Unions

Content type
Collection

Ruth Gay

Through her writing, Ruth Glazer Gay captured an engaging view of the Jewish community, both past and present. As a writer, journalist, and archivist, she demonstrated throughout her life the possibility of having an intellectually vibrant career while still accommodating marriage and motherhood.

Sandra Feldman

Sandra Feldman dedicated her career to protecting the rights of educators as the first woman president of both New York City’s Union Federation of Teachers (UFT) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

Mary Fels

Mary Fels used her wealth and her talents to further the Zionist cause, arguing passionately for a Jewish state and helping create both settlements and industry in Israel. Both Fels and her husband, a successful soap manufacturer, felt their wealth gave them a responsibility to reform capitalism and use their money for philanthropy.

Eastern European Immigrants in the United States

Forty-four percent of the approximately two million Jewish immigrants who arrived in the United States between 1886 and 1914 were women. Although these women were more politically active and autonomous than other immigrant women, dire economic circumstances constricted their lives. The hopes these immigrant women harbored for themselves were often transferred to the younger generation.

Esther Dischereit

Esther Dischereit, a German-Jewish writer living in Berlin, speaks for the second and third generation of children of Holocaust survivors. Her prolific production covers all genres, including prose, poetry, sound installations, and concept art. She uses her many talents to fight anti-semitism and racism and to give a voice to the persecuted and forgotten.

Fannia M. Cohn

Fannia M. Cohn was one of the leading Jewish women trade union activists in the United States. Drawing on her Russian Jewish cultural traditions, she pioneered the development of educational programs within the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU).

Rose Gollup Cohen

In her short life, Rose Gollup Cohen was a unionized factory worker and a domestic servant, was helped through an illness by Lillian Wald, became educated, and wrote short stories. Her moving 1918 autobiography Out of the Shadow offers a vivid account of her life as an immigrant Jewish woman in the sweatshops of New York.

Rose Chernin

Ambivalent about Judaism, passionately Marxist, charismatic, andcourageous, Rose Chernin devoted a great deal of her life to securing the rights of disenfranchised citizens: the unemployed of the Depression, farm workers without a union, black home buyers thwarted by redlining, and other foreign-born leftists, like herself, who faced deportation in the 1950s. 

Bund

Jewish women played leading roles in the formative years of the General Jewish Workers’ Bund, which was established in the Tsarist Empire in 1897, and initially participated in the movement in large numbers. However, the Bund had somewhat less success in mobilizing women in independent Poland between the two world wars than it had during the Tsarist era.

Aline Bernstein

Aline Bernstein was one of the first theatrical designers in New York to make sets and costumes entirely from scratch and craft moving sets. She designed sets for the Theatre Guild and various independent producers, winning numerous awards for her work, including a Tony for costume design for Regina in 1949. She later founded the Costume Museum and began writing fiction.

Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca

Born in Latvia before immigrating to Baltimore as a child, Dorothy Jacobs Bellanca was one of America’s most remarkable women’s labor leaders. An outstanding union organizer and a captivating speaker, Bellanca understood the problems of the working class—people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds—and sought to improve conditions for workers.

Anarchists, American Jewish women

The anarchist movement was based on a struggle against the tyranny of capitalism, on social equality and individual liberty, and on the promotion of positive communitarian ideals. American Jewish women were at the forefront of this movement and were active participants in labor organization.

Ray Alexander (Simons)

Ray Alexander began her involvement in communist and trade unionist organizations as a child in Latvia. After moving to South Africa as a teen, Alexander became a prominent organizer for several trade unions and faced banning and harassment from the government for her activism. She continued advocating for women’s rights, worker’s rights, and racial equality throughout her life.

Rubber workers, anarchists, and little Jewish ladies

Judith Rosenbaum

I was reading today about Rose Pesotta, a veteran unionorganizer with the ILGWU, who in February of 1936 went to Akron, Ohio to helpworkers striking at the Goodyear Rubber factory. She was sent to raise supportfor the strike among the workers' wives and daughters, but she was alsosuccessful in connecting with the workers themselves, ultimately helping to endthe strike with a negotiated settlement.

Topics: Labor Rights, Unions

Labor Day

Judith Rosenbaum

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which for some reason in this country is a time to barbeque, shop, and maybe spend one last weekend at the beach. Labor Day has come to mean the end of summer, rather than a day to consider and celebrate the role of workers in building and sustaining this country.

Topics: Labor Rights, Unions, Law

The Little Engine that Could

Judith Rosenbaum

Every day, I look at the poster of labor activist Rose Schneiderman in my office, and I draw inspiration from the stories of Jewish women who shook up the American labor movement in the early 20th century. So it was with both sadness and interest that I read the obituary of labor lobbyist Evelyn Dubrow last night.

Topics: Labor Rights, Unions

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