Street employed thousands of women, with many from Poland and Lithuanian. They were superior workers to men because the work making ropes required great manual dexterity and female hands outperformed men in making ropes.
The women worked long hours for poor pay, however, in 1910, the women organized a sit-down strike and engaged in a full-fledged street battle with the local police who tried to prevent them from taking over the sprawling factory. Polish women were also arrested when they violently confronted Italian immigrant workers hired to replace them. Later Puerto Rican women were brought from their native island to work in the plant, establishing a Puerto Rican presence in our area that lasts until today.
Another famous strike occurred at the Leviton plant on Greenpoint Avenue. Leviton manufactured pull-chain lamp holders for Thomas Edison’s newly developed light bulb, and in 1922 the company moved to Greenpoint. The massive factory took up two city blocks between Newel and Jewel Streets and produced over 600 other electrical items, from fuses to socket covers to outlets and switches.
The Leviton plant employed numerous women doing piecework. When inspectors came they saw guards on the machinery that protected the workers’ hands, but when the inspectors left the guards were removed because they slowed down assembly of the devices. Women at the plant lost fingers due to the lack of guards, which led to a demand for increased safety and union recognition in a long and bitter 1940 strike. The strikers were visited by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the first time in American history the First Lady addressed striking workers. The women won the long bitter strike achieving better pay and safe conditions. Continue reading →
The new 74,000 square-foot Wegmans supermarket located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is now hiring and training 500 employees (150 full-time), as the Rochester, NY-based company nears its first New York City opening that is scheduled for this fall.
Wegmans, which has 98 stores in six states, is consistently ranked as one of the best companies to work for by FORTUNE Magazine. The Wegmans scholarship program also helps employees attend college.
For those looking for employment, Wegmans released a press statement with directions on how to apply.
Full-time job applicants are invited to apply online at jobs.wegmans.com, or call 347-652-2424 for more information. Interviews are conducted by appointment only and applications are not accepted at the store construction site. Available full-time positions include everything from entry-level management to customer service, overnight grocery, and culinary roles like chefs and line cooks. Select part-time positions for bakery and culinary roles are currently being filled as well. Hiring for all other part-time positions will begin at a later date.
But Wegmans’ food isn’t merely fresh, it’s also cheap. An independent analysis of prices at grocery chains by Washington consumer group Checkbook found that Wegman’s prices were 13 percent lower than the average prices found at Giant and Safeway. Consider that Whole Foods, whose food quality has been compared to Wegmans, just announced it is working to open a new chain of cheaper stores, effectively conceding that its current, decidedly pricey model is ill-suited for the future.
Part of the reason Wegmans manages to maintain low prices is that its turnover is so efficient. Wegmans has historically been very good about managing food waste, which can be a sizable cost for other grocers, according to Flickinger.
Only a 20-minute bike ride away on the waterfront from Greenpoint, the Rochester, NY-based grocery store Wegmans is scheduled to open at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 2019, and is holding information sessions for potential employees starting this week.
The grocery store has locations throughout the Northeast U.S. and the Brooklyn Navy Yard marks Wegmans’ first expansion into NYC. Wegmans is held in high regard by upstate New Yorkers for its typically easy to navigate layout and stellar prepared foods. Not to mention, the store isn’t owned by Jeff Bezos.
Assemblyman Joe Lentol posted a reminder on the upcoming Wegmans information sessions where resume workshops will also help applicants who might need assistance.
The upcoming info sessions are scheduled Nov. 26 – Dec. 6:
* URBAN-X Panel Discussion: Exploring The Future of Affordable Housing @ A/D/O (29 Norman Ave.), 6:30pm, FREE, RSVP * 94 Precinct Community Council Meeting @ St. John’s Lutheran Church (155 Milton St.), 7pm, FREE,More Info ♫ Afroperuano Group (Live Recording Video) Free Pisco Tasting @ Scholes St. Studio (375 Lorimer St.), 7pm, $20, Buy Tix ♫ C Z A R I N A, Bunny X, Turbo Goth, Valentine @ The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave.), 8pm, $10, Buy Tix
♫ Goldie Awards 2nd Annual DJ & Beat Battle @ Brooklyn Steel (319 Frost St.), 6pm, $25, Buy Tix ♦ Art Opening: Brett Satterlund & Friends @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint Ave.) 6pm, FREE, Photography Exhibit, More Info ^ An Evening with Michael Lally & Lonely Christopher @ Brooklyn’s House of Kava (238 Central Ave.), 7pm, FREE, an evening of poetry and chatting, more info ♫ BRIC After Dark: Gala After Party @ Brooklyn Navy Yard (63 Flushing Ave.), 9pm, $75+, Buy TixContinue reading →
Thank a Veteran today. Honor those who have served us and continue to do so.
A free and historical activity to do today in honor of Veteran’s day is to visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum, which opens today. The 300-acre historical ship building yard has been closed to the public for 200 years. The new museum is housed in the renovated 1857 Marine Commandant’s Residence. The bike ride there along Kent Ave from Greenpoint is a quick and scenic.
“[The Brooklyn Navy Yard] produced the USS Missouri, famous for being the ship on which the Japanese surrendered in WW2. During the early 1940s, a total of 17 battleships were built, hundreds of carriers and war ships were retooled, and thousands of warships were repaired here.” – About Brooklyn
Check out a sneak peek of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum on Gothamist.
Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum Building 92 Near Flushing Ave entrance FREE Hours: Wed-Fri noon-6pm