© 2012 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University
ILGWU. Union Health Center publications,
Union Health Center
International Ladies' Garment Workers'
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence,
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives,
Cornell University Library
This collection contains booklets and pamphlets by and about the
Union Health Center, as well as some reports of the Joint Board of Sanitary Control.
Collection material in English
ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
Founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the
northeastern United States, the ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, political
influence to become one of the most powerful forces in American organized labor by mid-century.
Representing workers in the women's garment industry, the ILGWU worked to improve working and
living conditions of its members through collective bargaining agreements, training programs,
health care facilities, cooperative housing, educational opportunities, and other efforts. In
1995, the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) to form
the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE).
UNION HEALTH CENTER ORGANIZATIONAL
In 1913, the New York City locals of the ILGWU established the Union Health Center (UHC),
under the direction of Dr. George Price of the Joint Board of Sanitary Control. Initially, the
UHC offered physical exams, medical treatments, access to a dental clinic, and information about
health and hygiene. For a period, the center operated through a cooperative plan, with patients
paying a fee and the union subsidizing the rest of the cost of the visit. During the Depression,
the cost of running the center was met by other means. This included getting other local unions
in New York City, such as the electrical workers, metal workers, letter carriers, post office
clerks, and pocketbook workers, to affiliate with the UHC, as well as winning an official
endorsement from the Central Labor Union of New York. Beginning in the 1940s, New York City
manufacturers agreed to contribute to a fund that would cover the cost of medical services
provided to members at the UHC.
By the 1960s, the UHC offered comprehensive care to ILGWU members and their families, and over
the years, the center’s range of services expanded to include social and psychological services,
eye exams, maternity care, and surgical consultation. The Union Health Center continues its work
today at 275 Seventh Avenue, in New York City.
The records of the Union Health Center document the evolving role of the center. Included are
general correspondence, meeting minutes of the UHC's medical board, annual reports on the UHC's
activities to the General Executive Board, triennial reports to delegates at the ILGWU's
international conventions, and related published materials. Much of this material is routine or
administrative in nature.
In both collections that comprise the records of the Union Health Center, there are articles
by such figures as George M. Price and Pauline Newman on union health centers in general and the
ILGWU Center in particular. The publications of the Union Health Center primarily document the
educational efforts of the center, providing information about the center, its services, and its
activities. Also included are pamphlets about the ILGWU's health and welfare benefits program
and publications from the Joint Board of Sanitary Control.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Union Health
Women's clothing industry--United States.
Women's clothing industry--New York (State)--New York.
Women's clothing industry--Employees--Medical care--United
Women's clothing industry--Employees--Medical care--New York
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--New York (State)--New York.
Industrial relations--United States.
Industrial relations--New York (State)--New York.
Form and Genre Terms: