This week’s Labor Day holiday can bring to mind the rise of organized labor in Clearfield County.
During the 1930’s, New York-based and other clothing manufacturers looked to areas of high unemployment to establish factories. Local towns often fit the bill and hundreds of workers, many of them women, were.
Disagreements over wages, hours and working conditions soon surfaced. Worker demands were presented by means of negotiations and sometimes strikes.
Ironically, these events coincided with federal New Deal legislation of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, which, through the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 established procedures to grant workers the right to unionize.
The photo shows a banner proclaiming the establishment of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in Curwensville.
The A.C.W. of A later merged with the Congress of Industrial Workers and finally, in 1976, with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. “Look for the union label” became their advertising slogan.
A key advocate for the union movement, both locally and nationally was the late Julia Maietta of Curwensville. She left school in eighth grade to work in her town’s clothing factories.
She spent a renowned lifetime dedicated to her union’s organizing and political activities.
The photo shows a labor parade in the area of State and Filbert streets, in Curwensville, sometime in the late 1930’s.
It looks as though the Grampian Band was leading the parade. The marchers, mostly local ladies, seemed to have drawn a good-sized crowd of onlookers.