ILGWU Management Engineering Department Records

Collection Number: 5780/118

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


ILGWU Management Engineering Department Records, 1941-1982
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
1.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
This collection consists of records of the Management-Engineering Department of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Materials include files on clothing and textile manufacturers.
Collection material in English


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.


Created in 1941, the Management Engineering Department was charged with assisting in the improvement of manufacturing techniques and operating methods, as well as providing information on "fair rate pieces," monitoring manufacturing techniques, and providing trainings to workers on efficient operations. Improvements to techniques and methods were made by first observing the ways that operations in the manufacturing of women's garments were executed, and then making recommendations to create efficiencies. The Management-Engineering Department collected information, produced these time and motion studies, and used both to help determine piece rates and develop worker training.
William Gomberg, who had previous worked as a collective bargaining agent with the ILGWU, served as the department's first director 1956. Gomberg eventually became a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, thus his papers are housed at the University of Pennsylvania's University Archives and Records Center:


The records of the Management Engineering Department range from its founding in 1941 to 1980. Included are reports on operations at in specific shops and industries, reports to the General Executive Board about the department's activities, and related materials.
The department's records are not extensive, and do not provide particularly strong documentation of the Management Engineering Department's work. Researchers interested in more information about the Management Engineering Department and its activities may consult reports to the ILGWU international conventions.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Management-Engineering Dept.

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

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


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 Management Engineering Department Records #5780/118. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records


Box 1 Folder 1 1979
Box 1 Folder 2 1980
Box 1 Folder 3 1979
Box 1 Folder 4 1980
Box 1 Folder 5 1979-1980
Box 1 Folder 6 1979
Box 1 Folder 7 1980
Box 1 Folder 8 1961
Box 1 Folder 9 1977
Box 1 Folder 10 1978
Box 1 Folder 11 1974
Box 1 Folder 12 1977
Box 1 Folder 13 1977
Box 1 Folder 14 1969
Box 1 Folder 15 1955
July 1, 1955
Box 1 Folder 16 1963-1982
Box 1 Folder 17 1963-1980
Box 1 Folder 18 1963-1980
Box 1 Folder 19 1963-1980
Box 1 Folder 20 1974-1975
Box 1 Folder 21 1977
May 9, 1977
Box 1 Folder 22 1977-1978
Box 1 Folder 23 1977
Box 2 Folder 1 1977
Box 2 Folder 2 1969
Box 2 Folder 3 1975
Box 2 Folder 4 1965
Box 2 Folder 5 1941
Box 2 Folder 6 1946
Box 2 Folder 7 1942
Box 2 Folder 8 1942
Box 2 Folder 9 1942
Box 2 Folder 10 1941
Box 2 Folder 11 1942
March 9, 1942
Box 2 Folder 12 1941
Box 2 Folder 13 1941
Box 2 Folder 14 1941
Box 2 Folder 15 1942
Box 2 Folder 16 1942
Box 2 Folder 17 1941
Box 2 Folder 18 1941
Box 2 Folder 19 1942
September 18, 1942
Box 2 Folder 20 1942
Box 2 Folder 21 1942
June 22, 1942
Box 2 Folder 22 1942
July 14, 1942
Box 2 Folder 23 1945
Box 2 Folder 24 1958-1976
Box 2 Folder 25 1943