© 2012 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University
ILGWU. Operations Department. Industrial
Homework records, 1986-1989
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
Contains reports, comments, testimonies, and statements submitted by
the ILGWU and other interested organizations and individuals concerning revisions to the federal
regulation of employment of homeworkers in certain industries, proposed between 1986 and
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).
OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY
Little documentation exists in the ILGWU records about the work of the Operations Department
in the union's international offices, and the materials that comprise the Operations Department
records do not explicitly show that they were created by the department per se. While typically
an operations department is known to deal with the everyday business of an organization and to
have responsibility for the organization's facilities, the records suggest that the department
either complemented the work of the Research Department, the Master Agreements Department, and
the former Management Engineering Department, or maintained records useful to those
The Operations Department records consist materials relating to the ILGWU's efforts to
maintain a ban on industrial homework, manuals for operations standards in the manufacturing of
women's blouses and women's skirts, and collective bargaining agreements. The records relating
to homework and operations standards date from the 1980s, and the collective bargaining
agreements are from the years just before the ILGWU merged with ACTWU in 1995.
Researchers interested in ILGWU statements on homework and related issues should consult the
Research Department records, 5780/209. Likewise, researchers looking for additional collective
bargaining agreements should consult collections in Series VI, Contracts and Case Files
(5780/075, 5780/075 mf, 5780/145, 5780/146, 5780/147, 5780/158, 5780/191). These records, and
others throughout the ILGWU records, complement the records of the Operations Department.
In 1942, federal regulators prohibited homework in five industries--gloves and mittens,
embroideries, buttons and buckles, handkerchiefs and jewelry production, as it was difficult to
enforce federal wage and hour laws for work done in the home. After forty-five years, the ban
was lifted, and this collection documents the ILGWU efforts to block the new homework rules. The
collection contains reports, comments, testimonies, and statements submitted by the ILGWU and
other interested organizations and individuals concerning revisions to the federal regulation of
employment of homeworkers in certain industries, proposed between 1986 and 1989.
Briggs, Vernon M.
Cleary, Edward J.(Edward John), 1906-
Harris, James, 1948-
Landrigan, Philip J.
Snow, James F.
Wang, Charles P.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
United States. Dept. of Labor
Women's clothing industry
Form and Genre Terms: