ILGWU Unity House Photographs

Collection Number: 5780/122 P

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
ILGWU Unity House Photographs,
Collection Number:
5780/122 P
Creator:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU);
Unity House
Quantity:
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Photographs.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection includes files on the renovation of Unity House. Also included is a 1993 article on the history of the ILGWU in Northern Pennsylvania.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

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.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Unity House was a resort in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, operated by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and used as a vacation destination and educational center for its members and their families. It was purchased by Locals 22 and 25 in 1919, and consisted of a lake and 750 acres of land. In the 1920s the locals sold the resort to the international organization. Unity House prospered after World War II, but attendance dropped throughout the 1960s and continued to dwindle in the 1970s and 1980s. The ILGWU closed the resort in 1990. In 2000 it was purchased by a subgrantee of the Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts. Unity House not only served as a vacation spot for ILGers and their families, but also as a meeting place for ILGWU officers and staff and other labor leaders. In this way, the resort was very much the outgrowth of Unity Houses and Unity Centers in New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia. In these cities, local unions established libraries, educational offerings, and recreational activities, hosted at local schools. With the establishment of the international's Educational Department in New York City that worked in cooperation with local union members, programs became increasingly robust. Such offerings that appealed to members' interests beyond the so-called "bread and butter" issues characterized the ILGWU's approach to organizing and building a union. Though Unity House in the Poconos was sold in 1989 and closed a year later, the ILGWU's educational programs for members and their families continued in earnest until the union's merger with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

This collection includes files on the renovation of Unity House. Also included is a 1993 article on the history of the ILGWU in Northern Pennsylvania.
SUBJECTS

Names:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Unity House.

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

Form and Genre Terms:
Photographs


INFORMATION FOR USERS

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 Unity House Photographs #5780/122 P. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780/122: ILGWU Unity House Records
5780/122 AV: ILGWU Unity House Audio-Visual Materials
5780/122 MB: ILGWU Unity House Memorabilia

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
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