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Jack Wilson

Sweatshops Yield to Pressure of ILG Pickets

21 Sportswear Manufacturers Sign Contract with Union –
Dressmakers Win 15% Wage Increase After Brief Strike

(August 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 32, 11 August 1941, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LOS ANGELES – The International Ladies Garment Workers Union here made big inroads into the sweatshops manufacturing sportswear through the militancy of its striking workers during the past week.

In addition, the dressmakers won a 15 per cent wage increase following their brief strike which began simultaneously with the sportswear walk-out. Union contracts, of course were signed again.

Over 21 shops were brought under union contract in the sportswear division during the week, when employers realized that the militant demonstrations, featuring mass picket lines, meant business.

Skirmishes on the picket line brought six false arrests as cops interfered in an effort to intimidate the strikers. Rose Pesotta, international vice-president of the ILGWU, was arrested twice in one day along with five workers, including Edith Mann, special union organizer.

The union contract includes a 5 per cent wage increase and other regular union provisions. It is the first time that this section of the clothing industry here has been organized and put under union contract.

Hundreds of workers are in the union and under contract conditions now, were previously unorganized and in open shops.

The issuance of strike benefits over the week-end brought new courage to the strikers and increased the determination to win in as many of the remaining shops as possible.

Since there are around 40 shops scattered through the city which still remain unorganized or have only a few workers on strike, a big job lies ahead for the union.

Consolidating the newly-organized workers into the union and putting teeth into the contracts looms as a vital task for the union.

However, a solid foundation now exists for full union victory over a period of time because of the tremendous steps forward resulting from the present strike.

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