ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers on Microfilm

Collection Number: 5780/014 mf

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers on Microfilm,
Collection Number:
5780/014 mf
Creator:
Zimmerman, Charles S.;
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU);
ILGWU Local 22
Quantity:
8 microfilm reels
Forms of Material:
Reports, microfilms.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Primarily correspondence, reports, minutes, newspaper clippings, and broadsides dealing with his activities as a leader in Local 22 (in Series I), as well as his other union and political activities (in Series II). Among the most significant material in the collection is correspondence documenting Zimmerman's activities with the Communist Party in the U.S. and its various factions and splinter groups, as well as other political organizations and figures.
Language:
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 1995 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.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Charles Sasha Zimmerman was born in Russia in 1897. He arrived in the United States in 1913 and soon found work in garment shops. His career with the ILGWU began in 1916 when he went to work in a waist shop and joined Local 25. By 1925, Zimmerman was a member of the Executive Board for Dressmakers' Local 22. Throughout the 1920s, Zimmerman was an active member of the Communist Party, an affiliation that cost him his leadership positions within the union in 1925. He was involved with the bitter Communist infighting, and though he initially belonged to the Communist Party, he soon saw that they subverted the strike of 1926 for its own purposes which nearly decimated the ILGWU. With other members now opposed to Communism, Zimmerman worked to rid the Communist influence from the union and help reorganize the dress industry with his reinstatement in 1931. Even after his reinstatement in the ILGWU, he maintained close ties with the anti-Stalinist Lovestonites of the Communist Party.
Zimmerman was elected manager of Local 22 in 1933, and the next year became a vice president of the ILGWU. He became general manager of the New York Dress Joint Board and the Dressmakers' Joint Council in 1958. Zimmerman was involved with civil rights, social welfare and international labor organizations throughout his career. He was a trustee of the National Urban League, chairman of the Jewish Labor Committee's National Trade Union Council for Human Rights, and a member of New York City's first Human Rights Commission. Zimmerman helped found the Inter-American Federation of Textile and Garment Workers in 1966 and served as a U.S. representative to the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation. In 1969, Zimmerman was elected president of the Jewish Labor Committee and named to the Civil Rights and Social Security committees of the AFL-CIO. He resigned as a union vice president and general manager of the Dress Joint Council and New York Dress Joint Board in 1972. Zimmerman died in 1983.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Local 22 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU), also known as the Dressmakers' Union, was chartered in December 1920 and based in New York, New York.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The Charles Zimmerman papers consist primarily of correspondence, reports, minutes, newspaper clippings, and broadsides dealing with his activities as a leader in Local 22 (in Series I), as well as his other union and political activities (in Series II). b Among the most significant material in the collection is correspondence documenting Zimmerman's activities with the Communist Party in the U.S. and its various factions and splinter groups, as well as other political organizations and figures. Correspondents include Jay Lovestone and William Z. Foster; there is also considerable material dealing with the Communist Party of the U.S.A. and the "Majority Group," or Lovestone faction. Other political parties represented include the American Labor Party, the Liberal Party (New York State), and the Socialist Party.
The remainder of the materials covers union affairs, both within and outside of the ILGWU, from the 1920s to the 1950s, as well as labor issues in general. There is a good deal of information on civil rights and African-American employees from the 1930s to the 1950s. Other subjects include anti-fascism and anti-Nazism; strikes and other labor disputes in the U.S. and Canada; union elections; and worker education.
Significant organizations represented in the Zimmerman collection include the AFL and CIO (before and after the merger); the Fur and Leather Workers' Union; the Jewish Labor Committee; joint boards and locals of the ILGWU, especially Local 22 in New York; the League for Industrial Democracy; the NAACP; the National Urban League; the Workmen's Circle; and the Works Progress Administration.
Notable individuals represented include: Luigi Antonini; Irving Brown; David Dubinsky, Julius Hochman; Fiorello LaGuardia; Tom Mooney; Rose Pesotta; Adam Clayton Powell; Jackie Robinson; Norman Thomas; and Roy Wilkins.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Antonini, Luigi, 1883-1968.
Brown, Irving, 1911-
Dubinsky, David, 1892-1982.
Foster, William Z., 1881-1961.
Hochman, Julius, 1892-1970.
La Guardia, Fiorello H.(Fiorello Henry), 1882-1947.
Lovestone, Jay.
Mooney, Thomas J., 1882-1942.
Pesotta, Rose, 1896-
Powell, Adam Clayton, 1908-1972.
Robinson, Jackie, 1919-1972.
Thomas, Norman, 1884-1968.
Wilkins, Roy, 1901-1981.
Zimmerman, Charles S., 1896-1983.
AFL-CIO.
American Federation of Labor.
American Jewish Congress.
Communist Party of the U.S.A. (Majority Group)
Communist Party of the United States of America.
Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.)
International Fur and Leather Workers Union of the United States and Canada.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. --Management.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)--Management.
Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.)
League for Industrial Democracy.
Liberal Party of New York State.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
National Urban League.
Socialist Party (U.S.)
United States. Works Progress Administration.
Workmen's Circle/Arbeter Ring.

Subjects:
African Americans--Employment.
Anti-fascist movements.
Anti-Nazi movement.
Civil rights--United States.
Clothing workers--Labor unions--United States.
Communists--United States.
Communism--United States.
Labor disputes--United States.
Labor disputes--Canada.
Labor unions and communism--United States.
Labor unions--Officials and employees.
Labor union locals.
Strikes and lockouts--United States.
Strikes and lockouts--Canada.
Working class--Education--United States.

Geographic Subjects:
New York (State)--Politics and government--20th century.
United States--Politics and government--20th century.

Form and Genre Terms:
Reports.
Microfilms.


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:
ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers on Microfilm #5780/014 mf. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780/014: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers
5780/014 P: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Photographs

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Reel 1
Reel 2
Reel 3
Reel 4
Reel 5
Reel 6
Reel 7
Reel 8