Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Department of Labor

Our DOL - March 2020

Our DOL - March 2020 issue

View this video message on Office 365.

Table of Contents: TCC Steps Up! | Work From Home Tips | Comms Home Offices
109th Triangle Fire Anniversary | NYStory: Kate Mullany | DOLicious! WFH Chocolate Chip Cookies

TCC Steps Up Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

We would like to thank every person who works in the Telephone Claims Center for their hard work during this extremely hectic and unprecedented time.

The unemployment numbers have surged, with claims increasing by 1000% in some areas. We’re seeing traffic and calls like never before – 2.3 million visits to the website and about 1.7 million calls last week alone.

Our Claims Center workers are answering those calls.

We know how stressful this time has been for New Yorkers, so we speak for every person across the state when we say that we greatly appreciate the work and effort that has been put in by everyone here at the DOL!

Working From Home 101: Staying Safe, Sane and Productive

COVID-19 is keeping most of the country’s workforce at home in order to practice mandated social distancing, especially here in New York State where all non-essential workers are instructed to stay home. While working at home may be the ideal situation for some, working from home can have its challenges. If you are new to working from home or need some help adjusting to your home office, be sure to skim through these curated tips that will help make your working from home experience a success!

A few key tips? First, create a comfortable workspace. This will allow you to maintain productivity and keep in contact with your colleagues, as if you were in your office building. Once you establish your comfortable workstation it is important that you maintain a schedule and stick to it. This could replicate your office routine or could be something that is more suited for you at home. Just remember the key is to make the routine work for you!

Want to share the tips and tricks that have worked well for you? Email us at [email protected].

Show Us Your Home Office!

Need some inspiration for a new workspace within the comforts of home?

Take a look at some of the Communications Team's home offices and new workspaces!

We want to see how you have turned your kitchen, living room or playroom (sorry kids!) into an office.

Send us pictures of your home offices to [email protected] and your images could be part of next month’s newsletter!

109th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

This year marks the 109th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, in which 146 people – mostly teenaged immigrant girls – died a horrible death, because the factory owners put profit over people’s lives.

The New York State Department of Labor was born from this tragedy, and from a determination to do all we can to make sure this never happens again.

In this time of crisis, we hope you’ll take a moment to watch this video and remember how the Department of Labor began, and how vital the work we all do truly is.

NYStory: Kate Mullany and America’s First Female Unions

Like so many of the people who have shaped American history for the better, Kate was an immigrant.

She was born Catherine Agnes Mullany in 1845, and as a child she came to the United States from Ireland with her family and settled in Troy. When Kate was 19, her father died, and she went to work at a local commercial laundry.

It was considered a good job for a young woman of the time. But it was a poorly-paid job, and a hazardous one.  She worked in sweltering conditions, using boiling water, blistering hot irons and caustic chemicals to clean the shirts and collars of middle-class men. For working 12-14 hour days, six days a week, Kate earned between three and four dollars. And if she damaged any of the garments as she washed, she had to pay for it out of her wages.

But Kate refused to accept the pitiful wages and poor environment in which she and so many others were expected to work.

In 1864, only a few months after she began working at the laundry, Kate Mullany formed the US’s first bona fide female union – the Collar Laundry Union. Then, on February 23, she led two hundred laundry workers – all women from the many commercial laundries in Troy – in a strike, demanding that they receive better pay and safer working conditions.

Thanks to her efforts, and the efforts of the women who stood with her, within less than a week, the laundries gave in to the union’s demands for a 25% wage increase.

In 1868, Kate became the first woman to hold office in a national union when she was appointed assistant secretary to the National Labor Congress. In the following year, 1869, Kate used the increased wages that she had fought for to buy her family a new home.

newspaper article about kate mullany entitled labor movements
From the New-York Tribune of Tuesday, June 29 1869

She moved with her family – her widowed mother Bridget, her two sisters and her younger brother – to Eighth Street, into a brand-new three-story brick house. This house on Eighth Street is the only building associated with Kate Mullany that still survives.

It is a National Historic Landmark, dedicated by First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1998. It is also a National Historic Site, thanks to a 2004 Act of Congress, which was sponsored by then-Senator Clinton and Congressman Mike McNulty.

Out of all the 91 National Historic Sites in the National Park System, the Kate Mullany house is the only one that brings together recognition of labor, women's history and immigrant history.

That’s why it’s so important to preserve sites like the Mullany House, because these three intertwined histories – labor, women, and immigrant – form the core of what makes our nation worthwhile, and worth preserving.

During her dedication speech in 1998, First Lady Hillary Clinton quoted a remark from Kate Mullany, recorded in a 19th century newspaper. When the newspaper claimed that there weren’t enough women in New York State who wanted to be labor organizers, Kate replied, “You show me the woman, and I’ll turn them into organizers.”

And she did just that. She made history, by making a future for herself and for hundreds of working women, and she laid the groundwork for thousands, perhaps millions of other women to come.

DOLicious! Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (While Working From Home)

Although invented in Massachusetts around 1938, chocolate chip cookies are now beloved all over the world.

Alleviate the monotony of being stuck inside with this sweet treat, courtesy of DOL Communications’ Multimedia Director John Nilsen and his family!


  • 2-3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
a picture of a plate of muffins with the caption send us your recipes
Send us your favorite recipe and you may see it in a future Our DOL!


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. (Use a whisk to make fluffy cookies!) Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat until creamy, then mix in the eggs.
  4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and stir well to combine.
  5. Dump in the chocolate chips and stir til the chips are nicely mixed in.
  6. Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Don’t forget to leave space for the cookies to spread out!
  7. Bake for 9 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

OUR DOL Technical Team: Jean Genovese & April French

Thanks for the feedback! It will help us improve your experience.