Governor's Advisory Commission. Cloak, Suit & Skirt Industry.

Collection Number: 6036/009

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Governor's Advisory Commission. Cloak, Suit & Skirt Industry., 1924- 1928
Collection Number:
6036/009
Creator:
Governor's Advisory Commission for the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Industry
Quantity:
1.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Minutes, reports.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection consists of reports and hearing transcripts of the Governor's Advisory Commission for the Cloak, Suit, and Skirt Industry.
Language:
Collection material in English


ILGWU ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

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).

GOVERNOR'S ADVISORY COMMISSION ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Beginning in March 1924, the ILGWU and the Joint Board of Cloak and Dressmakers' Union began negotiations with the Merchants' Ladies' Garment Association (jobbers), the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Protective Association (manufacturers), and the American Cloak and Suit Manufacturers' Association (sub-manufacturers). When no agreement could be reached by June 1924, New York Governor Alfred E. Smith appointed a Special Advisory Commission consisting of George Gordon Battle (Chairman), Herbert Lehman, Arthur Wolf, Lindsay Rogers, and Bernard Schientag (State Industrial Commissioner). Representing the union and associations were Morris Hillquit (ILGWU), Samuel Blumberg (Merchants' Ladies' Garment Association) and William Klein (Cloak and Suit Manufacturers' Protective Association). Public hearings took place between June 17 and June 25, and on June 27, recommendations were 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.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

In an effort to bring about much needed change in the industry, the ILGWU led by President Morris Sigman, sought reform in the New York suit and cloak trade. On behalf of the workers, the union devised to restructure the industry through the requirement of union shops, sanitary conditions, unemployment insurance, regulation of the work week, and guidelines for investigating disputes. In March 1924, the ILGWU began negotiations for a new agreement with predominantly the Merchant Ladies' Garment Association (jobbers), but also the Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Protective Association (manufacturers) and the American Cloak and Suit Manufacturers' Association (sub-manufacturers). No agreement had been reached as of June 1924, and the union proposed to submit the issues to arbitration. With negotiations stalled, Governor Alfred E. Smith appointed a Special Advisory Commission consisting of George Gordon Battle, Bernard L. Shientag, Herbert H. Lehman, Arthur D. Wolf, and Lindsay Rogers to hold hearings and work out a basis for an agreement.
The collection contains material from the Governor's Advisory Commission during its investigation. Included are bound books containing the various and official reports that were created during and for the investigation. There are the briefs, the memorandum on behalf of the union as well as the Industrial Council, transcripts of the hearings and meetings, supplementary recommendations, and the final recommendations on May 20, 1926. Of particular interest is the extensive research done in the course of the investigation that provides a comprehensive assessment of the garment industry at that time. The reports comprise historical information, the current status of the industry, points of contention between the groups involved, the demands of reform from the union, many employment and earning statistics, wage and wage scale tables and garment output and price charts.
For supplemental information, see collection 5780/161 Cloak Joint Board Governor's Advisory Commission on the Cloak, Suit, and Skirt Industry which contains the first hearing on June 17, 1924 of the Special Commission to study the situation in the Cloak and Suit Industry and be able to offer recommendations to avert any impending strike. The hearings are in bound volumes and include June 17-19, 1924; June 20-23, 1924; June 24-July 11, 1924; July 15-August 1, 1924; August 12-October 2, 1924; and January 2-April 15, 1925.
The Hearings continue into 1925, and additionally, there is the final Report of the Investigation from March 10, 1925. There are also additional reports that were created as the result of the investigation including "Wages and Wage Scales, 1925," Final Recommendations from May 1926, the Meeting of the Special Mediation Commission in the New York Cloak and Suit Industry from March 6, 1926 (same individuals involved).
Also, additional material can be found in collection 5780/165 Governor Smith's Hearings and Arbitration Files which contains the typed transcripts from the hearings of the Special Commission appointed by Governor Smith to investigate and arbitrate the existing differences between the ILGWU and the associations of manufacturers and jobbers. Taking place at the office of the State Labor Department in New York City, the records contain hearings that date between July 15, 1924 and October 27, 1924. In the form of questions and answers between the Special Commission and the representatives of the ILGWU and manufacturers' associations, discussion focuses on the role of designers within manufacturing, conditions in the industry, the responsibility of jobbers and sub-manufacturers, and salary and wages.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers' Protective Associations (New York, N.Y.) -- Archives.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union -- Archives.
New York (State). -- Governor's Advisory Commission, Cloak, Suit and Skirt Industry, New York City -- Archives.

Subjects:
Clothing workers -- Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York.

Form and Genre Terms:
Records


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:
Governor's Advisory Commission. Cloak, Suit & Skirt Industry. #6036/009. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
5780/161: ILGWU. New York Cloak Joint Board. Advisory Commission on the Cloak, Suit, and Skirt Industry in New York records
5780/006: ILGWU. Morris Sigman correspondence
5780/165: ILGWU. Governor Smith's Hearings and Arbitration with Various Associations records
SERIES LIST

Series I. Reports, 1924-1928
Series II. Hearings, 1924-1926

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1924-1926
Contains: Original demands by the union on the Protective Association, 1924; Decisions and research of Governor's Commission, 1926-1926; Briefs and replying briefs, 1925-1926; Report of final conference with union before the strike, 1926; Arbitration in the matter of union and American Association, 1926.
Box 1 Folder 2 1925
Copy 1
Box 1 Folder 3 1925
Copy 2
Box 2 Folder 1 1925-1926
Contains: Report of an Investigation, 1925; Employment and Earnings of Workers, 1925; Memorandum in behalf of the union; Supplmentary recommentations, 1925; Wages and Wage Scales, 1925; Final recommendations, 1926.
Box 2 Folder 2 1924
Box 2 Folder 3 1924-1926
Box 2 Folder 4 1925
Box 2 Folder 5 1925
3 copies
Box 2 Folder 6 1925
Box 2 Folder 7 1926
Box 2 Folder 8 1928
Box 3 Folder 1 1924
June 18, 1924.
Box 3 Folder 2 1924
August 1, 1924.
Box 3 Folder 3 1924
October 27, 1924.
Box 3 Folder 4 1926
March 7, 1926.