Guide to the ILGWU. Abraham Rosenberg, Memoirs Of A Cloak Maker,
1883-1910.

Collection Number: 5780/159

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Martin P. Catherwood Library
227 Ives Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3183
kheel_center@cornell.edu
http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/kheel
Compiled by:
Kheel Staff
Date completed:
1998
EAD encoding:
Casey Westerman, 2003
Cheryl Beredo, August 2011

© 2011 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU. Abraham Rosenberg, Memoirs of a Cloak Maker, 1883-1910.
Collection Number:
5780/159
Creator:
Rosenberg,
Quantity:
.5 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Bound volume
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection contains a bound volume of photocopies of a cloakmaker's memoirs. The memoirs were translated by Yetta Horn.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was founded in New York City in 1900 by mostly Socialist immigrant workers who sought to unite the various crafts in the growing women’s garment industry. The union soon reflected changes in the sector and rapidly organized thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled women, mostly Jewish and Italian young immigrants. Exemplifying the “new unionism,” the ILGWU led two of the most widespread and best-known industrial strikes of the early Twentieth Century: the shirtwaist makers’ strike of 1909 in New York City and the cloak makers’ strike of 1910 in Chicago. The union also tried to adapt to the fragmented and unstable nature of the industry. It adopted the “protocol of peace,” a system of industrial relations that attempted to ensure stability and limit strikes and production disruption by providing for an arbitration system to resolve disputes.
The ILGWU exemplified the European-style social unionism of its founding members. They pursued bread and butter issues but provided educational opportunities, benefits, and social programs to union members as well. In 1919, the ILGWU became the first American union to negotiate an unemployment compensation fund that was contributed to by its employers. The ILGWU also pioneered in the establishment of an extremely progressive health care program for its members which included not only regional Union Health Centers but also a resort for union workers, known as Unity House. The Union also had an imaginative and pioneering Education Department which not only trained workers in traditional union techniques, but provided courses in citizenship and the English language.
David Dubinsky, an immigrant from Belarus who came to the US in 1911, provided strong leadership that led to unprecedented growth in the union during his presidency from 1932 to 1966. He led the union through successful internal anti-communist struggles, built on the ascendancy of industrial unionism by encouraging the formation of the Committee for Industrial Organization, and helped the union become an important political force in New York City and state politics, and in the national Democratic Party and Liberal Party as well.
In the period following the Second World War, the union suffered a decline in membership as manufacturers avoided unionization and took advantage of less expensive labor by moving shops from the urban centers in the northeast to the south, and later abroad. The ethnic and racial character of the ILGWU also changed as European immigrants were supplanted by Asians, Latin Americans, African- Americans, and immigrants from the Caribbean.
In July 1995 the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) at a joint convention, forming UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). At the time the new union had a membership of about 250,000 in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Abraham Rosenberg arrived in the United States from Russia in 1883. He served as President of the ILGWU from 1908 to 1914, and later worked as an organizer with the union.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

This collection contains a bound volume of photocopies of a cloakmaker's memoirs. The memoirs were translated by Yetta Horn.

SUBJECTS

Names:
Rosenberg, Abraham
Rosenberg, Abraham
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

Subjects:
Women's clothing industry--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing industry--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
Industrial relations--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Memoirs.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
The ILGWU Records, except for publications and materials produced for publication, are restricted. Materials created prior to twenty years from the current date are open to researchers only with prior written permission from the Director of the Kheel Center; materials created during the past twenty-years are closed; the minutes of the General Executive Board are closed. For more information contact the Kheel Center.
Restrictions on Use:
Use photocopy of original or microfilm copy (5780/159 mf).
Cite As:
ILGWU. Abraham Rosenberg, Memoirs of a Cloak Maker. 5780/159. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.

RELATED MATERIALS

5780. ILGWU records
5780/159 mf. ILGWU. Abraham Rosenberg, Memoirs of a Cloak Maker. Microfilm
5780/167. ILGWU. Unpublished union histories

NOTES

"Permanent deposit"

CONTAINER LIST

Date
Description
Container
1995
Memoirs of a Cloakmaker, 1883-1910. Use Copy.
Box 1 Folder 1
Photocopy on acid-free paper.
1940
Memoirs of a Cloakmaker, 1883-1910. Original Copy.
Box 1 Folder 2