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Unions

Joyce D. Miller, 1928 - 2012

Joyce Dannen Miller was born in Chicago on June 19, 1928. Her father ran a dry goods store and her mother was a teacher at a school for the deaf, mute, and blind. While in school at the University of Chicago, she worked in a gumball factory, which brought her into the bakery and confectionery workers’ union. By the early 1970s, she had made a name for herself setting up the “Rolls Royce of day care centers” through the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Chicago.

Rose Finkelstein leads successful strike

April 20, 1919

Rose Finkelstein leads 8,000 women in successful six-day strike against New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.

Labor History Landmark: No. 4 The International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union Headquarters

The Top 11 Labor History Landmarks in New York City is a blog series on Jewesses with Attitude created in honor of Women's History Month and the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Waist Factory fire. Learn more about the series here, or check out JWA's online walking tour.

10 Things You Should Know About Fannia Cohn

  1. Fannia Cohn, born in 1885, grew up in a well-to-do family in what was the western part of the Russian empire:  Kletzk, now part of Belarus. She was educated at home, and by the time she was 15, she was involved in secret revolutionary activities.

  2. Just before turning 20, she and her brother immigrated to the U.S. aided by wealthy relatives who were already here. Fannia’s first job in the U.S. was with the American Jewish Women’s Committee helping other Jewish women arriving at Ellis Island.

10 Things You Should Know About Pauline Newman

Born in Kovno, Lithuania, in 1890, Pauline Newman was barred from the local public school because she was Jewish. As a girl, her opportunities for a Jewish education were limited. Her father tutored well-to-do boys in Talmud; he eventually allowed her to attend Sunday classes, where she learned to read and write both Yiddish and Hebrew. The obstacles she faced in getting an education motivated her to fight for gender equality later in her life.

10 Things You Should Know About Clara Lemlich

When Clara Lemlich was growing up in the Ukraine, her religious parents did not want their daughter learning Russian, the language of an antisemitic empire. But the strong minded girl was drawn to Russia’s literary masters—Tolstoy, Gorky, and Turgenev—and to the revolutionary literature being written in Russian. She took on odd jobs—sewing buttons, teaching folk songs, writing letters for illiterate women—to pay for Russian lessons and later for books she kept hidden from her family.

10 Things You Should Know About Bessie Abramowitz Hillman

Born in 1889, Bessie Abramowitz Hillman grew up in the Russian empire, in the city of Grodno, now part of Belarus. When she was 15, she immigrated to America “to escape a marriage broker,” she later said. She settled in Chicago, where she had distant relatives. She was soon involved in the fight for better wages and working conditions.

10 Things You Should Know About Rose Schneiderman

Born in 1882 into a devout Jewish family in Saven, Poland, Rose Schneiderman was raised from an early age to believe she was capable of doing anything a man could do. Her parents enrolled her in a Jewish school at the age of four. Two years later, the family moved to the city of Chelm so that Rose could attend a Russian public school and receive an excellent secular education.

10 Things You Should Know About Rose Pesotta

Rakhel Peisoty, who later changed her name to Rose Pesotta, was born in 1896 in a Ukrainian railroad town that was then part of the Russian Empire. Even as a child, she had the passionate convictions that would guide her later life as a labor activist and anarchist. Rose’s older sister, who belonged to an underground anarchist group, encouraged her to read the works of social revolutionaries. Rose attended a school for girls that taught a standard Russian curriculum, while offering secret lessons in Jewish history and Hebrew.

"It's up to us to save ourselves"

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.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Unions." (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/unions>.

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