A Forgotten Piece of Women’s History
Hardly anyone remembers them anymore — the women who helped build New York’s
Puerto Rican communities during the 1920s, 1930s and the 1940s. The ones paid by the
piece after slaving over a factory machine sewing collars or blouses for hours and not
paid for holidays. When they were fired for taking a sick day, no one seemed to notice
that they were no longer there. Or the ones who stood on swelling feet all day, their
hands moving rapidly to snag and wrap bite-size pieces of chocolates as the candies
swept by them on the assembly belt. When at the end of the eight-hour work day, they
stopped by the factory next door to pick up a few bundles of handkerchiefs to hem in the
evenings for a few extra cents, no one thought twice about that. Never mind that for
women with families there were also groceries to buy, houses to clean, children to attend
to, and meals to prepare. It was expected that the work day would extend into the night
and weekends because that is how it was for working women.

Virginia Sánchez Korrol
Huffington Post, May 8, 2013
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