ILGWU. Montreal Locals Minutes,1936-1974.

Collection Number: 5780/028

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU. Montreal locals minutes, 1936-1974.
Collection Number:
5780/028
Creator:
Quantity:
2 linear feet
Forms of Material:
Records.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Records of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Locals 19, 43, 61, 112, 342, 438, 584, and 592. Included are meeting minutes and correspondence.
Language:
Collection material in English, French, and Yiddish.


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

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.

Local 61 was the Cloak and Suit Makers' Union; local 342 was the Cutters' and Finishers' Union; local 438 was the Montreal Lingerie Union. Locals 19, 43, 112, 584, and 592 also represented workers of Montreal's ladies' garment industry.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Records of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Locals 19, 43, 61, 112, 342, 438, 584, and 592. Included are meeting minutes and correspondence.
SUBJECTS

Names:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 19.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 43.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 61.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 112.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 342.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 438.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 584.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 592.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 19.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 43.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 61.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 112.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 342.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 438.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 584.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Local 592.

Subjects:
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:
Records.
Minutes.
Correspondence.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

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. Montreal locals minutes. 5780/028. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.

RELATED MATERIALS

5780. ILGWU Records
5780/029. ILGWU. Montreal Dress Joint Board minus
5780/030. ILGWU. Montreal Joint Council minutes
5780/116. ILGWU. Montreal Joint Board records
5780/117. ILGWU. Quebec Joint Council records

NOTES

"Permanent deposit"

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1
Local 19. Minutes.
1936-1942
English. Handwritten
Box 1 Folder 9
Local 342. Minutes.
1940-1946
Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 6
Local 61. Minutes.
1940-1953
Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 2
Local 19. Minutes.
1942-1946
English
Box 1 Folder 3
Local 19. Minutes.
1946-1947
English
Box 1 Folder 10
Local 342. Minutes.
1946-1953
Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 11
Local 342. Minutes and 1961 Union Label Publication.
1953-1955
Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 7
Local 61. Minutes.
1953-1961
Mainly Yiddish some English
Box 1 Folder 4
Local 19. Minutes.
1954-1955
English
Box 1 Folder 5
Local 19. Minutes.
1955-1964
English
Box 1 Folder 12
Local 342. Minutes.
1955-1966
Yiddish
Box 1 Folder 8
Local 61. Minutes.
1962-1974
Yiddish
Box 2 Folder 1
Local 43. Minutes.
1937-1940
Yiddish
Box 2 Folder 4
Local 112. Minutes.
1938-1958
French. Handwritten
Box 2 Folder 2
Local 43. Minutes.
1940-1946
Yiddish
Box 2 Folder 5
Local 112. Minutes.
1945-1958
French
Box 2 Folder 3
Local 43. Minutes and Correspondence.
1947-1955
Yiddish. Some Correspondence in Yiddish a few correspondence in English
Box 2 Folder 7
Local 584. Lac Magantic. Minutes.
1957-1962
French
Box 2 Folder 8
Local 592. Drummondville, Quebec. Minutes.
1957-1970
French
Box 2 Folder 6
Lingerie Local: 438. Minutes.
1965-1970
French with English Translation