You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Women's Trade Union League (WTUL)

Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca

Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca made huge strides for worker’s rights as a union leader and through civil service.

Rose Schneiderman

The first woman elected to national office in a labor union and the only woman on FDR’s National Recovery Administration Labor Advisory Board, Rose Schneiderman transformed the lives of American workers.

Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Bessie Abramowitz devoted her life to unions, organizing her first strike at fifteen, announcing her engagement on a picket line, and continuing her efforts for workers’ rights until her death.

"We Have Found You Wanting:" Labor Activism and Communal Responsibility

A Jewish immigrant activist and a lifelong advocate for the rights of workers and of women, Rose Schneiderman shaped the American labor movement. Known as a powerful orator, Schneiderman used her speeches—such as the one she delivered in April, 1911 to protest the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire—to galvanize leaders and ordinary citizens to action on behalf of workers, immigrants, and other disadvantaged members of society. This Go & Learn guide uses Schneiderman's speech and life example to explore our communal and individual responsibilities for the well being of others in our midst.

Eleanor Pearlson, 1921 - 2010

Eleanor D. Pearlson, the realty firm Tea Lane Associates’ cofounder who personally helped thousands of people to fall in love with the Island [of Martha's Vineyard] and sink roots here, died peacefully at her home in Chilmark on Dec. 22. She was 89.

Remembering the Uprising of the 20,000

On a cold November morning onehundred years ago today, more than 20,000 immigrant workers--mostly young Jewishwomen--took to the streets of the lower east side of New York, kicking off aneleven-week general strike of the shirtwaist industry knows as the Uprising ofthe 20,000.

Triangle Waist Factory fire

March 25, 1911

A fire in the Triangle Waist Factory killed 146 workers, mostly young Jewish and Italian women, sparking a wave of labor activism and factory reform legislation.

Pauline Newman

Pauline Newman was a labor pioneer and a die-hard union loyalist once described by a colleague as “capable of smoking a cigar with the best of them.” The first woman ever appointed general organizer by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), Newman continued to work for the ILGWU for more than seventy years—first as an organizer, then as a labor journalist, a health educator, and a liaison between the union and government officials.

Hortense Powdermaker

Hortense Powdermaker explored the balance of involvement and detachment necessary for participant-observer fieldwork in cultural anthropology, stressing the ability to “step in and out of society.” Her secular Jewish identity was apparently a factor in learning this skill, exemplified in an academic career that included thirty years of college teaching and the writing of five major books based on widely diverse fieldwork studies.

Labor Movement in the United States

Jewish American women have played a central role in the American labor movement since the beginning of the twentieth century. As women, they brought to trade unions their sensibilities about the organizing process and encouraged labor to support government regulation to protect women in the workforce. As Jews who emerged from a left-wing cultural tradition, they nurtured a commitment to social justice, which would develop into what is often called “social unionism.” From their position as an ethnic and religious minority, as well as from their position as women, they helped to shape the direction of the mainstream labor movement.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women's Trade Union League (WTUL)." (Viewed on July 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/womens-trade-union-league-wtul>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs