Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Oral History.

Collection Number: 6036/025

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Oral History., 1981-1982
Collection Number:
6036/025
Creator:
Center for Oral History at the University of Connecticut
Quantity:
0.333333333333333 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Articles, reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, photographs.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection contains copies of transcripts of oral history interviews conducted by the Connecticut Workers and Technology Project.
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).

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The collection contains the transcripts of an oral history project originally funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the Center for Oral Histories at the University of Connecticut. The Connecticut Workers and Technology Project Oral History consists of over 150 interviews, and the transcripts that are reproduced for this collection are those where the worker was employed in the garment industry. The individuals interviewed discuss their roles in the garment industry and the type of work they performed, their background and family history, and how they came to be employed in the garment industry. Many of the women interviewed enjoyed sewing and enjoyed their jobs, and also talked about raising their families as a working woman. The various roles of workers in the garment trade are examined, as well as rates, pay, the piece work system, and involvement in the ILGWU. The interviewees freely converse about their personal experiences and opinions about the industry. Because the focus of the oral history project focuses on technology, emphasis during the interviews involves the changes in technology and technique over the years that the interviewees witnessed and experienced during their work and the observation that despite some newer equipment, a garment is still sewn by an individual on a sewing machine as it has been done for years.
The individuals interviewed include: Mary Salerno (March 6, 1982) born in Sicily on January 11, 1922, came to the U.S. with her family at a young age and began working in garment factories at seventeen sewing hats, slips, and drapes for an interior designer; Josephine Carlozzi (March 6, 1982) born in the U.S. but raised in Italy not returning to the states until 1951 when she started sewing pockets and became a chairlady of the union; Margaret Costa (October 10, 1981) born in Sicily in 1908 and came to the U.S. with family in the 1920s to New York where at sixteen found work in a dress shop setting sleeves, relocated to Connecticut and found employment in the garment industry sewing coats and capes on machines; Minnie Jackson (March 3, 1982) born on January 13, 1916 in Virginia and moved frequently before settling in Connecticut and pressing men's shirts, working as a presser, packager, and sample packager; Mary Maiorani (February 24, 1982) born in Connecticut in 1918, worked all her life, first job was sewing, and joined ILGWU in 1961; Fannie Lacobelle (March 3, 1982) born April 19, 1910, interested in sewing, and did hand work and finishing on men's suits and custom tailoring; Saul Nesselroth (June 19, 1981) educated at the ILGU training institute and worked for the union for 18 years.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Carlozzi, Josephine.
Costa, Margaret.
Jackson, Minnie.
Lacobelle, Fannie.
Maiorani, Mary.
Nesselroth, Saul.
Salerno, Mary.
Connecticut Workers and Technology Project -- Archives.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union -- Archives.

Form and Genre Terms:
Oral histories


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:
Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Oral History. #6036/025. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1982
#25 R.I. 1. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Janet Nolan on March 6, 1982. 21 pages.
Box 1 Folder 2 1982
#25. R.I. 2. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Janet Nolan on March 6, 1982. 5 pages.
Box 1 Folder 3 1981
#25 R.I. 3. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Bruce Sheridan on October 10, 1981. 16 pages.
Box 1 Folder 4 1982
#25 R.I. 4. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Janet Nolan on March 3, 1982. 24 pages.
Box 1 Folder 5 1982
#25 R.I. 5. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Janet Nolan on February 24, 1982. 27 pages.
Box 1 Folder 6 1982
#25 R.I. 6. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Janet Nolan on March 3, 1982. 20 pages
Box 1 Folder 7 1981
#25 R.I. 7. Connecticut Workers and Technology Project. Interviewed by Robert Asher on June 19, 1981. 24 pages.