Slingshot: Children on the Killing Floor
The first labor story I ever wrote was about the death of Juan Baten, a 22-year-old Guatemalan worker who was killed on the job at a food warehouse in Brooklyn in 2011. Baten got pulled into a mixing machine that lacked the required safety guard.
It hit me particularly hard, because I had been 12 years old when I became an apprentice baker, cooking bagels in an industrial oven. I’d recoil in a sort of dance to avoid burning myself after shoving the bagels into the furnace mouth on a wide wooden paddle and dislodging them with an upward jerking motion.