ACTWU's Cotton Garment Control Department Records 1955-1978

Collection Number: 5619/042

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ACTWU's Cotton Garment Control Department Records, 1955-1978
Collection Number:
5619/042
Creator:
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union.
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.
Quantity:
2 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Correspondence, reports, publications.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection consists of Union Label agreements and correspondence with various manufacturers, mostly from Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, but a few from Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union.
Language:
Collection material in English


ACWA/ACTWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, the most significant union representing workers in the men's clothing industry, was founded in New York City in 1914 as a breakaway movement from the United Garment Workers. Radical and immigrant workers in the tailors’ and cutters’ locals were the core of the seceding group, which advocated industrial unionism and economic strikes in opposition to the UGW’s craft organization, which they saw as conservative and timid. Their diverging views had come to the fore during the historic 1910 dispute at the Chicago firm Hart, Schaffner, and Marx. The opposition called the strike against the UGW leadership’s advice, and reached a path-breaking agreement with management that established an arbitration system to settle disputes.
Members flocked to the new union. Around 50,000 strong at its founding, by 1920 the ACWA counted about 170,000 members. Initially composed mostly of immigrants of Jewish European descent with Socialist leanings, the ACWA quickly welcomed members of a great number of nationalities and diverse backgrounds. Like in other garment unions, most workers and many members were women, but the leadership was predominantly male, a situation that did not change for many decades. Early on the union adopted a centralized administrative structure combined with industrial unionism, with the joint boards’ by-laws having precedence over those of locals.
Espousing a philosophy perhaps brought over by its early immigrant socialist members, the Amalgamated went beyond bread and butter issues and adopted a distinctive form of social unionism that was largely absent in the American labor movement. Starting in the 1920s, it provided educational opportunities and recreational facilities for its members, as well as services such as an insurance plan, banks offering personal loans at low interest rates, low-cost housing cooperatives, medical clinics, and even union-owned restaurants.
Sidney Hillman was the first president of the new union and the most important officer in its history. He applied his experience as bargaining representative in Chicago to the whole industry. Under his leadership the union made significant strides in securing better wages and working conditions for its members, and at the same time it consolidated gains and provided stability to the industry through the widespread adoption of the arbitration system tested at Hart, Schaffner, and Marx. Hillman paid close attention to industry issues, such as production, pricing, and marketing. In order to help management meet the competition of non-union firms, the union conducted studies of efficiency, work methods, and factory costs. Letters to the official publication of the union, Advance, document the controversy that ensued within the union over what was perceived to be collaboration with management.
Hillman also understood the importance of labor’s involvement in national affairs and political action. In the 1920s the ACWA sent delegates to the Conference for Progressive Political Action and to the Farmer-labor party conventions. Although many members and officers were Socialists, the union stopped short of officially endorsing the party. Communist attempts at gaining influence within the union were firmly curbed. Hillman’s participation in national affairs and politics became prominent during the New Deal, when he became a close advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt on labor and economic issues. He also served on the board of the National Recovery Administration. Later, during World War II, he helped establish the Labor’s Non Partisan League. He was also named associate director of the Office of Production Management, which assisted in mobilizing the nation's resources for the war effort. Hillman’s prestige perhaps reflected the healthy condition of his union, which by the end of the conflict was strong and stable.
During the post World War II period the union faced a number of significant challenges. Membership continued to grow (peaking at 395,000 in 1968), but the union’s political influence and visibility in national affairs declined. In their never ending pursuit of lower production costs, many firms relocated to the South, forcing the union to engage in large organizing efforts. Simultaneously, signs began to appear of changes that would lead to the almost complete demise of the domestic apparel industry and, ultimately, to the erosion of union membership. Foreign imports of cheap clothing goods steadily grew in the 1950s and 1960s, and mushroomed in the following two decades, plunging employment in the apparel sector into a steady decline. Union efforts to stem the tide included Buy American campaigns and extensive lobbying in Congress, but they were to no avail. In 1976, the ACWA merged with the Textile Workers of America to become the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. Despite successful and much publicized nationwide actions such as the Farah boycott and the J.P. Stevens corporate campaign, the woes threatening the union’s existence continued unabated. The fate of the domestic industry was sealed in the late 1970s and the 1980s by the flight of firms chasing tax breaks and cheap labor abroad. By 1995, when ACTWU voted to merge with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, their combined membership was 350,000. The new Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE!) seemed poised to infuse new life in a troubled union.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union --Archives
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America --Archives
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union --Archives
Union of Needeltrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) --Archives
UNITE HERE (Organization) --Archives

Subjects:
Textile industry--New York (State)--New York
Textile workers--Labor unions--New York (State)--New York
Clothing trade--New York (State)--New York
Clothing workers--Labor unions--New York (State)--New York

Form and Genre Terms:
Correspondence
Records


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
ACTWU's Cotton Garment Control Department Records #5619/042. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related collections:
5619: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America
5619/042 MB: ACTWU's Cotton Garment Control Department Memorabilia
And all other 5619 collections.

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1
Appollo Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 2
Asbury Sportswear
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 3
Ascot Manufacturing
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 4
Ashley Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 5
William Atkin Shirt
1956-1967
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 6
Atlantic Shirt
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 7
Banner Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 8
Bartlay
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 9
Bayard Shirt
1955
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 10
Best Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 11
Boblen Shirt
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 12
Brill Shirt and Neckwear
1958-1960
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 13
Burton Manufacturing
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 14
Burnley Shirt
1960-1974
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 15
Butler Shirt
1956-1958
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 16
Carlton Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 17
Cluett, Peabody and Company
1955-1974
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 18
Creighton Shirt
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 19
S. Dennis
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 20
Die and Stamp Makers
1955-1972
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 21
Charles Dobbs
1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 22
Eagle Shirtmakers
1955-1970
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 23
Elizabeth Shirt
1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 24
Elm City Shirt
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 25
El Rey Manufacturing
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 26
Larry R. Engelson
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 27
Enro Shirt
1955-1972
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 28
Fair Manufacturing
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 29
Fashion Glenshire
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 30
M. Fine and Sons Manufacturing
1972
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 31
Flair-Tex
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 32
Flushing Shirt
1955-1976
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 33
Fredwin Casuals
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 34
Freedman Rodelheim Shirtmakers
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 35
Fruitland Manufacturing
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 36
Gant of New Haven
1955-1975
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 37
Gateway Manufacturing
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 38
Glaser Enterprises
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 39
Gold Medal Shirt
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 40
Greystone Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 41
Hamilton Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 42
Harwood Manufacturing
1955-1975
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 43
C. F. Hathaway
1955-1969
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 44
Hema Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 45
Henry Charles
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 46
Holbrooke Shirt
1964-1965
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 47
Ide Shirt
1955-1959
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 48
International Ticket
1955-1957
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 49
Joel Isaacs Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 50
F. Jacobson and Sons
1955-1970
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 51
J. and R. Shirt
1957
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 52
Kaymore Shirt
1955-1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 53
David Kurtz
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 54
Lehman Baer
1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 55
Lesnow Manufacturing
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 56
Leventhal Brothers
1956-1977
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 57
Lido Shirt
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 58
Linwood Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 59
Loeb and Loeb
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 60
Loev Brothers
1959
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 61
Lustbery, Nast and Company
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 62
Lynn Shirt
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 63
McGregor Sportswear (D. Doniger)
1955
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 64
Manhattan Shirt
1955-1974
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 1
Marlboro Shirt
1955-1958
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 2
Marvlee Manufacturing
1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 3
Mather Shirts
1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 4
Steve Matson Products
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 5
M and B Sportswear
1958
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 6
Elton Meltzer
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 7
Meyersdale Shirt
1956-1958
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 8
Morgan Shirt
1970
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 9
M and S Shirt
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 10
Normandie Press
1955
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 11
Oberman and Company
1956-1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 12
O. K. Uniform
1958
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 13
Par-Ex Shirt (Sero of New Haven)
1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 14
Park Guild Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 15
Parkley Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 16
Peerless Robes and Sportswear
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 17
Pelham Sportswear
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 18
Al Peter Shirt
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 19
Pine Shirt and Pajama
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 20
Pottstown Shirt
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 21
Publix Shirt
1955-1977
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 22
Quaker Shirt
1955-1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 23
M. H. Raab Meyerhoff
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 24
Radiant Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 25
Rich Guild Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 26
Rivoli Shirt
1955-1958
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 27
Rob Roy
1955-1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 28
Rubury Shirt
1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 29
Sagamore Shirt
1956-1958
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 30
Sam-Son Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 31
Savada Brothers
1957-1960
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 32
Seaford Garment
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 33
Shelby Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 34
Shirtcraft
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 35
Shirt Label Requests
1978
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 36
Shirt Union Label Records. M
1955-1972
Form I, Form II, and Label Die invoices.
Box 2 Folder 37
Shirt Union Label Records. N-P
1955-1977
Form I, Form II, and Label Die invoices.
Box 2 Folder 38
Shirt Union Label Records. Q-Z
1955-1970
Form I, Form II, and Label Die invoices.
Box 2 Folder 39
Silver Springs Sportswear
1956-1972
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 40
Southeastern Shirt
1955-1959
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 41
Spaide Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 42
S and S Shirt
1972
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 43
Sportsville Menswear
1955-1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 44
Stratford Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 45
Robert Terry Garment
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 46
Tyson Shirt
1955-1957
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 47
Louis R. Ulanoff
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 48
Neckwear Union Label Die
1961
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 49
Union Label
1955-1970
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 50
Union Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 51
Usona Shirt
1955-1959
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 52
Victory Shirt
1955
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 53
Bernard Walsh
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 54
Warrenshire Shirt
1955
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 55
Watson Shirt
1956
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 56
Weiss Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 57
Whitney Shirt
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 58
Wide Awake Shirt
1956-1976
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 59
J. E. Wiegard
1957-1965
Union Label Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 60
Wilson Brothers
1955-1956
Union Label Agreement and Correspondence.
Box 2 Folder 61
Yardleigh Sportswear
1956
Union Label Correspondence.