Immigration and Naturalization
This guide provides an overview of archival collections at the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives that document the work of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) relating to immigration and naturalization. It also provides general bibliographies on these subjects, including ILGWU staff and officers' writings and congressional testimonies. Together, these resources introduce researchers to several promising starting points for research on this and related topics.
In 1900, European immigrants founded the ILGWU, and throughout its history, new generations of immigrant workers filled the union's ranks. For the early generations of ILGWU members, advocacy work on behalf of immigrants included collaborating with associated labor organizations such as the Jewish Labor Committee and the Italian American Labor Council, providing material support to allied organizations and individuals in Europe, and offering services and resources to immigrants new to the United States. These services and resources included educational courses at Unity House and in local union halls, health screenings and care at the Union Health Center and Mobile Health Units, and cooperative housing in New York City. Such educational offerings, health care clinics, and affordable apartments were established in the union's first 60 years, and they persisted-in some instances, expanded-throughout the rest of the ILGWU's existence
Though the ILGWU's interest in the welfare of its immigrant members maintained throughout the union's history-from the union's founding until its 1995 merger with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union to create UNITE-this guide focuses on archival collections from the 1970s to the 1990s. This period elucidates how the ILGWU's positions on immigration reform and undocumented workers' rights were informed, realized, and modified as the American apparel manufacturing industry continued its steady decline. The ILGWU's Immigration Project was the first of its kind in American organized labor, and the lone union named a national Qualified Designated Entity when the Immigration Reform and Control Act (1986) went into effect.
Just as significantly, these years allow a focus on the organizational and operational expansion of the union and its work, underscoring the formalization of labor-government relations on immigration issues at the local, national, and international levels. More precisely, this period includes the years leading up to the formation of the Immigration Project in 1983, the project's national expansion in 1986, the ILGWU's lobbying efforts to maintain regulation of homework, and the union's other community-building and organizing work with immigrant workers throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
The Immigration Project of the ILGWU began as a project of New York City's Local 23-25 in 1983, but it soon became clear that the work within the local union would also be beneficial to ILGWU members in other locals, elsewhere in the United States. Indeed, with the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, the ILGWU's General Executive Board convened a Task Force on Immigration to consider the role the union should take in light of the new legislation. That same year, the Task Force on Immigration recommended the formation of a national Immigration Project. Thus, Local 23-25's Immigration Project became a department within the ILGWU office, expanded to include offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.
The project was named a national Qualified Designated Entity to assist ILGWU members and their immediate families negotiate the immigration system and gain the required documentation to stay in the United States legally. In addition to providing comprehensive legal services, the Immigration Project designed educational offerings, including information on immigrants' rights under the law, civics, and English language. By the 1990s, the Immigration Project was organizing with ILGWU members and other workers to protect the rights of undocumented workers, oppose anti-immigrant ballot propositions and legislation, and support the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees.
At the Kheel Center, the records of the ILGWU document the operations of the union from 1900 to 1995. Documentation of the ILGWU's work in the field of immigration advocacy and defense from the 1970s to 1995 is relatively thin compared to other aspects of the union's work, as the Kheel Center does not hold extensive records of the Immigration Project per se. Yet, the unique work of the project is documented through the papers of ILGWU staff and officers and through the records of ILGWU departments with which the project staff interacted. Reports from the General Executive Board's special committees on immigration, reports of the Immigration Project of Local 23-25 and the Immigration Project of the international union, and the ILGWU's official organ Justice provide much of the basic information about the union's work relating to immigration and naturalization. Correspondence, memoranda, and news clippings about the Immigration Project's work are dispersed throughout the papers of ILGWU officers, especially those of Jay Mazur. The collection of statements submitted by the ILGWU between 1965 and 1995, contained in the Research Department records, document the union's stand on immigration and related issues during that period.
Researchers should also review the Immigration Project Records that constitute part of the UNITE Records, also held at the Kheel Center. Some of the materials used by the project staff when it was part of the ILGWU may have been transferred to the UNITE staff after the 1995 merger of the ILGWU with ACTWU. Indeed, Muzaffar Chishti, director of the ILGWU project, continued on as the project director after the formation of UNITE.
Rich collections at other repositories certainly will be of interest to researchers. The Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota is home to a growing archive of materials on immigration and maintains a website on additional resources. The Asian/Pacific American Archives Survey provides information on archives in the New York City metropolitan area that may be of interest.
ILGWU Collections on Immigration and Naturalization
ILGWU. General Executive Board minutes, 1913-1995
- This collection consists of reports to and meeting minutes of the General Executive Board. Of special interest are the reports of Local 23-25 and the Immigration Project.
ILGWU. Convention publications, 1904-1995
- 5780/193 PUBS
- This collection consists of reports and proceedings of the ILGWU's conventions from 1904 to 1995. Reports from the Civil Rights and Immigration Committee and the Immigration Project, special reports, or resolutions and discussions thereof provide information on the ILGWU's positions and concerns appertaining to immigration and naturalization services for its members, as well as how new legislation would affect union members and unorganized workers.
- 5780 PUBS
- This collection consists of publications of the International, departments and institutions, regional departments, district councils, local unions, and individual members and officers. The official organ of the ILGWU from 1919 to 1995, Justice and its different language editions, report on the international projects of the union, as well as reveal the ILGWU's stands on immigration. Publications by departments, institutions and other elements of the ILGWU also document how the projects and views of the union developed and changed over time.
ILGWU. Local 23-25 records, 1914-2001
- The records of Local 23-25 document the many activities and services of the union by and for its members and the community at large. Among this documentation are records of the local's Immigration Project, including newspaper clippings and publicity material, informational handouts, and records of routine operations. Additional information on the Immigration Project may be found in meeting minutes of the local's governing bodies, reports to the General Executive Board, and other documentation generated in the course of everyday work.
- In addition to these records, this collection includes material documenting Local 23-25's projects that were closely related to the Immigration Project. These include files on the Worker-Family Education Program, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and the College Textbook Scholarship Program. Also documented are the union's collaborative efforts with the city of New York and members of the Chinatown community to establish the Garment Industry Day Care Center of Chinatown.
ILGWU. Local 23-25 publications, 1968-1995
- 5780/059 PUBS
- The publications of Local 23-25 consist primarily of the union's official organ, Local 23-25 News. The newsletter featured articles on the activities of the union and its members. Researchers may find features on the local union leadership and staff, as well as operation of the local's programs and members' participation in them.
ILGWU. President's Office records, 1981-1985
- Jay Mazur was born in New York City on May 21, 1932. A graduate of the ILGWU Training Institute, Mazur began working for the ILGWU at the age of 18, beginning with organizing and educational work with Local 22 in New York City. He was Director of Organization and Education for Local 40, then Director of Organization for Local 23, before becoming Assistant Manager of the newly merged Locals 23 and 25 in 1964. From 1977 to 1983, Mazur was Manager of Local 23-25, the Blouse, Skirt and Sportswear Workers' Union. Elected General Secretary-Treasurer of the ILGWU in 1983, Mazur served in that capacity until he succeeded Sol C. Chaikin as President of the ILGWU in 1986. He served as President of the ILGWU until 1995, when it merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers of America to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE). From 1995 until his retirement in 2001, Mazur was president of UNITE. In addition to his work for the ILGWU and UNITE, Mazur served on the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, as well as the Industrial Union Department of the AFL-CIO.
- Consists of files maintained by Jay Mazur during his tenure as Secretary-Treasurer of the ILGWU. Included are correspondence and memoranda with staff at the ILGWU's departments, as well as regional departments, joint councils, and local unions. Records also include agreements and documentation relating to various investments and funds. Of special interest are files relating to Mazur's testimony of immigration legislation, collection reports and other printed material on immigration, and reports from Muzaffar Chishti, Director of the Immigration Project.
ILGWU. Jay Mazur papers, 1951-1995, bulk 1983-1995
- Consists of the papers of Jay Mazur, during his term as President of the ILGWU until its merger with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers of America to form the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE) in 1995. Included in Mazur's files are alphabetical subject files which contain correspondence, memoranda, notes, testimonies, news clippings, and other printed material on persons, organizations, and topics relating to the work of the ILGWU. Also, these papers include correspondence files, as well as records documenting Mazur's work on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and the ILGWU's General Executive Board.
- The Jay Mazur papers contain a significant body of material documenting the ILGWU's positions on and activities relating to immigration and naturalization during his tenure as President of the International. Included are Mazur's statements and remarks on immigration reform and related issues; memoranda with ILGWU staff including Immigration Project Director Muzaffar Chishti and Executive Assistant to the President James Parrott; correspondence discussing legislation and immigration rights organizations; subject files on the National Immigration Forum, National Coalition for Haitian Refugees, and the AFL-CO Immigration Committee; reports, newspaper clippings, and other printed material on immigration legislation, including the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).
ILGWU. Susan Cowell papers, 1923-2002
- In 1981, Susan Cowell began working with the ILGWU as a staff member in the Department of Organization and Field Services, designing and conducting surveys and questionnaires and organizing Korean garment workers. In September 1982, she became Assistant to the Manager of Local 23-25 Jay Mazur, and beginning in 1983, when Mazur became General Secretary-Treasurer, Cowell served as Assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer. In 1986, Cowell was Executive Assistant to the President of the ILGWU, and the next year, she was elected Vice President of the union, a position she held until the merger of the ILGWU with ACTWU to form UNITE in 1995. Prior to working for the ILGWU, Cowell worked as consultant, free-lance writer and editor, and teacher. She holds degrees from Brown University, Harvard University, and Yale University.
- This collection contains correspondence, speeches, and books of Susan Cowell during her tenure as Executive Assistant to the President and Vice President of the ILGWU. Included are files on the Immigration Project in its early years as part of Local 23-25, the Immigration Project when it was part of the International office, and the Los Angeles office of the Immigration Project.
ILGWU. Wilbur Daniels papers, 1937-1987
- Wilbur Daniels was born in Detroit in 1922. Daniels held several offices in the ILGWU over more than 40 years, including Research Association and Assistant Director of Research (1943-1950), Associate General Counsel in the Legal Department (1950-1959), Assistant to the President (1959-1961), Director of the Master Agreements Department (1965-1969?), Vice President (1969-1973), and Executive Vice-President (1973-1987). After leaving the ILGWU in 1987, Daniels was Executive Director of the S.H. and Helen R. Scheuer Foundation. He remained involved in New York City civic life, serving on the boards of the Lincoln Center, United Housing Foundation, New York Urban Coalition, and American Arbitration Association. He died in New York City in 1993.
- The Wilbur Daniels papers contain General Executive Board files, convention files, general and administrative files, and Master Agreements Department files. Included in Daniels' General Executive Board files is the Immigration Project's report to the board in 1987.
ILGWU. Legal Department records, 1921-1995
- This collection contains documentation of the ILGWU's legal activities relating to the regulation of homework and the reform of immigration law. These include training materials on immigration, as well as records of the American Bar Association Coordinating Committee on Immigration Law and the American Bar Association Labor Section Committee on Immigration.
ILGWU. David Melman papers, 1974-1992
- This collection contains the files of Executive Assistant to the President David Melman from 1974 to 1992. Included are extensive company files which contain correspondence and other materials relating to contract negotiations. Also included are records on General Executive Board meetings and ILGWU conventions, as well as general subject files. Among the convention files are reports and recommendations of the Civil Rights and Immigration Committee. Melman's papers also include subject files on immigration.
ILGWU. Operations Department. Industrial Homework records, 1986-1989
- Contains reports, comments, testimonies, and statements submitted by the ILGWU and other interested organizations and individuals concerning revisions to the federal regulation of employment of homeworkers in certain industries, proposed between 1986 and 1989.
ILGWU. Organizing Department records, 1979-1989
- Contains files on immigration policy, homework, and the ILGWU's General Executive Board Task Force on Immigration.
ILGWU. Carl Proper papers, 1975-1994
- Carl Proper was Executive Assistant to President Jay Mazur and Executive Director of Council on American Fashion.
- The papers of Carl Proper consist primarily of subject files and files on labor-management committees; they also contain memoranda and ILGWU testimony on immigration legislation, especially regarding IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act).
ILGWU. Research Department records, 1945-1995
- This collection includes statements filed by the ILGWU between 1965 and 1995.
ILGWU. Gus Tyler papers, 1956-1996
- Gus Tyler, author, commentator, educator, political leader, and official, International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU). Gus Tyler was born in New York in 1911. He attended New York University on a scholarship in the early 1930s, where he became involved in left-wing political activities. After graduating in 1933, Tyler briefly worked as a writer for the Jewish Daily Forward. His sharp intellect and socialist politics caught the attention of ILGWU president David Dubinsky, who hired Tyler to work in the union's Education Department. Tyler left the ILG after a few years to work with the Socialist Party, but returned in the late 1930s. He held a number of positions in the union and in 1945 became Assistant President, which position he held until 1989. Tyler is the author of many articles and books on labor, labor history, economics, and other topics, and for many years has hosted his own radio program on station WEVD in New York. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at a number of universities and colleges in the U.S.
- Correspondence, subject files, articles, transcripts of broadcasts, photographs, and other materials dating from the end of the 1950s to 1996. Included in this collection is correspondence with the ILGWU Immigration Project in 1990.
UNITE. Immigration Project Records
- 6000/046 and 6000/054
- Records documenting the work of the Immigration Project of UNITE, the union formed in 1995 by the merger of the ILGWU with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
UNITE. President Jay Mazur. Oral History Interview
- 6229 OHT/6229 OHM
- This collection consists of audio recordings and transcription of former Kheel Center Director Richard Strassberg's interview with Jay Mazur. Covering a wide range of issues, this interview includes Mazur's account of his time as Manager of Local 23-25, Secretary-Treasurer of the ILGWU, and President of ILGWU. Access to this collection is restricted; researchers must be granted permission to use the collection by Mr. Mazur.
Selective Bibliography of Writings by ILGWU Staff, Officers, and Affiliates
Abeles, Schwartz, Haeckel, and Silverblatt, Inc.
The Chinatown Garment Industry Study. New York: ILGWU Local 23-25 and the New York Skirt and Sportswear Association, 1983.
Chen, May Ying.
- "Reaching for Their Rights: Asian Workers in New York City" in Union Voices: Labor's Responses to Crisis. Eds. Glenn Adler and Doris Suarez. (Albany: State University of New York, 1993): 133-50.
Chen, May Ying.
- Interview. California State University, Long Beach. VOAHA The Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive. Long Beach, Calif: California State University, Long Beach, 2002.
- "Employer Sanctions against Immigrant Workers." Working USA 3:6 (April 30, 2000): 71.
- "Guest Workers in the House of Labor." New Labor Forum 13:2 (Summer 2004): 67-77.
- "The Impact of IRCA's Employer Sanctions Provisions on Workers and Workplace." In Defense of the Alien 12 (1989): 189-91.
- "The Role of States in U.S. Immigration Policy." N.Y.U. Annual Survey of American Law 58:371 (2002); 371-6.
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Census and Population of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Impact of Legalization Process on Counting Undocumented Aliens in Decennial Census, Hearing, June 1, 1987 (Serial 100-18).
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary. Extension of the Legalization Program, Hearing, March 30, 1988 (Serial 53).
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law of the Committee of the Judiciary and the Immigration Task Force of the Committee on Education and Labor. Immigration Act of 1989 (Part 3), Hearing, March 1, 1990.
Christensen, Kathleen E.
- "Organizing immigrant women in New York's Chinatown: an interview with Katie Quan" in Women and Unions: Forging a Partnership. Ed. Cobble, Dorothy Sue. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 1993.
- "Bargaining for work and family benefits" in Women and Unions: Forging a Partnership. Ed. Cobble, Dorothy Sue. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 1993.
- "Organizing for Justice: ILGWU Returns to Social Unionism to Organize Immigrant Workers." Labor Research Review 1:20 (1993): 52-61.
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Effects of Reduced Personnel in Customs Service and Immigration and Naturalization Service, Hearing, June 15, 1981 (Serial 97-10).
- "The Proposed Immigration Model: A Response from Organized Labor." In Defense of the Alien 6 (1981): 107-12.
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Census and Population of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Demographic Impact of Immigration on the United States, Hearing, June 7, 1985 (Serial 99-9).
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Census and Population of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Hispanic Immigration and Select Commission on Immigration's Final Report, Hearing, April 27, 1981 (Serial 97-16).
- Statement to the House, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law of the Committee on the Judiciary. Cuban/Haitian Adjustment, Hearing, May 9, 1984 (Serial 64).
- Memories of the 1982 ILGWU Strike in New York Chinatown. Amerasia Journal; 2009, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p75-91, 17p
Ross, Andrew, ed.
- No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade and the Rights of Garment Workers. New York: Verso, 1997.
Selective Bibliography of Secondary Sources
Anzaldua Montoya, Ricardo, and Wayne A. Cornelius.
The Report of the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy: A Critical Analysis. La Jolla: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1983.
Bach, Robert L. and Howard Brill.
Impact of IRCA on the U.S. Labor Market and Economy. [Washington, D.C.] : U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs ; [Binghamton, N.Y.] : Institute for Research on Multiculturalism and International Labor, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1991.
Baker, Susan Gonzalez.
The Cautious Welcome: The Legalization Programs of the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corp, 1990.
"Holding Up More Than Half the Sky": Chinese Women Garment Workers in New York City, 1948-1992. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001.
Bean, Frank D., Barry Edmonson, and Jeffrey S. Passel, eds.
Undocumented Migration to the United States: IRCA and the Experience of the 1980s. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 1990.
Bean, Frank D., Georges Vernez, and Charles B. Keely.
Opening and Closing the Doors: Evaluating Immigration Reform and Control. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 1989.
Immigration in New York. New York: Praeger, 1987.
Bonacich, Edna and Richard Appelbaum.
Behind the Label: Inequality in the Los Angeles Apparel Industry. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.
Immigration and American Unionism. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 2001.
Sewing Women: Immigrants and the New York City Garment Industry. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
Conference on the International Effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), and Georges Vernez.
Immigration and International Relations: Proceedings of a Conference on the International Effects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corp, 1990.
Delgado, Hector L.
New Immigrants, Old Unions: Organizing Undocumented Workers in Los Angeles. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993.
Hinojosa-Ojeda, Raul, et al.
Comprehensive Migration Policy Reform in North America: The Key to Sustainable and Equitable Economic Integration. Los Angeles: North American Integration and Development Center, UCLA, 2001.
Kennedy, Edward M.
Selected Readings on U.S. Immigration Policy and Law: A Compendium. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1980.
- Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor. New York: New Press, 1997.
Laslett, John and Mary Tyler.
The ILGWU in Los Angeles, 1907-1988. Inglewood, CA: Ten Star Press, 1989.
Library of Congress.
- History of the Immigration and Naturalization Service: A Report Prepared at the Request of Senato Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, for the Use of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, Prepared by the Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Ninety-Sixth Congress, Second Session, December 1980. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1980.
Library of Congress.
Temporary Worker Programs, Background and Issues: A Report Prepared at the Request of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, for the Use of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980.
Louie, Miriam Ching Yoon.
Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory. Boston: South End Press, 2001.
Masanz, Sharon D.
- History of the Immigration and Naturalizaton Service : a report. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1980.
Organizing Immigrants: The Challenge for Unions in Contemporary California. Ithaca, N.Y.: ILR Press, 2000.
- "Â¡SÃ Se Puede! Immigrant Workers and the Transformation of the Los Angeles Labor and Worker Center Movements." Los Angeles Public Interest Law Journal 1 (Spring 2009): 65-109.
- "Organizing Immigrant Communities: UNITE's Workers Center Strategy" in Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies. Eds. Kate Bronfenbrenner, Sheldon Friedman, Richard Hurd, Rudolph Oswald, and Ronald Seeber. Ithaca: ILR Press, 1998.
- Impossible Subjects : Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.
North, David S., and Jennifer R. Wagner.
Enforcing the Immigration Law: A Review of the Options. Washington, D.C.: Center for Labor & Migration Studies, New TransCentury Foundation, 1980.
Immigration and the Politics of American Sovereignty, 1890-1990. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Sorensen, Elaine and Frank Bean.
IRCA and Its Effects on Wages: Evidence from Current Population Surveys: Final Report. Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, 1992.
The Report of the U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy : a critical analysis. Eds. Ricardo Anzaldua Montoya and Wayne A. Cornelius.
- La Jolla: Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1983.
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986.
U.S. Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy.
U.S. Immigration Policy and the National Interest: the Staff Report of the Select Commission on Immigration
and Refugee Policy. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981.
U.S. Immigration Policy and the National Interest: Staff Report of the Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, April 30, 1981. [Washington, D.C.?]: The Select Commission, 1981.
How the Other Half Works: Immigration and the Social Organization of Labor. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
Through the Eye of the Needle. New York: New York University Press, 1986.
Immigration Policy and the Challenge of Globalization: Unions and Employers in Unlikely Alliance. Ithaca: ILR Press, 2002.
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