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Social Unionism in Action

A Union of Immigrants—A Union of Activists

As you view this exhibit, our country’s growing immigrant population poses one of its greatest problems. Scarcely a day goes by without reports of arrests, deportations or other forms of persecution aimed at immigrants. In this respect, there is no union in our labor movement that has a record of immigrant support equal to that of the ILGWU. This is no accident. Garment workers in New York City and elsewhere have been immigrants and children of immigrants for over one hundred years, and the union has reflected that fact in a variety of ways.

The ILGWU has been throughout its history a union of immigrants and a union of activists, and these facts are not unrelated. Programs of assistance and counseling for immigrants, advocating immigrant rights through lobbying in Congress and the state legislatures, conducting classes designed to enable immigrants to cope with the problems posed by living in a new environment are just a few examples. It is against this background that we present a selection of images evoking a small part of this rich history.