Look for the Union Label

When the ILGWU founders met on June 3, 1900, and named their union, they immediately adopted a label for it. Until the 1950s, though, it was simple in design and it was adopted in a few shops only.

After the establishment of the Union Label Department in 1958, the ILGWU launched the first garment industry-wide label. The union sponsored many well-publicized launch events, during which the wives of several government officials, including Eleanor Roosevelt, sewed the label into garments made in unionized shops.

The numbers and letters on the new labels were intended to provide a system for record keeping and easy identification of the employers involved. The working of that system has unfortunately been lost, but it is possible to roughly date garments based on the characteristics of the labels, which changed through time.

During the media campaign of the late Seventies and Eighties, the ILGWU renewed its efforts to print union label fabrics in various colorways and styles. These fabrics were distributed to ILGWU members, who then constructed garments to wear when attending rallies, strikes, parades, and other public events.

The union also attached the union label to a great number of objects that were distributed at rallies, pickets, conventions, and other union events, in the attempt to reach out to other unions and to the public at large.


Dress promoting the ILGWU Union Label
Dress, ILGWU with Colorful Floral


Eleanor Roosevelt sews in the union label
ILGWU members modeling for the union label
ILGWU members help promote the union label


Souvenir Fan Promoting the ILGWU Label
Bumper Sticker Promoting the ILGWU Label
Take Aspirin before visiting your congressman
Jar Opener Promoting the ILGWU Label
Yellow Sponge Promoting the ILGWU Label
Rubber Stamp Promoting the ILGWU
Cardboard Stand Promoting Union-Made Fashion
Playing Cards Promoting the ILGWU Label
Pot Holder Promoting the ILGWU Label
Union label banner
Wrist Watch Promoting the ILGWU Logo
Buy Union Made Memo Book
Glass Cleaning Cloth Promoting the ILGWU Label
ILGWU sewing kit
Hat Promoting the Union Label
Pocket Mirror with ILGWU Logo
ILGWU labels


Poster promoting the union label
Poster promoting the union label
Poster promoting the ILGWU union label