ILGWU General Executive Board Minutes on Microfilm,1900-1975

Collection Number: 5780/016 mf

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


ILGWU General Executive Board Minutes on Microfilm, 1900-1975
Collection Number:
5780/016 mf
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
18 microfilm reels
Forms of Material:
Minutes, Microfilm
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Includes the minutes and reports of the General Executive Board of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Collection material in English


The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union was founded in New York City in 1900 by mostly Socialist immigrant workers who sought to unite the various crafts in the growing women's garment industry. The union soon reflected changes in the sector and rapidly organized thousands of unskilled and semi-skilled women, mostly Jewish and Italian young immigrants. Exemplifying the “new unionism,” the ILGWU led two of the most widespread and best-known industrial strikes of the early Twentieth Century: the shirtwaist makers’ strike of 1909 in New York City and the cloak makers’ strike of 1910 in Chicago. The union also tried to adapt to the fragmented and unstable nature of the industry. It adopted the “protocol of peace,” a system of industrial relations that attempted to ensure stability and limit strikes and production disruption by providing for an arbitration system to resolve disputes.
The ILGWU exemplified the European-style social unionism of its founding members. They pursued bread and butter issues but provided educational opportunities, benefits, and social programs to union members as well. In 1919, the ILGWU became the first American union to negotiate an unemployment compensation fund that was contributed to by its employers. The ILGWU also pioneered in the establishment of an extremely progressive health care program for its members which included not only regional Union Health Centers but also a resort for union workers, known as Unity House. The Union also had an imaginative and pioneering Education Department which not only trained workers in traditional union techniques, but provided courses in citizenship and the English language.
David Dubinsky, an immigrant from Belarus who came to the US in 1911, provided strong leadership that led to unprecedented growth in the union during his presidency from 1932 to 1966. He led the union through successful internal anti-communist struggles, built on the ascendancy of industrial unionism by encouraging the formation of the Committee for Industrial Organization, and helped the union become an important political force in New York City and state politics, and in the national Democratic Party and Liberal Party as well.
In the period following the Second World War, the union suffered a decline in membership as manufacturers avoided unionization and took advantage of less expensive labor by moving shops from the urban centers in the northeast to the south, and later abroad. The ethnic and racial character of the ILGWU also changed as European immigrants were supplanted by Asians, Latin Americans, African- Americans, and immigrants from the Caribbean.
In July 1995 the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) at a joint convention, forming UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees). At the time the new union had a membership of about 250,000 in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.


Includes the minutes and reports of the General Executive Board of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. General Executive Board.

Women's clothing industry--United States.
Labor unions--Clothing workers--United States.
Clothing workers--United States.
Industrial relations--United States.

Form and Genre Terms:


Access Restrictions:
The ILGWU Records, except for publications and materials produced for publication, are restricted. Materials created prior to twenty years from the current date are open to researchers only with prior written permission from the Director of the Kheel Center; materials created during the past twenty-years are closed; the minutes of the General Executive Board are closed. For more information contact the Kheel Center.
Cite As:
ILGWU General Executive Board Minutes on Microfilm, 5780/016 mf. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.


5780. ILGWU Records
5780/016. ILGWU. General Executive Board minutes
5780/018. ILGWU. General Executive Board. Appeal Committee cases
5780/189. ILGWU. Perry Parker papers


"Permanent deposit"


Reel 1
Executive Board Minutes. General.
June 3, 1900 - February 16, 1917. 883 images. 3 copies.
Reel 2
Executive Board Minutes. General.
March 14, 1917 - May 26, 1924. 1386 images. 2 copies.
Reel 3
Executive Board Minutes. General.
August 25, 1924 - October 29, 1929. 1084 images. 3 copies.
Reel 4
Executive Board Minutes. General.
December 13, 1929 - May 3, 1938. 1372 images. 3 copies.
Reel 5
Executive Board Minutes. General.
May 23, 1938 - November 21, 1940. 1372 images. 3 copies.
Reel 6
Executive Board Minutes. General.
December 20, 1940 - March 8, 1945. 1179 images. 3 copies.
Reel 7
Executive Board Minutes. General.
April 23, 1945 - June 27, 1947. 1033 images. 3 copies.
Reel 8
Executive Board Minutes. General.
September 2, 1947 - May 16, 1950. 1152 images. 3 copies.
Reel 9
Executive Board Minutes. General.
June 2, 1950 - May 25, 1954. 1297 images. 3 copies.
Reel 10
Executive Board Minutes. General.
September 14, 1954 - February 11, 1958. 1108 images. 3 copies.
Reel 11
Executive Board Minutes. General.
May 12, 1958 - May 3, 1961. 1402 images. 3 copies.
Reel 12
Executive Board Minutes. General.
June 19, 1961 - September 9, 1963. 1238 images. 3 copies.
Reel 13
Executive Board Minutes. General.
November 15, 1963 - June 21, 1966. 1260 images. 3 copies.
Reel 14
Executive Board Minutes. General.
September 5, 1966 - September 29, 1967. 1355 images. 3 copies.
Reel 15
Executive Board Minutes. General.
December 14, 1967 - May 12, 1969. 1153 images. 3 copies.
Reel 16
Executive Board Minutes. General.
August 12, 1969 - September 16, 1971. 1026 images. 3 copies.
Reel 17
Executive Board Minutes. General.
August 26, 1970; October 26-29, 1970; November 29, 1971 - February 27, 1973. 1324 images. 3 copies.
Reel 18
Executive Board Minutes. General.
May 24, 1973 - October 8, 1975. 1382 images. 3 copies.