Unions

Content type
Collection

"It's up to us to save ourselves"

Leah Berkenwald

Yesterday, Rabbi Jill Jacobs published an op-ed at ReligionDispatches.org that connects the labor struggles of the past with those of the present, using the words of labor organizer Rose Schneiderman to inspire us today.

Topics: Labor Rights, Unions

Sophie Gerson, 1910 - 2006

In her later years, Sophie was a tireless activist with the National Council of Senior Citizens, fighting for universal health care and defense of Social Security. A woman of charm and passion, she developed ties with a range of local activists, including nuns and other local Catholics.

Eleanor Pearlson, 1921 - 2010

She was known equally for her generosity and her strong will, her enthusiasm and her temper, her warmth and her keen business sense. She might greet you or grill you, but chances were if you needed help with something on Martha’s Vineyard, she had the answer.

Evelyn Dubrow, 1911 - 2006

Ninety-five years was not long enough for us to enjoy [her] passion, wit, commitment to justice, and love of life.

Imagining the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire

Hasia Diner

What is about this fire that draws us so intensely? Why has this one event become such a touchstone for political, artistic, and cultural work?  How do we explain the nearly one hundred years of memorialization, activism, and creativity inspired by the events which transpired on March 25, 1911 at 29 Washington Place, just east of New York’s stately Washington Square?

Topics: Labor Rights, Unions

Justine Wise Polier

An outspoken activist and a "fighting judge," Justine Wise Polier was the first woman Justice in New York. For 38 years she used her position on the Family Court bench to fight for the rights of the poor and disempowered. She strove to implement juvenile justice law as treatment, not punishment, making her court the center of a community network that encompassed psychiatric services, economic aid, teachers, placement agencies, and families.

Emma Goldman

Emma Goldman dedicated her life to the creation of a radically new social order. Convinced that the political and economic organization of modern society was fundamentally unjust, she embraced anarchism for the vision it offered of liberty, harmony and true social justice. For decades, she struggled tirelessly against widespread inequality, repression and exploitation.

Remembering the Uprising of the 20,000

Judith Rosenbaum

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.

Clara Lemlich sparks "Uprising of the 20,000"

November 22, 1909

“I am one of those who suffers from the abuses described here, and I move that we go on a general strike.” Thus, in Yiddish, 23-year-old Clara Lemlich addressed a crowd of thousands of restless laborers at New York City’s Cooper Union on November 22, 1909.

"Something Rotten in America"

June 27, 1931

Labor economist Theresa Wolfson was the principal speaker at the opening of the Barnard College Summer School for Women Workers in Industry.

Execution of Ethel Rosenberg

June 19, 1953

Although they were tried and executed more than half a century ago, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg's names remain familiar to most Americans.

Activist Clara Shavelson leads butcher shop boycott

May 27, 1935

On May 27, 1935, New York City women, organized as the City Action Committee Against the High Cost of Living, picketed butcher shops to demand a reduction in the price of meat.

Labor leaders announce their engagement at May Day Parade

May 1, 1916

Born in Russia in 1889, Bessie Abramowitz Hillman immigrated to Chicago at age 15 to escape an arranged marriage.

Triangle Waist Factory fire

March 25, 1911

Approximately 500 workers were making ladies blouses at the Triangle Waist Company's factory near Washington Square in Lower Manhattan when fire broke out on March 25, 1911.

Labor activist Rose Pesotta organizes in Akron, Ohio

February 25, 1936

In 1936, in the midst of nationwide union organizing drives, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) se

Judge Justine Wise Polier retires

February 3, 1973

Building on the legacy of her parents, labor activist and rabbi Stephen Wise and social reformer Louise Waterman Wise, Justine Wise Polier spent four decades on the New York City Family Court working for the rights of children before retiring on February 3, 1973.

Sandra Feldman elected UFT President

January 8, 1986

When Sandra Feldman declared that "Just because kids are poor, and maybe come from uneducated parents, and live in an urban setting, doesn't mean

Lillian D. Wald

Guided by her vision of a unified humanity, Lillian D. Wald passionately dedicated herself to bettering the lives and working conditions of immigrants, women, and children. She founded the Henry Street Settlement in New York City and initiated America’s first public-school nursing program. A talented activist and administrator, Wald’s pathbreaking work continues to be memorialized.

Uprising of 20,000 (1909)

On November 23, 1909, more than twenty thousand Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history.

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

One of the worst industrial disasters in the history of New York City, causing 146 deaths and an unknown number of injuries, took place on Saturday, March 25, 1911, at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.

Teaching Profession in the United States

Through Jewish educational organizations, Jewish schools, and public schools, female Jewish teachers have played an important role in shaping the North American teaching profession. Over the last 150 years, American Jewish women have been drawn to teaching in both public and Jewish schools by a multitude of factors.

Socialism in the United States

Disproportionate numbers of Jewish immigrant women in America were associated with socialism in the first decades of the twentieth century. Their radicalism appears to have grown out of the same sources as male radicalism—the changes experienced by the Jewish community in late nineteenth-century Europe and America, including proletarianization and the secularization of Jewish religious values. But Jewish working women’s radical consciousness and their militant collective action in America emerged in the face of extraordinary obstacles.

Rose Schneiderman

For nearly half a century, Rose Schneiderman worked tirelessly to improve wages, hours, and safety standards for American working women.

Ethel Rosenberg

Few Jewish American women evoke as varied and passionate a response as Ethel Rosenberg. Convicted and executed on June 19, 1953, with her husband Julius Rosenberg, for conspiracy to divulge atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, Rosenberg was only the second woman in the United States to be executed by the federal government.

Rose Pesotta

Known primarily as one of the first female vice presidents of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), Pesotta saw her union organizing as an opportunity to fulfill the anarchist mandate “to be among the people and teach them our ideal in practice.”

Subscribe to Unions

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox