Jay Mazur papers

Collection Number: 6036/082

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


Jay Mazur papers, 1967-2014
Collection Number:
Mazur, Jay
3 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection contains some articles, clippings, correspondence, reports and speeches during Jay Mazur's tenure as ILGWU president and UNITE president.
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.


Jay Mazur was the last president of the ILGWU, serving from 1986 to 1995.
After graduating from high school in 1951, Mazur began work in the Health and Welfare Department of New York City's dressmaker's Local 22. In 1955, Mazur entered the ILGWU's Training Institute, a 1-year intensive program to prepare students for staff appointments in the ILGWU, and was assigned as an organizer in the Upper South Department and the New England Region. After graduation in 1956, Mazur was assigned to Local 40, where he became Director of Organization and Education.
In 1959, Mazur began working for Local 23, which later merged with Local 25 to become Local 23-25. Mazur began work as an organizer for the local in 1959, was elected as Assistant Manager in 1964, and manager in 1973. He became a Vice-President of the International in 1977. During his tenure in Local 23 and 23-25, Mazur was involved in major organizing efforts, as well as significant social and educational programs for union members. He was manager of Local 23-25 in 1982, when thousands of workers in New York City's Chinatown went on strike to win a fair contract. Under his leadership, Local 23-25 established an Immigration Project to assist members and their families with legal and related immigration issues. While working for the union, Mazur earned his an undergraduate degree in Personnel and Labor Studies from City College of New York, and later a master's degree in Labor Studies from Rutgers University.
In 1983, Mazur was elected to the International's leadership as Secretary-Treasurer, and in 1986, he was elected to succeed Sol Chaikin as President of the ILGWU. During his tenure as President, Mazur led major campaigns to stem the decline of garment manufacturing in the United States. This included the creation of the ILGWU's Professional and Clerical Employees (PACE) Division and the Metro Organizing Department, the expansion of the Immigration Project to be national in scope, and the establishment of workers centers in major metropolitan centers. Mazur served on the Executive Councils of the AFL-CIO, and the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO; in addition to his work in domestic and international labor federations, he has also served on numerous foundation boards and government commissions.
Under Mazur's leadership, the ILGUW merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers of America to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) in 1995. He served as the first president of UNITE, from 1995 until his retirement in 2001.


The collection contains some articles, clippings, correspondence, reports and speeches during Jay Mazur's tenure as ILGWU president and UNITE president. The bulk of the collection details the merger of the ILGWU with ACTWU documenting the preparations that took place between the two organizations.

Mazur, Jay.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees.

Textile industry--New York (State)
Textile workers--Labor unions--New York (State)
Clothing workers--Labor unions--New York (State)
Clothing trade--Labor unions--New York (State)

Form and Genre Terms:


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:
Jay Mazur papers #6036/082. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.


Related Collections:
5780: ILGWU records
6200: UNITE HERE Records


Box 1 Folder 1 1989-2001
Box 1 Folder 2 1980
Box 1 Folder 3 2003-2006
Box 1 Folder 4 1993-1994
Box 1 Folder 5 1990-2001
Box 2 Folder 1 1992
Box 2 Folder 2 1993
Box 2 Folder 3 1993
Box 2 Folder 4 1993
Box 2 Folder 5 1993
Box 2 Folder 6 1994
Box 2 Folder 7 1994
Box 2 Folder 8 1994
Box 2 Folder 9 1995
Box 2 Folder 10 1995
Box 2 Folder 11 1995
Box 2 Folder 12 1995
Box 2 Folder 13 1996
Box 2 Folder 14 1999
Box 2 Folder 15 2001
Box 2 Folder 16
Box 3 Folder 1
Closed until 2021
Box 4 Folder 1
Closed until 2021
Box 5 Folder 1 1967
Box 5 Folder 2 1986-2014
Box 5 Folder 3 1990
Box 5 Folder 4 1990
Box 5 Folder 5 1990-2007
Box 5 Folder 6 1992
Box 5 Folder 7 1992
Box 5 Folder 8 1993
Box 5 Folder 9 1993
Box 5 Folder 10 1994
Box 5 Folder 11 1994-2009
Box 5 Folder 12 1995
Box 5 Folder 13 1995
Box 5 Folder 14 1995
Box 5 Folder 15 1995
Box 5 Folder 16 1995-2000
Box 5 Folder 17 1995-2001
Box 5 Folder 18 1998
Box 5 Folder 19 1998
Box 5 Folder 20 1998
Box 5 Folder 21 2001
Box 5 Folder 22 2001-2004
Box 5 Folder 23 2000
Box 5 Folder 24 2002
Box 5 Folder 25 2005
Box 5 Folder 26 2007
Box 5 Folder 27 2009
Box 5 Folder 28 2010
Box 5 Folder 29 2012
Box 5 Folder 30
Box 5 Folder 31