By Kenneth C. Wolensky
It truly is no accident that the garment won a foothold in Pennsylvania?’s hard-coal zone as mines have been final or lowering operations. "Runaway" factories, specially ones from big apple, manage store in mining cities the place exertions was once abundant and unions scarce. by way of the Nineteen Thirties garment factories hired hundreds of thousands of better halves and daughters of unemployed or underemployed coal miners within the Wyoming Valley yet organizing employees might end up tricky for the overseas Ladies?’ Garment Workers?’ Union (ILGWU). struggling with for the Union Label tells the tale of the way staff within the Wyoming Valley, led via Min Lurye Matheson and her husband, invoice, banded jointly and equipped one of many biggest and so much activist pursuits of garment staff within the ILGWU?’s significant community. Workers?’ schooling, political activism, a well-being care heart, and a well known refrain have been one of the union?’s emblems. regardless of the union?’s impact, notwithstanding, the attire migrated to the yank South after which in a foreign country within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. Tens of hundreds of thousands of staff during the kingdom and country may unfastened their jobs, and sweatshops may turn into a part of the industrial panorama in nations like Guatemala. the 1st significant paintings at the garment and its employees in Pennsylvania, combating for the Union Label attracts largely upon the Wyoming Valley Oral historical past venture (co-directed by way of Ken and Robert Wolensky) which has accrued the recollections of greater than 325 employees, manufacturing unit vendors, public officers, and others. the tale of the dynamic Min Matheson and the increase and fall of the garment offers key insights into the deindustrialization of northeastern Pennsylvania
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Additional info for Fighting for the Union Label: The Women's Garment Industry and the Ilgwu in Pennsylvania
As a sign of their nonconformist views, Min and Bill established a household without being legally married. With Bill’s encouragement, in 1930 Min left Chicago to participate in a textile workers’ strike in Paterson, New Jersey. She then relocated to New York and associated with many people who had reputations as radicals in the needle trades. Min became acquainted with a dressmaker, Jennie Silverman, and the two formed a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Jennie recounted Min’s association with Jay Lovestone, former head of the Communist Party in the United States, as well as with Charles Zimmerman.
Max Lurye was unwaveringly loyal to the labor movement and to socialist principles. His total devotion influenced at least two of his children, Minnie and William, who both became active in the ILGWU. According to Min, as her friends and associates called her, the struggles of working people permeated the Lurye home: My father was always active in trade unions and there were always things happening in our house. Immigrants were coming and there were always meetings. We were sort of a hot spot for any ideology or any viewpoint.
32 According to one local newspaper, conditions in at least some of the region’s garment factories were far less than ideal. In 1933 Elizabeth Lynett, daughter of E. J. Lynett, prominent owner of the Scranton Times, went Wolensky Chap1 11/28/01 4:43 PM Page 36 36 Fighting for the Union Label undercover to report on working conditions, wages, and treatment of workers in apparel making. After short employment stints at Pell DiMauro Manufacturing Company and Faultless Pants Company in Scranton and Dutchess Underwear Company in Old Forge, Lynett published a series of articles that drew a vivid picture of life in the sweatshop.
Fighting for the Union Label: The Women's Garment Industry and the Ilgwu in Pennsylvania by Kenneth C. Wolensky
Categories: Labor Industrial Relations