ILGWU. New York Cloak Joint Board payroll analysis

Collection Number: 5780/041

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


ILGWU. New York Cloak Joint Board payroll analysis, 1959- 1976
Collection Number:
New York Cloak Joint Board International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection contains the New York Cloak Joint Board's payroll registers, summaries, and analyses for the years 1959 through 1972.
Collection material in English


Founded in 1900 by local union delegates representing about 2,000 members in cities in the northeastern United States, the ILGWU grew in geographical scope, membership size, 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. In 1995, the ILGWU merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE).


At the beginning in 1900 there was the Cloakmakers' Union of New York and Local 1 United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York and vicinity. In the early years, membership and meeting attendance was low. Local 9 Cloak and Suit Tailors, New York was soon chartered, as well as Local 35 Cloak Pressers. Benjamin Schlesinger became manager of the New York Joint Board of Cloak Makers' Union in 1904. By 1906, there was a movement within the childrens' cloak and reefer makers industry to organize, so that by 1908, the New York Joint Board of Cloak and Skirt Makers' Union was composed of Operators' Local 1, Tailors' Local 9, Reefer Makers' Local 17, Skirt Makers' Local 23 and Pressers' Local 35. From the convention of that year it was stated that "The object of the J.B. is to agitate the principle of Trade Unionism among the working people engaged in the Cloak and Skirt Trades and to transact their business in common, and to call, conduct and settle strikes and disputes (Ninth Annual Convention of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, 1908, p. 31).
Between 1908 and 1910, the Joint Board enacted 77 strikes and lockouts, 57 of which were settled favorably for the union. At the tenth convention in 1910, a resolution was introduced for empowering the General Executive Board to make necessary preparation and call a strike when appropriate. The Joint Board, now consisting of Cloak Operators Local 1, Cloak and Suit Tailors Local 9, Amalgamated Ladies' Garment Local 10, Cloak and Skirt Makers of Brownsville Local 11, Reefers Makers Local 17, Skirt Makers Local 23, Cloak Pressers Local 35, Buttonhole Makers Local 64, and Cloak and Suit Pressers of Brownsville Local 68, began strike preparations, appointing committee members, and renting halls, and calling a mass meeting that filled Madison Square Garden. A vote was taken with 18,771 against 615 in favor of a general strike. On July 7, 1910 the workers left the shops and joined the picket lines. As workers continued to join the strike, estimates varied from 50,000 to 60,000 strikers in the "Great Revolt." With the industry paralyzed, manufacturers were looking to settle, and small shops began signing agreements. It took until September 2 for a proposal to be accepted by the Joint Board and the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Protective Association, known as "The Protocol of Peace." While not all demands were won, the workers gained a 50 hour work week, double pay for overtime, and a higher minimum wage scale among others. In January of 1913, the Joint Board appointed Isaac Hourwich to the position of Chief Clerk of the Cloak and Skirt Makers' Union. In his new post, Hourwich sought to reform the Protocol of Peace, a system set up by Louis Brandeis to resolve conflicts in the garment industry between workers and manufacturers without arbitration. His attempt to amend the protocol bothered the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Association and put him out of favor with the International office. While the union sought to force Hourwich from his position, he instead decided to seek reappointment. A struggle emerged between Hourwich and the workers and locals that supported him and the International. This became known as the "Hourwich Affair" and concluded with Hourwich's resignation in 1914.
After a lockout in May 1916, a general strike was declared and lasted fourteen weeks and an amended agreement with a reduced week, wage increase, and a continuation of the Joint Board of Sanitary Control (created earlier by the Protocol). In 1917 Morris Sigman assumed the position of general manager of the Joint Board, and the relationship between the Board and component locals continued to improve. Another general strike occurred in May 1919 which brought the cloak industry to a standstill. In July 1922, the Joint Board ordered a general stoppage in the cloak industry during negotiations to reach a new agreement with the Protective Association. The controversy focused on the "social" or small shop, a form of sweatshop that employed only two or three workers. By the spring of 1923, a new department was created within the Joint Board to monitor the work given out by jobbers to subordinate shops. It was the goal that the work be sent to unions shops only and that jobbers be made responsible for the observance of union standards in those shops. A series of conferences between the union with the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Protective Association (manufacturers), American Cloak and Suit Manufacturers' Association (sub-manufacturers), and Merchants Ladies' Garment Association (jobbers) in March 1924 led to a program of demands by the General Executive Board which included: increase in minimum wage scale; establishment of 40 hour week; adoption of a sanitary and union label; and unemployment insurance. When no agreement could be reached by June 1924, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith appointed a Special Advisory Commission which held hearings in City Hall. A final report was rendered June 27 and recommendations submitted. Accepted by the union, sub-manufacturers, and manufacturers, the jobbers refused until July 7, 1924 when the Merchants' Association agreed to the terms of the Governors' Commission. (See 5780/161, 5780/165, 6036/009 for hearing transcripts) A general work stoppage in the entire cloak trade occurred on July 8, 1924 and lasted four weeks. The Special Commission established an Impartial Chairman for the whole cloak industry (Raymond Ingersoll, 6036/015) and organized a sanitary label division (the Prosanis Label) in the Joint Board of Sanitary Control. Shortly after, the Joint Board organized a Label and Unemployment Insurance office. After six months, in April 1925, a report was released from an investigation into the conditions in the New York cloak industry comparing shops, workers and wages from 1911 to 1924.
ILGWU rules had stipulated that no more than one local of the same craft exist in a city. In 1924, the General Executive Board sought to merge cloak operators' Locals 1, 11, and 17. After a seven week struggle with much resistance from Local 17, the three locals were amalgamated into Local 2 Cloak, Suit and Reefer Operators of Greater New York. Problems also troubled the Joint Board beginning in 1925 with Locals 2, 9, and 22, and the Communist control of the locals. The infighting caused the resignation of officers within the Joint Board to retain unity. A long battle resulted with charges levied against members and officers of the locals, and the election of new leadership.
The hearings before the Governor's Commission continued into 1926, with a final report issued in May. It was at this time that a general strike committee was formed to assess the situation. Communists had been controlling the special committee of the Joint Board and positioned themselves on crucial committees and posts during strike preparations. The Communists leaders called a mass meeting in Madison Square Garden on June 29, 1928. To maintain unity, the GEB and International pledged support, though from the beginning it was apparent that the strike was to be conducted for political purposes. A strike call was set for July 1, and thus began a disastrous episode for the Joint Board and union. The Communists in control of the strike mismanaged and mishandled efforts for a productive and effective strike. From the beginning, the strike was plagued by a failure to successfully organize for the strike, failure to provide financial aid for strikers, a misappropriation for the money raised and collected, and a dismissal of opportunities that would have led to an early and favorable settlement. An agreement was reached on November 12, 1926 after 20 weeks of "strike, suffering and starvation." The agreement was far below the recommendations of the Governor's Commission and caused the union many losses; loss of the season and wages for the workers; loss of millions of dollars in strike funds; loss of membership; and concessions that amounted to no increases and no agreements with jobbers and sub-manufacturers. The union took a financial, moral, and economic hit. Internal fighting between the Communist members and the union continued to escalate. When the Communist leadership refused to submit to the demands of the sub-manufacturers and enter into arbitration, thousands of workers in sub-manufacturing shops were locked out on December 9, 1926, joining the others in strike halls. The workers caught in the middle between the GEB and Communist leadership in the cloak locals were desperate for assistance and appealed to the union. The International formed provisional committees to take over power. In response, the Communist strike leadership organized a mass-meeting in Madison Square Garden, excluding the non-communist union members. At the mass-meeting, the Communists ordered all workers back to the shops without a settlement. The GEB and the provisional Joint Board issued a registration for all members in the Joint Board to receive new booksfinally choosing whether they wanted to stand with the ILGWU or continue to follow the Communist Party. The process of reconstruction began, with the union making settlements with the sub-manufacturers and jobbers, and a renewal of the agreement in the dress industry. Registration back into the union continued and new officers for the locals were elected and the Joint Board had a long rebuilding process through 1927 to repair morale and financial damage. By June 1927, the Joint Board and Locals 2, 3, 9, 22, 23 and 82 moved back into the old building of the Joint Board.
1928 saw the establishment of a 40-hour, five-day week. Also beginning in 1928, vice president Isidore Nagler served as the general manager for the Joint Board. The Cloak Joint Board and the International issued a strike call and on July 2, 1929, and 28,000 cloakmakers stopped work. Ten days later, resolutions were adopted, and by July 16, the new collective agreements were signed. While New York was the biggest market in the country for cloak manufacturing, the industry did feel the effects of the Depression, with massive unemployment, the Joint Board tried to curb overtime if there are vacancies in shops. The Joint Board entered into a battle with manufacturers who wanted a return to piece work and the union who wanted week-work. Strike preparations took place and on July 13, 1932, a strike vote was approved if negotiations failed. At the last minute, mediation reached a new agreement retaining week-work. A work stoppage still occurred from July 27, 1932-August 18, 1932 hastening the conclusion of the negotiations. Another cloak industry stoppage from August 14, 1933 lasted two weeks, with agreements with cloak associations and the adoption of the NRA codes for the cloak industry. The NRA label was to appear in garments to eliminate sub-standard and sweatshop conditions. Labels were attached to every garment with a registration number assigned to each employer verifying they complied with the standards of the Code. In 1937, jurisdiction of the snowsuit shops was transferred to Cloak Joint Board which formed a new special Snowsuit Department.
At the beginning of the 1940s, the Joint Board was composed of 9 local unions--Locals 9 (Finishers and Tailors), 10 (Cutters), 23 (Skirtmakers), 35 (Cloak Pressers), 48 (Italian Cloakmakers), 117 (Cloak Operators), 64 (Buttonhole Makers), 82 (Cloak Examiners), 30 (Coat and Suit Designers), and viewed as the "backbone" of the ILGWU since 1910. The cloakmakers were the first to introduce and successfully support the practice of collective bargaining on an industry-wide scale in New York, and still maintained its position as a leader in change for the industry. General Manager Nagler declined to be a candidate for reelection in 1939. In February 1939, a temporary administrative committee was formed to manage affairs until August 1939, when vice-president Israel Feinberg (ILGWU director on the Pacific Coast since 1933) became the new general manager of the Cloak Joint Board, a position he held previously from 1920-1925. The Joint Board was active in the affairs of the National Coat and Suit Industry Recovery Board (formed in 1935 after the demise of the NRA) to help stabilize the industry and make sure production was under decent standards of employment. In 1943 the Board established an industry maintained Retirement fund that went into effect January 1944 providing (at the time) $600 per year for the approximately 35,000 members in the ILGWU cloak locals of New York who are 65 and older. An arbitrator award in June 1946 brought a wage increase, as well as the creation of a health and vacation fund contributed by the employers. Officially beginning operation January 1947, the health plan included medical treatment, hospitalization, sick benefits, eye exams, and tuberculosis benefits. Beginning in June 1947, cloakmakers would receive on weeks' vacation with pay. The Cloak Joint Board outgrew its headquarters on West 33rd St. and purchased a new building on West 38th St. between Fifth and Sixth Aves. To accommodate all the departments of the Cloak Joint Board and Local 23.
In December 1951, general manager Feinberg became ill and Louis Hyman (Local 9) took over as acting general manager. He officially retired in early 1952. In May 1952, Isidore Nagler was once again appointed the general manager (1928-1939). Feinberg (general manager from 1939-1952) died in September 1952. Towards the end of the decade, there were changes in the industry after the war, with a rise of section work, and for the first time, women were now majority of the workers. Local 102 Cloak and Dress Drivers' joined the Joint Board. In September 1959, Nagler died, and Henoch Mendelsund, who had been Nagler's assistant for six years, became the new manager of the Joint Board. By 1965 the change in demographics continued and almost 70% of the cloak workforce was now female. At the end of the 1960s, the Joint Board was composed of Local 117 Cloak Operators, Local 9 Cloak Finishers, Local 35 Cloak Pressers, Local 48 Italian Cloakmakers, Local 23-25 Blouse, Skirt and Sportswear Workers (November 1963 merger and name change), Local 82 Examiners, Local 64 Buttonhole Workers, and the cloak portion of Cutters Local 10.
The 1970s saw the introduction of new materials not previously used in coat and suit making, including fake fur, plastics, leather and suede. In January 1973, Mendelsund appointed Local 48 manager and union first vice president E. Howard Molisani the associate general manager for the Joint Board, and in July 1973, Mendelsund relinquished his post after 20 years of service in the Joint Board. At that time, Molisani became the general manager. The operations of the 1972 National Board of the Coat and Suit Industry (name changed from National Coat and Suit Industry Recovery Board) were discontinued in 1972. A restructure of cloak locals in New York City in 1972 precipitated by changes in the industry (membership decline, decline in coat and suit production, diversification of crafts and products, elimination of hand work), addressed locals based on outdated craft divisions, language or ethnic origin. The new locals consisted of: Local 1 United Coat, Suit and Allied Garment Workers' Union of Manhattan and the Bronx (operators, finishers, sample tailors, examiners, floor workers and buttonhole makers), Local 35 Coat, Suit, Sportswear and Allied Garment Pressers' Union (pressers in the coat and suit industry in Manhattan and the Bronx as well as pressers in sportswear shops), Local 48 United Coat, Suit and Allied Garment Workers' Union of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island (coat and suit workers in all crafts in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island). Locals 10 (Cutters) and 23-25 (Blouse, Skirt and Sportswear) were not affected. All assets and liabilities of the locals were transferred to the Joint Board and instituted were uniform amounts of dues, initiation fees and assessments for the locals, with the Joint Board handling the finances. The Cloak Joint Board name was officially changed to Joint Board of Coat, Suit and Allied Garment Workers' Unions.
In November 1977, the executive committee of the ILGWU General Executive Board enacted a resolution that merged the existing cloak, dress, rainwear and other affiliates in New York, thus ending the separate existence of the New York Cloak and Dress Joint Boards. The New York Cloak-Dress Joint Board and Affiliates consisted of Local 1-35 United Coat, Suit, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of Manhattan; Local 10 Cutters; Local 22 Dressmakers Union of Manhattan; Local 48 Coat, Suit, Dress, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of North Brooklyn; Local 77 Coat, Suit, Dress, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of Queens; Local 89 Coat, Suit, Dress, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of South Brooklyn; and Local 189 Coat, Suit, Dress, Rainwear and Allied Workers Union of the Bronx. At the same time, sportswear locals previously under the Dress or Cloak Joint Board were now a part of the new New York Sportswear and Allied Workers Joint Board (Local 10 Cutters; Local 23-25 Blouse, Skirt and Sportswear Workers; Local 91 Children's Dressmakers; Local 105 Snowsuit, Infants, and Novelty Sportswear; and Local 155 Knitgoods Workers). The new resolution redrew existing locals' jurisdiction to represent workers along geographic as well as industrial lines. The changes created a more efficient and economical representation of the workers and provided greater organizing ability and bargaining power. E. Howard Molisani, an ILGWU vice-president and manager of the Cloak Joint Board, was elected to serve as the general manager of the new organization. Following his retirement in July 1978, Samuel Nemaizer (formerly manager of the Dress Joint Board) was appointed to succeed Molisani as general manager.
In late 1981, the Joint Board approved a measure to dissolve Locals 48, 77 and 189 to create a stronger financial foundation for the organization. Members were transferred to Locals 22, 1-35 and 89. Local 89 was renamed Local 89-48 to honor the historic significance of the Italian cloakmakers. An October 1984 meeting resulted in more restructuring of the board and locals into a new Local 89-22-1. Changes in the garment industry necessitated the dissolution of the Joint Board and Locals 22 and 89-48. The charter of Local 1-35 was amended to create the new Local 89-22-1. With the consolidation of staff and retirements of managers Samuel Nemaizer, Manuel Gonzalez and Frank Longo, Samuel Byer, associate general manager of the New York Coat-Dress-Rainwear Joint Board was elected manager of Local 89-22-1. The New York Sportswear Joint Board was renamed the New York Joint Board in August 1985, and Locals 62- 32 and 66-40 joined the existing affiliates Locals 23-25, 155, 91-105 and 10 and managed by Edgar Romney. After the retirement in 1993 of Samuel Byer, Barbara Laufman was elected manager of Local 89-22-1. Local 89-22-1 was the successor to some of the oldest locals in the union from the coat, dress, suite and rainwear industries, as well as both the New York Dress and Cloak Joint Boards. In July 1922, the New York State District merged with Local 89-22-1.


The collection consists of payroll information in the form of anaylsis, summaries, registers and totals for the New York Cloak Joint Board encompassing the areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens. The payroll reports are recorded by quarter and contian information such as workers by area, contractors in New Jersey, total number of workers by area, and workers by shop.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. New York Cloak Joint Board.

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:


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This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
ILGWU. New York Cloak Joint Board payroll analysis #5780/041. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/164: ILGWU. Joint Board shop lists
5780/020: ILGWU. New York Cloak Joint Board records


Box 1 Folder 1 1959
Box 1 Folder 2 1960
Box 1 Folder 3 1961
Box 1 Folder 4 1961
Box 1 Folder 5 1962
Box 1 Folder 6 1963
Box 1 Folder 7 1963
Box 1 Folder 8 1964
Box 1 Folder 9 1964
Box 1 Folder 10 1965
Box 1 Folder 11 1966
Box 1 Folder 12 1967
Box 1 Folder 13 1968
Box 1 Folder 14 1968
Box 1 Folder 15 1969
Box 1 Folder 16 1969
Box 1 Folder 17 1970
Box 1 Folder 18 1970
Box 1 Folder 19 1971
Box 1 Folder 20 1971
Box 1 Folder 21 1972
Box 1 Folder 22 1972
Box 1 Folder 23 1973
Box 1 Folder 24 1974
Box 1 Folder 25 1975
Box 1 Folder 26 1976
Box 1 Folder 27 1960-1963
Box 1 Folder 28 1965