© 2015 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
ILGWU David Dubinsky Memorabilia, 1961
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
1.28 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Consists of one 15" x 20" charcoal drawing of David Dubinsky, signed by Seth Hoffman in 1942, a portrait of Dubinsky, other
memorabilia and drawings.
Collection material in English
ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest labor unions in the United States founded in
1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States. It was one of
the first U.S. Unions to have a membership consisting of mostly females, and it played a key role in the labor history
of the 1920s and 1930s. The union is generally referred to as the "ILGWU" or the "ILG". The ILGWU grew in geographical scope,
membership size, and 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. The ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union in
to form the Union of Needle trades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). UNITE merged with the Hotel Employees and
Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) in 2004 to create a new union known as UNITE HERE. The two unions that formed UNITE in
1995 represented only 250,000 workers between them, down from the ILGWU's peak membership of 450,000 in 1969.
1892 Born February 22nd in Brest-Litovsk, then in Russia, son of Bezalel and Shaie Wishingrad Dobnievski. Moved to Lodz, where
the family operated a bakery. 1903 Began to work in father's bakery after attending three terms in Hebrew Zionist
school. 1907 Qualified as master baker and joined bakers' union, organized by the General Jewish Workers Union, the Bund.
Served as secretary of the bakers' union. Arrested, together with 60 other members of the union, in the course of a
strike; released after payment of 25 rubles by father. Left Lodz to live with an uncle in Brest-Litovsk; after three months
returned to Lodz and rejoined the bakers' union. 1908 Arrested while attending an illegal meeting of the bakers and, as
a second offender, exiled to a small Siberian village. Escaped and made his way to Chelyabinsk and from there to Lodz,
working as a baker under an assumed name.
1910--Sailed, with an older brother, Chaira, to New York City. 1911--Arrived in NYC on January 1st. Lived on Lower East Side
and became apprenticed to learn the cutter's craft. Accepted as a member of Local 10, Cutters' Union of the
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, on July 13th. 1914 Married Emma Goldberg, an undergarment operator and member
of the ILGWU. (The couple had one child, a daughter, Jean). 1918--Elected to executive board of Local 10. 1919--Elected
vice-president of Local 10. 1920--Elected chairman of Local 10. 1921--Elected president of Local 10. Elected general manager
(a new office combining duties of manager and secretary) of Local 10 in December. 1922--Elected vice president of ILGWU
and member of General Executive Board. 1929 Elected General Secretary-Treasurer of ILGWU. Served as Acting President of
ILGWU. 1932 Elected by GEB in June as President, following death of President Benjamin Schlesinger.
1934--Elected vice president of American Federation of Labor in October. 1935--Joined with John L. Lewis of Mine Workers and
Sidney Hillman of Amalgamated Clothing Workers to form a Committee for Industrial Organization. First U.S. labor
representative to the International Labor Organization. 1936--Joined in founding the American Labor Party in New York
State. Served as Democratic Party elector for the ticket of Franklin D. Roosevelt and John N. Garner. 1944-- Joined in
founding Liberal Party. 1945--Elected vice president of American Federation of Labor. 1966--Offered resignation as President
to GEB at meeting of March 14th, to take effect April 12th. Resignation effective June 15th, anniversary of date on
which he was first elected President.
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Women's clothing industry--United States.
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
Industrial relations--United States.
Form and Genre Terms: