Tortilla Factory Shutters After Worker Dies in Dough Vat

By Associated Press
|  Friday, Jan 28, 2011  |  Updated 7:30 PM EDT
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Tortilla Factory Shutters After Worker Dies in Dough Vat

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A Brooklyn tortilla factory where a worker died after falling into a waist-high dough mixing machine has been shuttered by state authorities.

State Workers' Compensation Board spokesman Brian Keegan told The New York Times Friday that the company, Tortilleria Chinantla, has been without workers' compensation insurance since March and has piled up $56,000 in penalties. It was closed by authorities on Tuesday.

The company's owner, Erasmo Ponce, was reached on the phone by the newspaper Friday but said he couldn't talk and hung up. He had previously said that the death was the first worker injury at the company and said it had been caused by "human error."

But the founding director of worker advocacy group Brandworkers, Daniel Gross, claims workers at the factory endure "sweatshop conditions."

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