Early 20th century, embroidery on sateen, metal wound fringe and trim
Donation of the UNITE Ontario Council
Garment workers’ banners were intended to exhibit the skill of a unionized workforce. This banner representing the Journeymen Tailors Union of America (JTUA) is a perfect example.
One of the first significant steps towards garment workers organizing in the 19th century involved the formation of the craft-based Journeymen Tailors Union (JTU). Union locals were typically small, as most tailors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries remained outside of the union movement.
In 1903, less than 18% of the estimated 900 garment workers in Toronto were members of JTU, and only a tiny number of them were women. The JTU worked to abolish sweatshop conditions, and maintain union shops. In 1914, the JTU became the Journeymen Tailors Union of America.