New York city garment workers produced 37 percent of the nation's
ready-to-wear clothing in 1900, and many of these men and women
were immigrants living and working in neighborhoods near Union
Square. The peak of employment in the industry was in 1947, when
350,000 people worked in the industry. Toward the turn of the
21st century the apparel industry is once again a gateway job
for new immigrants, and there has been a resurgence of sweatshops.
Garment unions are again organizing against these sweatshop conditions.
The city remains a fashion capital of the world, and this plaque
evokes the skills and tools at its heart.