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The Kheel Center ILGWU Collection

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Archive Transcript: Minutes

Minutes from the First ILGWU Meeting

New York, June 3, 1900

The first national convention of Cloakmakers, called by the United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers, No. 1 of New York and Vicinity, was held on Sunday, June 3, 1900, at Labor Lyceum, 64 East 4th Street, New York City. At 10 A.M. the meeting was called to order by B. Braff. The following temporary officers were elected: B. Braff of New York, Chairman and M. Silverman of Baltimore, Secretary. The temporary Chairman in his opening address declared that the Cloakmakers of New York had come to the conclusion that in order to improve the conditions of the working people in the trade it is imperative that besides having local organizations in their respective cities the cloakmakers should be united the whole country over. To this end the convention has been called by the New Yorkers.

After the chaiman had concluded his remarks, credentials were presented and the following delegates were seated.

Cloakmakers Protective Union of Philadelphia, Goldberg and Salat

United Cloak Pressers of Philadelphia, Schwartz and Schweiger

Cloakmakers' Union of Baltimore, Silverman

United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York and Vicinity: Braff, Grossman, & Leibner

Newark Cloakmakers Union, Leibowitz (2 delegates absent)

Skirt Makers Union of New York, Pulman & London

The meeting then proceeded with the nomination and election of permanent chairman and Secretary of the convention. Brother Goldberg, of Philadelphia, was duly elected chairman and Brother Braff of New York, Secretary. Comrade J. Barondess greeted the convention. In his speech he demonstrated the importance of an International Union and declared that at the first convention a corner-stone would be laid for the sacred edifice of unity in the Cloakmaking trades, and he expressed hope that the enterprise would bear good fruit in the future. Next after him Mr. Robinson, Organizer of the A.F. of L., addressed the convention and gave valuable advice as to the way of forming an international union.

The following order of business for the day was then duly adopted.

  1. Reports of delegates?
  2. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject of whether an International ought to be organized?
  3. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject on the name for such an International?
  4. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject of dues to be paid by the Locals to the International?
  5. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject, shall a Union Label be introduced?
  6. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject, what classes of Local Unions shall be admitted?
  7. Informal expression of opinion and motions on the subject of affiliation with a national organization of labor
  8. Informal expression of opinion and motions, on the subject, Should an organizer be engaged?
  9. Informal expression of opinion and motions, on the subject of the publication of a journal.
  10. Nomination for and election of officers and Executive Board.

The first point was next taken up. The delegates of the Philadelphia Protective Union reported that they were instructed in favor of an International Union. United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York reported that they numbered three to four thousand members in good standing, and that they were instructed in favor of an international union. Cloak Pressers of Philadelphia, that they are well organized, have no instructions. Baltimore Cloak Makers Union, instructed in favor of forming an International Union. Skirt Makers of New York and Newark Cloakmakers Union, instructed in favor of an International.

At 12:30 recess was taken. At 2 P.M. the convention reconvened. A credential was presented from Brownsville Cloakmakers for delegate Ginsburg, who was duly admitted. The second point came up for discussion. After considerable deliberation a motion to form an International Union unanimously carried. Moved and seconded the name of the organization shall be "International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union", carried. Moved, seconded and carried, each local shall be taxed $10.00 for a preliminary fund. In the future due stamps shall be provided by the Executive Board of the International for all locals, and the locals shall pay the International for the stamps at the rate of one cent a piece. These stamps shall be sold by the locals to their members as weekly due stamps. Moved, seconded and carried to issue a label. The Executive Board instructed to attend to this.

Moved, seconded and carried, that all unions in the ladies' garment trade shall be eligible to admission.

Resolved by unanimous vote to join the American Federation of Labor. The question in regard to an organizer left to the Executive Board.

The subject of a journal was next taken up. Opinions were expressed that the existing Yiddish publications take little interest in trade unions and that the convention was poorly advertised in the same. Moved, seconded and carried to call upon the labor periodicals and request them to publish all reports and announcements of the International Union. The following appointed a committee for that purpose: Braff, Silverman, and Grossman. Nominations for and election of officers was next proceeded with. Elected: H. Grossman, New York, President; B. Braff, New York, Secretary & Treasurer. Brother Braff volunteered to serve his term without any compensation and promised to furnish the necessary books. A vote of thanks was unanimously carried.

Executive board: Silverman of Baltimore; Salat, Schweiger and Schwartz of Philadelphia and Leibowitz of Newark. Resolved, that the President be authorized to require security of the Secretary, whenever in his judgment it may become necessary. Moved, seconded, and carried to request the United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York to permit the Secretary-Treasurer Braff to have a desk in their office. Braff, Silverman and London were appointed a committee with power to draw a set of resolutions. A resolution introduced by comrade Barondess against certain scabs, referred to the United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York. Motion carried, to submit the actions of the convention to a referendum vote of the locals composing the International Union, and to request them to send to send [sic] their reports of their votes upon all subjects decided by this convention, not later than within fourteen days. Closing exercises then followed: All delegates expressed great satisfaction with the formation of the International Union and pledged their best efforts to the advancement of the new body.

The United Brotherhood of Cloakmakers of New York tendered to the delegates an invitation to an entertainment. Amid universal enthusiasm the convention adjourned sine die.