ILGWU. Sol C. Chaikin. The First Year. Presentation Volume,1975-1976.

Collection Number: 5780/135

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


ILGWU. Sol C. Chaikin. The First Year. Presentation volume, 1975-1976.
Collection Number:
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
1 volume
Forms of Material:
Bound volume
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Presentation volume of reproduced news clippings.
Collection material in English


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.


1918 Born, New York City, January 9th
1934 Graduated Townsend Harris Hall High School
1940 LL.B Degree, Brooklyn Law School
Married Rosalind Bryon
Organizer, ILGWU Local 178, Fall River, Massachusetts
1942 Business Agent, Local 281, Boston and Lowell, Massachusetts
1943 U.S. Air Force
1946 Manager, Local 22, ILGWU, Springfield, Massachusetts
Manager, Western Mass. District, Northeast Dept., ILGWU
1955 Director, Lower Southwest Region, ILGWU
1959 Vice-President ILGWU
1965 Vice-President ILGWU
1968 Chairman, American Trade Union Council for Histadrut
1969 Associate Trustee, Long Island Jewish Hillside Medical Center
1973 General Secretary-Treasurer, ILGWU
Vice-President, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Dept.
Member, Board of Directors, New York Urban Coalition
1975 President, ILGWU
Vice-President, AFL-CIO and Member, Executive Council
Member, Governor's Task Force on Housing
1976 Delegate to Democratic National Convention
National Chairman, Trade Union Council for Histadrut
1977 Labor Representative, Belgrade Conference to Review Helsinki Accord on Human Rights
Head of AFL-CIO Delegation to International Labor Summit, London
Received Labor Human Rights Award, Jewish Labor Committee
1978 Received Townsend Harris Award
Member, U.S. Delegation to Attend Funeral of Prime Minister Golda Meir
1979 Present at Signing of Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty at the White House
1980 Member, U.S. Delegation to ILO Session in Geneva
Vice-Chair, N.Y. Convention Center Operating Corp.
Member, Board of Trustees, Brandeis University
Honorary Degrees from Rutgers University and City University of New York
Seconded the Nomination of President Carter, Democratic National Convention
Published, A Labor Viewpoint: Another Opinion
1982 Head, AFL-CIO Fact-Finding Mission to South Africa
Member, N.Y.S. Governor's Special Transit Advisory Panel
1983 Sol C. Chaikin Chair Established at Brandeis University
Addressed AFL-CIO Annual Civil Rights Conference
Led Import Rollback Campaign
1985 Hosted ZENSEN Delegation from Japan for Discussions of Apparel and Textile Industries
1986 Retired as President of the ILGWU
1991 Died April 1, 1991 at age 73.


Presentation volume of reproduced news clippings.

International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

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

Form and Genre Terms:


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. Sol C. Chaikin. The First Year. Presentation volume. 5780/135. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Martin P. Catherwood Library, Cornell University.


5780. ILGWU records
5780/083. Sol Chaikin papers
5780/083 P. ILGWU. Sol Chaikin photographs


"Permanent deposit"


Box 1 Folder 1
Sol C. Chaikin, President
The First Year