David Dubinsky, one of the immigrant Jews who led the successful fight four decades ago to end sweat-shop conditions in American industry, resigned yesterday as President of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The 74-year-old Jewish labor leader had led the 447, 000-member ILGWU for 34 years.
Born in Brest Litovsk, Russia, Dubinsky became a master baker at 15 and was elected assistant secretary of the baker’s union. Within a year, he was arrested for union activity and exiled to Siberia. He escaped and made his way to Russian Poland and from there boarded ship for the United States. After working at a variety of menial jobs in New York City he joined the Cutters Local of the then 11-year-old ILGWU, rising steadily to the presidency.
During his 34 years, the union made many notable gains including the first garment industry pact for a 35-hour week, the first employer-contributed fund for worker vacations, health and welfare funds, retirement funds and severance pay.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.