Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union Printed Ephemera Collection
Language of Materials
The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) Printed Ephemera Collection is an artificial collection, collected and assembled by the Tamiment Library over the course of several decades. ACTWU was formed in 1976, when the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) and the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) merged. In addition to contracts and agreements, there is a small amount of printed ephemera from the ACTWU including, fliers, brochures and pamphlets having to do with a range of subjects including sexual harassment, occupational safety and the strike and nationwide boycott of J.P. Stevens. There are also a number of bibliographies put out by the ACTWU Research Department. The collection, however, largely consists of material from the ACWA and the TWUA and is made up of printed ephemera such as fliers, brochures, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets from these two unions. Included are files on the 1972 strike at the Farah Company, a clothing manufacturer in Texas, correspondence courses that were taught in the 1940s, fliers of early organizing drives throughout the country and advertisements and fliers on the union label campaign.
The Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) was formed in 1976 when the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) and the Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) merged. The ACWA was formed in 1914 as a break away union from the United Garment Workers. Sydney Hillman was an influential leader of the Union and served as president for thirty years. The TWUA was formed out of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1939 and was established largely as a project of the CIO to organize southern textile workers. In 1995, the ACTWU joined with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile employees, also known as UNITE. UNITE went on to merge with the Hotel Employees and Hospital Employees Union, to form UNITE HERE in 2004.
The collection is arranged into three series: Series I: Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), 1976-2000; Series II: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, 1910-1977; Series III: Textile Workers Union of America, 1939-1988. Folders are arranged alphabetically within series.
Scope and Content Note
The Amagamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union Printed Ephemera Collection consists of contracts, agreements, constitutions and reports, as well as printed ephemera such as fliers, circular letters, newspapers clippings, pamphlets and publications.
Series I: Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), 1976-2000, largely consists of collective bargaining agreements and contracts originating at the national, regional and local level. Also included in this series is printed ephemera such as fliers, brochures, newspaper clippings and pamphlets. This printed matter covers a wide range of topics having to do with the Union's policy on sexual harassment and workplace safety, but also documents the strike and nationwide boycott of the J.P. Stevens Corporation that took place in 1976. Included in the collection is material from various departments of the ACTWU, notably the Education Department and the Research Department. From the Education Department, there are songbooks, member's kits, guides to running union meetings, and film guides. The Research Department produced a highly informative bibliography on works pertaining to the ACTWU and its predecessor unions, including archival collections and oral histories. Also represented in this series is material on Threads, a humanities project organized through the Social Services Department of ACTWU and established by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Threads provides labor education and history for union members through informative program and discussion guides; several of these guides are included in this series.
Series II: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA), 1910-1977, contains fliers, brochures, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and publications from the ACWA at the national, regional and local level. Included in this series are illustrated Almanacs, telling the history of the ACWA, commemorative volumes, fliers on early organizing drives through the country, advertisements and other material documenting the Union Label campaign, and a number of photocopied letters dating from 1919-1923 written by manufacturers addressed to workers against the organizing efforts of the ACWA. Several of the ACWA departments, including the National Education Department, the Department of Cultural Activities, and the Research Department are represented in the collection. The National Education Department, sometimes also simply called the Education Department, published informative "how to" publications on conducting union meetings, running a mimeograph machine, and establishing a local educational program. Also included are pamphlets on Soviet Russia, internationalism, the open shop movement, as well as on the history of trade unionism generally and on organizing clothing workers more specifically. The National Education Department also produced a collected sampling of leaflets for use in local organizing campaigns. In 1937 and again in 1957, the Research Department published a directory of manufacturers working in agreement with the Union, which provided consumers with assistance on how to buy and shop for "Union Made" products. Included in this series from the Department of Cultural Activities are several plays produced by the Department as well as a published volume of letters sent to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in support of his 1940 bid for presidency and selected through the "Write-a-Letter-for-Roosevelt" contest. Also in the 1940s, the ACWA offered a set of correspondence courses to its membership. Courses were taught on writing, democracy, labor history, and collective bargaining, among other topics; the curriculum for each course is included in this series. Aside from printed material generated by the ACWA at the national level and through its departments, there are also fliers, brochures, pamphlets and publications from the Regional and Joint Boards of the ACWA as well as locals from around the country, including a number a beautifully decorated pictorial history books.
Series III: Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA), 1939-1988, contains agreements, contracts, constitutions, convention proceedings and reports as well as printed ephemera such as fliers, brochures, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and other publications produced largely by the TWUA at the national level through its various departments, but there is also some material from locals. The Education Department of the TWUA produced guides on stewardship, running union meetings, consumer activism, organizing members, and how to finance a college education. Also published by the Education Department are songbooks, bibliographies, reports and course outlines for worker education. The collection consists of several fliers showcasing the TWUA's support of democratic candidates for president. There are also materials highlighting some of the internal struggles for leadership that took place in the Union in the early 1950s. The TWUA struggled to organize textile workers in the southeast United States, pamphlets put out in 1950s and 1960s highlighting the Union's stance on this issue are included in this series. Also included in this series are several informative pamphlets on the difficulty of organizing under Taft-Hartley and the history of the TWUA, as well as a polemic against the 1948 Henry A. Wallace bid for presidency citing charges of communism, and a guide to buying and shopping for union made goods.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this collection have been compiled by the Tamiment Library. A portion of the collection was part of the Sidney Hillman Collection donation from the New School Library in 1990. There is no accession record associated with this collection.
The provenance of the materials is varied. Items were obtained through purchases, donations, standing orders with publishers, arrangements with labor unions and other organizations, exchanges with other libraries, and through ongoing collecting by Tamiment staff. A significant portion of the material in Series II, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America is stamped from the Hillman Memorial Collection.