Blogwatch

Teamster Author Publishes New Book

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“Long Island Migrant Labor Camps” to be Released March 22

Mark A. Torres is a longtime Teamster in New York and a published author with several books to his name now. On March 22, The History Press is releasing his latest book, “Long Island Migrant Labor Camps: Dust for Blood.” 

The book tells the true story about the migrant labor camps in Suffolk County from their inception during World War II, through their heyday in 1960, and culminating with their steady decline toward the end of the 20th century. This book chronicles the many aspects of this dark history including the human suffering of the camps’ inhabitants; the cause and effect of these camps; and the factors which led to their eventual decline. This book also features the heroic efforts of special individuals who, in their own unique way, were outspoken critics of the deplorable conditions of these camps and fought to improve the lot of migrant workers on the eastern end of Long Island during this time period.

Torres is General Counsel for Local 810 and tirelessly represents thousands of unionized workers and their families throughout the greater New York area. He has a law degree from Fordham University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in history from New York University. Torres achieved his academic milestones while working full time as a refrigeration engineer at New York University and attending class in the evenings, all while raising a family. He has been active in the labor movement for 30 years. 

He is also the author of two fictional crime novels titled “A Stirring in the North Fork” (2015) and “Adeline” (2019), both available on Amazon, and a labor union related children’s book titled “Good Guy Jake” (Hard Ball Press, 2017). 

Q: Is this the first nonfiction book you’ve written?

Torres: Yes, this is my first nonfiction historical book, although in all my work, I strive to educate my readers on important history. This is unquestionably my most important work to date.

Q: What caught your interest about this particular story? 

Torres: First and foremost, it is important labor history that has never before been written about. I first learned about it in 2015 and incorporated it into my debut novel, “A Stirring in the North Fork.” When I revisited it, I realized the importance of preserving this work and the more I researched the topic, the greater my obligation grew to tell it.

Q: What kind of research was involved in writing this?

Torres: Since there is no primary source of reference, I felt like many times I was chasing a ghost. However, I embarked on an extensive research project which included a review of more than 300 newspaper articles; I studied documents at local historical societies and libraries; I viewed several relevant documentaries; I interviewed charitable groups and individuals with first or secondhand knowledge; and reviewed more than a thousand documents after submitting an information request to local government agencies. No stone was left unturned as the importance of the topic required it.

Q: Does your labor history inform this book in any way?

Torres: My passion for labor and human rights certainly drove me in writing this story. Although I have never had the occasion to represent farmworkers, I certainly have a new found respect and sympathy for their plight. After all, an injustice in the workplace anywhere is an injustice in the workplace everywhere.

Q: Are you working on any other books right now?

Torres: While I am currently studying other potential historical topics, I am eager to educate the public on this history via virtual lectures hosted by universities, libraries and historical societies.

For more information, visit Torres’ site at www.marktorresauthor.com.