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Rose Pesotta

An icon of the labor movement, anarchist Rose Pesotta was hailed for her ability to mobilize workers across gender and ethnic lines. Pesotta had little formal childhood education but joined her older sister in the local anarchist underground and immigrated to America in 1913 rather than marry. She began factory work and joined the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union, creating their first education department in 1915. In 1920 she was elected to the ILGWU Local 25’s executive board. She studied at the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Workers and Brookwood Labor College from 1922–1926. In 1933 she spearheaded the Dressmakers General Strike in Los Angeles, mobilizing the Mexican workforce through Spanish language radio and newspaper ads. The following year, she was elected vice president of the ILGWU, serving from 1934–1942 but finally resigned to call attention to the lack of female leadership considering the organization’s 85% female constituency. In those eight years, she mobilized workers in Puerto Rico, Detroit, Boston, Montreal, and Salt Lake City, among many others. After her resignation, she wrote two memoirs, Bread Upon the Waters and Days of Our Lives.

Rose Pesotta, 1965
Full image
Rose Pesotta addresses the floor at the 1965 ILGWU convention, December 15, 1965.
Institution: Kheel Center, Cornell University
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Date of Death
December 4, 1965

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rose Pesotta." (Viewed on December 19, 2018) <>.


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