ILGWU Local 22 Records

Collection Number: 5780/015

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


ILGWU Local 22 Records, 1920-1933
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). Local 22;
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
1.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Correspondence .
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection consists of alphabetical files of Local 22 from 1920 to 1933, containing correspondence, memoranda, minutes, and other material.
Collection material in English, Yiddish


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.


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 City. The dress industry formed its own Joint Board in 1921 composed of Local 22 Dressmakers, Local 25 Waistmakers, Local 58 Waist Buttonhole Makers, Local 60 Waist and Dress Pressers, Local 66 Bonnaz Embroidery Workers, Local 89 Italian Waist and Dressmakers, and the waist and dress branch of Cutters' Local 10. A general work stoppage in February 1923 in the dress industry won the union a 40 hour week and 10 percent wage increase, as well as a large gain of new members. During the summer of 1923, after years of discussion and deliberation, the two dress locals, Local 23 and 22 were consolidated. The dressmakers from Local 23 transferred to Local 22 and subsequently Local 22 joined the New York Cloakmakers' Joint Board. Soon, the Dress and Waist Joint Board became unnecessary and was dissolved. Local 25 Waistmakers were left without an affiliated organization and in October 1924 merged with the Dressmakers' Union, Local 22.
By the end of 1926, the Communists had gained control of the dress organization in New York City and the union barely existed. In February 4, 1930, 25,000 dressmakers walked out of the shops. The strike was called to reorganize dressmakers and finally abolish the Communist influence in the industry. On April 8, 1930 the General Executive Board decided to separate the dressmakers from the Cloakmakers' Joint Board. In 1931, Charles Zimmerman formed a committee to rebuild Local 22. He was elected to executive board of Local 22 in 1932, and elected manager-secretary in 1933. Another walkout in all dress shops, both union and non-union on August 16, 1933 brought the dress industry to a halt.
Zimmerman left Local 22 in 1958 to become manager of the Dress Joint Board. Israel Breslow succeeded him as manager of Local 22 from 1958 until his retirement in 1975. By 1975, the New York Dress Joint Board completed restructuring of affiliate locals, and Locals 60-60A, 159, and 38 were merged into existing Locals 22 and 89. Local 22 gained jurisdiction over all dressmakers in Manhattan. In the 1980s, more locals were dissolved and members transferred to Local 22, but by 1984, Local 22 saw restructuring as well. Changes in the garment industry necessitated the dissolution of the Joint Board and Local 22 into the new Local 89-22-1.


The collection contains the early records of the Dressmakers' Union Local 22. For later records when Charles Zimmerman was manager, see 5780/014. There are lists of active members, as well as members of the executive board. The records consist of when Local 22 was a member of the Joint Board of the Dress and Waistmakers', but also after the merger when they were a member of the Joint Board of the Cloak, Skirt, Dress and Reefer Makers' Union (composed of Locals 2, 3, 9, 10, 21, 22, 23, 35, 45, 48, 64, 82 and 89). There is correspondence with the Dress Joint Board, the Cloak and Dress Joint Board, and other Joint Boards across the country.
Of interest could be material on the finances of the local, correspondence with the International, and election materials. It was during this time that Local 22 was plagued by internal fighting as Communists within the local rose to power. By the end of 1926, the Communists had gained control of the dress organization in New York and it took until 1929 before the locals began to reorganize.
The collection also includes discussions for a general strike in the dress industry, and preparations and some material on the strike of 1933. Social causes supported by Local 22 include sanatoriums, the Union Health Center, Pioneer Youth Camp, relief work and charity.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 22 (New York, N.Y.)

Women's clothing industry--United States.
Women's clothing industry--New York (State)--New York.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--New York (State)--New York.
Clothing workers--United States.
Clothing workers--New York (State)--New York.
Industrial relations--United States.
Industrial relations--New York (State)--New York.

Form and Genre Terms:


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 Records #5780/015. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780/014: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Papers
5780/014 P: ILGWU Local 22, Charles S. Zimmerman Photographs
5780/036: ILGWU Local 22 Minutes
5780/057: ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Records
5780/057 P: ILGWU Local 22 Education Department Photographs
5780/067: ILGWU Local 22 Israel Breslow Papers


Box 1 Folder 1 1928
Calling to membership meetings. Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 2a 1927-1931
Box 1 Folder 2b 1920-1933
Box 1 Folder 3 1929-1931
Box 1 Folder 4 1926-1932
Incl. Union Bank, Int'l Madison Bank and Trust Company.
Box 1 Folder 5 1928-1929
Corres. w. A. J. Muste.
Box 1 Folder 7 1929-1932
Box 1 Folder 8 1928-1931
Box 1 Folder 9 1927-1931
Corres. w. Fannia M. Cohn.
Box 1 Folder 10 1927-1932
Incl. minutes of Elections & Objection Committee.
Box 1 Folder 11 1924-1932
Incl. rules & regulations of Relief Fund, 1924.
Box 1 Folder 12 1928-1933
Box 1 Folder 13 1927-1930
Correspondents incl. Abraham Baroff, Morris Sigman; decision of Special Committee of GEB to separate the New York Cloak & Dress Joint Board, April 1930. (David Dubinsky Chairman, Salvatore Ninfo Secretary). English and Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 14 1931-1933
Incl. correspondence. w. David Dubinsky.
Box 1 Folder 15 1931-1932
Box 1 Folder 16 1929-1930
Incl. letter re station WEVD.
Box 1 Folder 17 1927-1932
I.c.w. Arturo Giovannitti & Leonardo Frisina.
Box 1 Folder 18 1930-1931
Box 2 Folder 1 1931
Boston Cloak & Dressmakers' Union.
Box 2 Folder 2 1928-1930
Chicago Joint Board.
Box 2 Folder 3 1929
Box 2 Folder 4 1927-1930
1927-April 1930. New York Cloak, Suit, Skirt, Dress & Reefer Makers Union. I.c.w. Harry Wander, Joseph Breslaw & Elias Reisberg.
Box 2 Folder 5 1929-1930
New York Cloak & Dress Joint Board Strikes.
Box 2 Folder 6 1930-1933
New York Cloak Joint Board.
Box 2 Folder 7 1930-1933
New York Dress & Waistmakers Union. I.c.w. Julius Hochman & Antonino Crivello; financial statements.
Box 2 Folder 8 1932
New York Dress & Waistmakers Strike.
Box 2 Folder 9 1929-1933
Box 2 Folder 10 1927-1933
Box 2 Folder 11 1927-1932
Incl. correspondence., minutes of Executive Board and Section meetings, and Joint Board Dress & Waistmakers' Union, N.Y., 1931.
Box 2 Folder 12 1927-1933
Incl. correspondence. w. Joseph Breslaw.
Box 2 Folder 13
Box 2 Folder 14 1927-1933
Box 3 Folder 1 1929-1932
Box 3 Folder 2 1930-1932
Box 3 Folder 3 1927-1932
Box 3 Folder 4 1928-1933
Box 3 Folder 5 1929-1932
Box 3 Folder 6 1927-1931
Box 3 Folder 7 1927-1930
Box 3 Folder 8 1929-1932
Box 3 Folder 9 1933
1920's-1930's. Yiddish
Box 3 Folder 10 1927-1932
Box 3 Folder 11 1928-1930
Incl. work permits.
Box 3 Folder 12 1928-1932
Box 3 Folder 13 1927-1930
Box 3 Folder 14 1927-1933
Box 3 Folder 15 1927-1928
Box 3 Folder 16 1928-1932
Box 3 Folder 17 1927-1932
Relief for striking miners.
Box 3 Folder 18 1931
Paterson Strikers Relief Committee.
Box 3 Folder 19 1928-1931
Box 3 Folder 20 1928-1932
Box 3 Folder 21 1928
Box 3 Folder 22 1927-1933