Born out of the sweatshop misery of immigrant labor during the early 1900s, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union was once one of the largest unions in the United States and a key player in the labor movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Its interest in electoral politics went through many phases.
During the pre-World War II period, the ILGWU’s leadership moved away from its early revolutionary socialist roots to more mainstream reformist politics. Having achieved a great deal with regard to improving wages and working conditions, the ILGWU lost steam as the garment industry itself shrank or moved away from New York City.
As this voter registration appeal demonstrates (El Voto es Poder Usalo!/The Vote is Powerful, Use It!), the ILGWU has always been interested in electoral politics. It was first involved in various socialist parties. Later, it helped to establish the American Labor Party and supported New York’s Liberal Party. For a time the ILGWU was involved with certain Republican candidates. Eventually, it aligned itself with the Democratic Party.
How do immigrant populations influence politics?
Check for Understanding
Identify the purpose of the poster and evaluate the significance of this document in encouraging civic participation by new immigrants.