Early to mid 20th century, embroidery on sateen, metal wound fringe and trim
Donation of the UNITE Ontario Council
The official formation of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) took place in 1914, after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed 123 women and 23 men. Most of the victims of the fire were female garment workers of Italian and Jewish descent. Before 1916, female workers were not unionized, and had little to no workplace protection. The formation of the ACWA took place at a time when women were gaining greater political freedoms, including the right to vote in Canada in 1921.
This banner represents amalgamated clothing workers including pressers, sergers, pant makers and sleeve hangers, from multiple Toronto union locals. Some locals were known for the ethnicity of its members– examples include Local 132 (founded as a Jewish local) and Local 235 (an Italian local). The role of the Joint Board was to share information, investigate disputes, negotiate solutions between workers and companies, conduct strikes, and organize events for May Day.