"Newly arrived in New York in 1882 from Tsarist Russia, the sixteen-year-old Bernard Weinstein discovered an America in which unionism, socialism, and anarchism were very much in the air. He found a home in the tenements of New York and for the next fifty years he devoted his life to the struggles of fellow Jewish workers. The Jewish Unions in America blends memoir and history to chronicle this time. It describes how Weinstein led countless strikes, held the unions together in the face of retaliation from the bosses, investigated sweatshops and factories with the aid of reformers, and faced down schisms by various factions, including Anarchists and Communists. He co-founded the United Hebrew Trades and wrote speeches, articles and books advancing the cause of the labor movement. From the pages of this book emerges a vivid picture of workers' organizations at the beginning of the twentieth century and a capitalist system that bred exploitation, poverty, and inequality. Although workers' rights have made great progress in the decades since, Weinstein's descriptions of workers with jobs pitted against those without, and American workers against workers abroad, still carry echoes today. The Jewish Unions in America is a testament to the struggles of working people a hundred years ago. But it is also a reminder that workers must still battle to live decent lives in the free market. For the first time, Maurice Wolfthal's readable translation makes Weinstein's Yiddish text available to English readers. It is essential reading for students and scholars of labor history, Jewish history, and the history of American immigration."--Publisher's description.
Introduction / Maurice Wolfthal -- The First Jewish Immigrants in the United States -- How the Jewish Immigrants of the 1880s Earned a Living -- The First Jewish Workers in the American Trade Unions -- The First "Radicals" Among the Jewish Immigrants of the 1880s and the Beginning of the Jewish Labor Movement in America -- The Strange Case of Comrade Wolf -- Hymie "the American" -- The First Jewish Theater Choristers' Union -- The Jewish Actors' Union -- The Yiddish Varieties -- The Jewish Typesetters' Union -- The Founding of the United Hebrew Trades of New York -- How We Organized Strikes -- The Panic of 1893 and the First Splits Within the Jewish Labor Movement -- The Schism in the Socialist Labor Party -- The First Years of the Jewish Labor Movement in Philadelphia -- The Beginning of the Jewish Labor Movement in Chicago -- The Unions of the Cap and Millinery Trade -- The Millinery Trade and the Union -- The History of the Tailors in the Men's Clothing Industry -- The Struggle of the Tailors' Union Against the Plague of the "Open Shops" -- The Custom Tailors' Union -- The Story of the Knee-Pants Makers' Union -- The Union of the Children's Jacket Makers -- The Union of the Basted Children's Jacket Pressers -- The Union of the Unbasted Children's Jacket Makers -- The Pants Makers' Union of New York -- The Vest Makers' Union in New York -- The Shirt Makers' Union -- The Great Garment Workers' Strike of 1913 in New York -- How the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Was Founded -- The Women's Garment Unions in America -- The Jamaica Incident and Other Trials -- The Cloak Makers' Unions in Other Cities -- The First Jewish Unions of Waist Makers, Wrapper Makers, Buttonhole Makers, Embroidery Workers, and Other Ladies' Garment Workers -- The Birth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union -- The Strike of 300 Skirt Makers Against the Firm of John Bonwit in 1905 -- The Industrial Workers of the World Also Founds a Cloak Makers' Union -- The Reefer Makers' Strike of 1907 -- The Historic General Strike of the 18,000 Waist Makers in 1909 -- The Great Cloak Makers' Strike of 1910 and the Founding of the Largest Jewish Union -- The First Years After the Strike -- The General Strike of the Cleveland Cloak Makers in 1911 -- The Triangle Fire -- The Protocol of the New York Ladies' Waist and Dress Makers' Union of 1913 -- The General Strike of the Wrapper, Kimono, and Housedress Makers and the White Goods Workers of 1913 -- The Hourwich Affair and the First Civil War in the Cloak Makers' Union -- The Organizing Work of the ILGWU in Other Cities from 1915 to 1919 -- The Breaking of the Protocol and the Strikes of 1916, 1919, and 1921 -- The General Strike of the Dress Makers in 1923 -- The Ladies' Tailors' Union of New York -- The Raincoat Workers' Union -- The Struggle with the Communists in the Joint Action Committee -- The General Strike of 1926 and the Expulsion of the Communists -- The Rebirth of the Cloak Makers' Union -- The Jewish Bakers' Unions -- The 1927 Bakers' Strike Against Two Big Firms, Pechter and Messing -- The Jewish Bakers' Unions in Other Cities -- The Furriers' Union -- The Founding of the International Fur Workers' Union -- The Union of Jewish Painters -- The Pocketbook Makers' Union -- The Suitcase Workers' Union -- The Trunk Makers' Union -- The Neckwear Makers' Union -- The Union of Cleaners and Dyers -- The Union of Mattress and Bed Spring Makers -- The Seltzer Workers' Union of New York -- The Union of Clerks and Retail Dress-Goods Stores -- The Union of Grocery Clerks -- The Union of Jewish Waiters -- The Union of Paper Box Makers -- The Union of Jewish Barbers -- The Union of Jewish Shoemakers -- The Union of Jewish Tin Workers -- The Union of Jewelry Workers -- The Union of Butcher Workers -- The Union of Jewish Newspaper Writers in New York -- The Union of Jewish Bookbinders -- The Jewish Laundry Workers (The Steam Laundry Workers' Union) -- The Union of Wet-Wash Laundry Drivers -- The Pressers of Old Shirts in Hand Laundries -- The Union of Jewish Inside Iron Workers -- The Union of Jewish Furniture Drivers -- The Union of Workers with Live and Kosher-Slaughter Fowl -- The Little Unions -- The Disappeared Unions -- The New Generation of Jewish Workers in America -- The Jewish Carpenters and Wood Workers -- Jewish Plumbers -- Jewish Moving Picture Operators -- Jewish Bricklayers, Masons, and Plasterers -- Jewish Metal Workers and Machinists -- Jewish Workers in Radio and Aviation -- Jewish Drivers of Cars and Taxis -- Conclusion
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