The possibility of a strike in the New York garment industry on or about July 4 loomed large following a mass meeting held Thursday evening in the 71st Regiment Armory under the auspices of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, a right wing labor organization.
About 10,000 workers were present and received strike ballots for holding a referendum on the question of a strike. Balloting is to be continued in the shops throughout New York City during the next few days. The count is expected to be completed during the week. The cause for the strike is said to be the refusal of the employers represented by the Industrial Council, Inc. to agree to the union’s demands. The Industrial Council, instead, has insisted upon other conditions which, if agreed upon, would lead to a return in the needle industry to old sweatshop conditions, the union leaders assert.
William Green and Mathew Woll, president and vice-president of the American Federation of Labor, expressed the sympathy of their organization with the purposes of the strike. Benjamin Schlesinger, president of the union, and David, Dubinsky, acting president, were the other speakers at the mass meeting.
The Industrial Council, against which the strike is primarily directed, employs about 8,000 workers. It will, however, affect the shops of the American Cloak, Suit and Skirt Manufacturers Association, contractors, and the Merchants’ Ladies’ Garment Association, jobbers.
A meeting was called at the same time at the Manhattan Opera House under the auspices of the so-called left wing, but attendance there was very meagre. The Left mass meeting was called to protest against the planned strike of the International, the arguments against the strike being made mainly because of opposition to the Right leadership, urging that it be intrusted to the Left Wing Industrial Union.