ILGWU Local 89 Records

Collection Number: 5780/024

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


ILGWU Local 89 Records, 1918-1944
Collection Number:
ILGWU Local 89;
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
3 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Clippings .
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection consists of bound volumes of newspaper clippings documenting the activities of Local 89 between 1918 and 1944.
Collection material in English, Italian


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 89 of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) was chartered in 1919 and based in New York City. The local represented the Italian Dressmakers of the 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. Soon, the Dress and Waist Joint Board became unnecessary and was dissolved. Local 89, the Italian Dress and Waistmakers' Union, affiliated with the Cloak Board as well, and both dress and cloak industries in New York were represented by the Cloak and Dress Joint Board.
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 and give them back an autonomous joint board to govern their own affairs. By February 1934, the Dress Joint Board moved to new larger offices along with Locals 22 and 89, illustrating a drastic turnaround from previous years. The dress industry was now the biggest organized center in the ILGWU.
The decades of the 1960s and 70s saw a decline in shops and jobs in New York City with firms going out of business. 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 and Local 89 was designated the local for all Bronx and Brooklyn members. By 1977, Local 89 was the Coat, Suit, Dress, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of South Brooklyn. In late 1981, the Joint Board approved a measure to dissolve locals and Local 89 was renamed Local 89-48 to honor the historic significance of the Italian cloakmakers.


The collection consists of newspaper clippings, identified by publication and arranged by date. The earliest clippings are in Italian and are photocopies (no originals). Subjects covered include the dress industry, dressmakers, Luigi Antonini, Salvatore Ninfo and Local 89. Later clippings are contained in brittle scrapbooks that cover the Communist take-over of the dress industry and the fight within the union, Joint Board and dress locals. The scrapbooks document the activities of Local 89 between 1918 and 1944 and provide information on Italian Americans (especially in the garment industry), Italian affairs, and the Italian-American Labor Council.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 89 (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 89 Records #5780/024. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/023: ILGWU Local 89 Luigi Antonini Correspondence
5780/064: ILGWU Local 89 Minutes
5780/213: ILGWU Local 89-22-1. Records


Box 1 Folder 1 1918-1921
January 24, 1918 - September 30, 1921. English and Italian. Photocopies.
Box 1 Folder 2 1922-1924
January 25, 1922 - December 27, 1924. English and Italian. Photocopies.
Box 1 Folder 3 1925-1927
January 7, 1925 - January 31, 1927. English and Italian. Photocopies.
Box 1 Folder 4 1927-1934
February 14, 1927 - May 22, 1934. English and Italian
Box 2 Folder 1 1934
May 24, 1934 - November 28, 1934. English and Italian
Box 2 Folder 2 1934-1935
November 28, 1934 - November 13, 1935. English and Italian.
Box 3 Folder 1 1935-1937
November 13, 1935 - May 16, 1937. English and Italian.
Box 3 Folder 2 1941-1944
October 19, 1941 - July 7, 1944. English and Italian.