ILGWU Retirement Certificate

Certificate of Membership in ILGWU
Certificate of Membership in ILGWU

My great-great grandfather came from Russia to the United States in 1909. He migrated to New York City with his wife, moving to the Bronx, and began his new life as a factory worker in the garment industry. In Russia, he had taken on the role of labor organizer in the small town he was from. According to family stories, my great-great grandfather was rushed in his departure from Russia due to his socialist associations, and moved to the United States as a way of escaping possible persecution in addition to looking for more opportunity. 
Almost 100 years from when he first immigrated to the United States, my grandfather and father recieved a few family documents from my great-grandfather. Of the items relating to my great-great grandfather, his only documentation was his Russian passport, a photo of him and his wife, and this card which symbolized his retirement from the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Prior to seeing this card, I never knew of his involvement with this union. As his great-great granddaughter, when putting together a picture of my family's immigration to the United States, I can understand the importance of his union membership as he was able to achieve the very thing for which he left Russia. The solidarity that he found in his Union membership defined his life but also contributed to the security of his family for generations to come. The preservation of this specific item is key to understanding my family's immigration story and how it has changed. 

Place(s): New York
Year: 1909

– Julia

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more