Union Hypocrisy: AFL-CIO Conveniently Ignores The Union-Related Inferno That Killed 97 People

On Monday, the AFL-CIO blog commemorated the 102nd anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

Triangle Shirtfire Hypocrisy

Unlike two years ago, on the 100th anniversary, when then-Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis spoke in New York City, Monday’s AFL-CIO post merely served as a reminder–a reminder at how hypocritically today’s union bosses and left-wing ideologues completely (and conveniently) ignore the tragic deaths of 97 individuals in another inferno in 1986–75 years after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.


On New Years Eve, 1986, negotiations between Local 901 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters–led by militant armored-truck-robber-turned-union-lawyer, Jorge Farinacci–and the management of the Hotel Dupont had come to a screeching halt when union members rejected management’s final offer.

Ten minutes later, an inferno was ignited, sparked by the hands of union militants.

Hotel Dupont

On the last day of the year in 1986, hundreds of American tourists planned to spend their New Years Eve at San Juan, Puerto Rico’s DuPont Plaza Hotel. While some people were in the rooms preparing for the evening’s festivities, many of the guests packed themselves into the luxury hotel’s second floor casino.

However labor relations between the hotel’s management and its unionized workers were coming to a head during that period. According to the New York Times:

Minutes before the fire erupted on Dec. 31, a meeting in the hotel ballroom involving employees belonging to Local 901 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters broke up. At that meeting, unionists unanimously rejected a management offer and decided to strike at midnight.

Escuerdo Aponte, a hotel worker and union member, returned to the hotel’s ground floor ballroom after the union meeting recessed. He then torched a pile of stacked packaged furniture in the room.


Although other union members staged a fight to create a distraction while the inferno was being lit, Teamsters officials were never charged in the blaze.

However, the fire that killed 97 people on New Years Eve 1986 was just one of four fires that were set at the Hotel Dupont.

The hotel management and the teamsters had been bargaining for several weeks, and the union had notified management that if it did not come to terms at midnight that night, the union would go out on strike. Three other fires, none of them resulting in injuries, had been set at the hotel in the days before the Dec. 31 inferno.

Notwithstanding an overwhelming history of union violence (which includes the Teamsters), the Puerto Rican local Teamsters (known as the Union De Tronquistas) has had a particularly violent past that goes back decades.

In 1967, a Teamsters bodyguard shot and killed the Teamsters’ local president in Puerto Rico. This followed the 1965 slaying of the Puerto Rico local’s former president.

Years after the inferno that engulfed the Hotel Dupont, in 2001, Teamsters local president Noel Colón González was gunned down by one of his union organizers, whom he had just fired.


Unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, there is no page on the Department of Labor’s website honoring the Hotel Dupont victims.

Unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, there is no Presidential proclamation for the victims of the Hotel Dupont fire.

Unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, there is no coalition keeping the memories of the Hotel Dupont victims alive for relatives.

And, most pointedly, unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, the AFL-CIO and its affiliates do not write yearly posts about the inferno that took 97 lives at the hands of union militants.

You see, unlike the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, a union was involved in the events that took 97 lives in Puerto Rico on New Years Eve 1986–events that union bosses would rather sweep under the rug.

For all their bantering about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire being symbolic of “labor’s martyred heroes” (even though no union was involved) we are reminded that, for today’s union bosses and their allies on the Left to ignore the deaths of 97 others caused by union militants speaks volumes about the hypocrisy and shallow callousness embodied by today’s Left.


[Money shot at 1:55.]


“Truth isn’t mean. It’s truth.”
Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

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