Abraham Bisno, union pioneer : an autobiographical account of Bisno's early life and the beginnings of unionism in the women's garment industry / with a foreword by Joel Seidman.

By: Bisno, Abraham, 1866-1929 [author]Contributor(s): Seidman, Joel [author of introduction, etc.]Material type: TextTextPublisher: Madison, Milwaukee, London : The University of Wisconsin Press, 1967Description: 244 pages : illustrations ; 22 cmSubject(s): Bisno, Abraham, 1866-1929 | Clothing workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- History | Labor leaders -- United States -- BiographyDDC classification: 331.881/1/6870924 | B LOC classification: HD 6515.C6 | B5 1967Online resources: Click here to access online Summary: "Abraham Bisno (1866-1929) was, at the beginning of this century, one of the best-known labor leaders in the women's garment industry of Chicago. Having fled from the poverty and pogroms of Czarist Russia, the Bisno family settled in Chicago, where in 1882 Bisno began his career amidst a jungle of low wages, oppressively long hours, unsanitary conditions, and ruthless competition. He soon developed a keen and lasting interest in improving conditions for workers and took an active part in the struggle to establish a union that would be effective in meeting their needs. He served in 1890 as the first president of the Chicago Cloak Makers' Union, one of the forerunners of the International Ladies' Garment Worker's Union. His successful experience as a union leader in Chicago and his reputation as an honest and aggressive unionist led, in 1912, to his appointment as chief clerk of the Joint Board of the ILGWU in New York. Central to Bisno's thinking was the belief that the worker was entitled to economic security, decent treatment on the job, satisfactory working conditions, and an acceptable standard of living. Where he found industrial practices in conflict with his objectives, he urged reform, by legislation and by collective bargaining. Many of his ideas, considered impractical and visionary when he first broached them, have long since been incorporated into reform plans. A self-educated man, who worked in all kinds of jobs from manual labor to research on industrial working conditions, Bisno came to know people from all walks of life, from fellow immigrants and Chicago prostitutes to the leaders of Hull House and the eminent economist John R. Commons. Bisno's account of his early life, presented here as he dictated it sometime between the years 1924 and 1926, is oral history: he describes life in Russia in the 1870s, the deplorable conditions under which the Jewish immigrants lived and worked in Chicago, and the beginnings of unionism in the women's garment industry. This realistic and unsentimental record reflects the keen observation and the forceful personality of an unusual man; it is, in the words of Professor Jack Barbash, 'of major historical importance in understanding the development of the American labor movement and the problems of the immigrant worker.'" -- from the dust jacket.
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"Abraham Bisno (1866-1929) was, at the beginning of this century, one of the best-known labor leaders in the women's garment industry of Chicago. Having fled from the poverty and pogroms of Czarist Russia, the Bisno family settled in Chicago, where in 1882 Bisno began his career amidst a jungle of low wages, oppressively long hours, unsanitary conditions, and ruthless competition. He soon developed a keen and lasting interest in improving conditions for workers and took an active part in the struggle to establish a union that would be effective in meeting their needs. He served in 1890 as the first president of the Chicago Cloak Makers' Union, one of the forerunners of the International Ladies' Garment Worker's Union. His successful experience as a union leader in Chicago and his reputation as an honest and aggressive unionist led, in 1912, to his appointment as chief clerk of the Joint Board of the ILGWU in New York. Central to Bisno's thinking was the belief that the worker was entitled to economic security, decent treatment on the job, satisfactory working conditions, and an acceptable standard of living. Where he found industrial practices in conflict with his objectives, he urged reform, by legislation and by collective bargaining. Many of his ideas, considered impractical and visionary when he first broached them, have long since been incorporated into reform plans. A self-educated man, who worked in all kinds of jobs from manual labor to research on industrial working conditions, Bisno came to know people from all walks of life, from fellow immigrants and Chicago prostitutes to the leaders of Hull House and the eminent economist John R. Commons. Bisno's account of his early life, presented here as he dictated it sometime between the years 1924 and 1926, is oral history: he describes life in Russia in the 1870s, the deplorable conditions under which the Jewish immigrants lived and worked in Chicago, and the beginnings of unionism in the women's garment industry. This realistic and unsentimental record reflects the keen observation and the forceful personality of an unusual man; it is, in the words of Professor Jack Barbash, 'of major historical importance in understanding the development of the American labor movement and the problems of the immigrant worker.'" -- from the dust jacket.

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