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Noted: Look for the Union Label

Jun 24, 2011

by Alison Feldmann

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

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In a global atmosphere of radioactive produce and exploitative fashion, the choices that we make as consumers speak volumes about who we are and what we stand for. However, this isn’t a strange, new concept; in fact, union-made goods could be considered the origin of conscious consumption. Long before we clamored for cage-free eggs and locally sourced kale, factories readily identified the union responsible for production of each garment. If you take a look at any piece of vintage clothing, you’ll probably find the small, square label, faded through with age. According to Wikipedia:

“The invention of the union label concept is attributed to the Carpenter’s Eight-Hour League in San Francisco, California, which adopted a stamp in 1869 for use on products produced by factories employing men on the eight- (as opposed to ten-) hour day. The concept of the union label as a tool for harnessing support from fellow working-class consumers for unionization spread rapidly in the next decades, first among the cigarmakers (their union adopted the first national union label in 1880), but among other unions as well, including typographers, garment workers, coopers, bakers and iron molders.”

And the labels were necessary. In the 1970s and ’80s, production of American goods teetered before an unsure future. Pleas to maintain jobs in the United States were an issue worthy of a public service campaign. The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union — the largest in the United States, and composed primarily of women — organized a television announcement (complete with catchy theme song) to draw attention to failing factories and remind the public that behind each union label was an American family. 

These days, it seems like the only PSAs on television focus on drugs, smoking and political ballyhoo. What contemporary movement do you think deserves a public campaign? 

 

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134 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Oh this is such a great post!!!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 6 years ago

    Right on, love this post, thank you so much for focusing on the human behind the item. It's important to be a responsible consumer. I'm proud to have many ILGWU pieces in my shop!!

  • Jashme

    Jashme said 6 years ago

    Supporting independent artists could use a public campaign.

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 6 years ago

    i love finding union labels when i'm shopping for vintage! great article.

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    As soon as I saw the title, that song popped into my head - I remember it well.

  • thecottagemarket

    thecottagemarket said 6 years ago

    what a fabulous article. thank you for sharing. there are so many worthwhile movements. in this vein i would have to applaud a campaign to support "LOCAL" in general...artists...artisans...farmers...small business...etc... so i would love to see a "LOCAL" campaign. also i would love to see a campaign for ethical treatment of animals in today's society. i could go on and on because there are so many worthwhile causes that need people need to be exposed to and realize what is happening and how they can help. rome wasn't built in a day but hopefully more and more will be done. thanks once again for sharing this article with us!

  • prettydreamer

    prettydreamer said 6 years ago

    I can remember that song from when I was a little kid.... it's pretty amazing how far we have traveled away from the seventies (I can feel the dust). So much changed with the 80s and 90s ... tons more stuff was available and most of it a lot more expensive than the 70s despite outsourced overseas manufacturing. It's good to see a returning of proud hands and the face of the makers at work. Alison, thank you for the super post!

  • limestone

    limestone said 6 years ago

    The theater I work at sews a label with a union bug into every costume piece and stamps it on the back of every flat. -- IA Local 13.

  • BoonieBoutique

    BoonieBoutique said 6 years ago

    We also need to remember how the unions empowered women and minorities to make a decent wage and receive benefits that may not have been attainable without collective bargaining. I worry about the consequences of big business running out unions and destroying the power of bargaining. My corporate background was in HR, big business fears and loathes unions for good reason. Their power is undeniable.

  • rosebudshome

    rosebudshome said 6 years ago

    Unfortunately the labels on most all clothes now are not made in America.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 6 years ago

    Interesting! In the uk we've never had something like this, there's always been a difficult relationship between unions and the public at large who have mixed opinions about their purpose...

  • chazmannj

    chazmannj said 6 years ago

    Oh my gawd....I remember that commercial.... as a kid we my siblings and I would laugh and giggle when it came on, but we'd always sing along..... now our beloved country has done it's best to derail all the Unions hard work. Let's hear it for the Unions ....the people who brought you the Weekend! (and the holiday, vacation, sick-day, safe work place............)

  • paulofnavarone

    paulofnavarone said 6 years ago

    i am the sole member in a union of one. i am currently striking against myself for better pay and conditions. and the food i provide myself is awful. i won't eat this muck any longer!

  • HazelTweed

    HazelTweed said 6 years ago

    I think the contemporary union movement still deserves a public campaign. there is so much anti-union and union busting attitudes out there. an injury to one is an injury to all!

  • NatalieDrest

    NatalieDrest said 6 years ago

    Interesting article, thanks! We need a Stay at Home Mum Union and campaign to have holidays!

  • kareninadesigns

    kareninadesigns said 6 years ago

    Great article and good point!!

  • DreamCake

    DreamCake said 6 years ago

    This is absolutely fabulous! Thank you for posting this. I really believe we need to make an updated version of this and broadcast it. There are so many workers not being treated fairly now-a-days. Everything from management "fixing" their time slot so as to stay off corporates radar of over time pay to sexual harassment that goes un punished. How about a wage union that says everyone has the right to support themselves without having to work 3 jobs? It is IMPOSSIBLE for the college students today to get out on there own. We probably won't see that any time soon in this recession though : /

  • SassySisterVintage

    SassySisterVintage said 6 years ago

    I like this article not only for union labels identifying where an item was made or by whom but they are very helpful in identifying the age of a piece of vintage clothing. Garment union labels that are red, white and blue are typically from the 70s and 80. Blue and white are 1960s and earlier.

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 6 years ago

    it is important for people to use their conscious while shopping. most companies or economist do not considerate it their business to meet the needs of individuals. groups like unions and farmers markets are making efforts to meet said needs. consumer support of those groups is supporting the rights of workers. therefore, since about 90% of people work to live in this country, you support yourself when you shop ethically.

  • WestEggStudio

    WestEggStudio said 6 years ago

    Love that song!

  • jmeyeratl

    jmeyeratl said 6 years ago

    I am from Kenosha... as you can tell by Wisconsin's continuing protests regarding our governor's recent bills, the union mentality remains strong here.

  • TheIDconnection

    TheIDconnection said 6 years ago

    Great article - thanks for posting this! Monica TheIDConnection & NanaBellAntiques

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna said 6 years ago

    I absolutely remember those commercials and that jingle. Funny how at the time it seemed like a quaint idea that would never be in jeopardy and now the reality of living in the US means struggling to buy American products while our skilled labor force struggles to maintain jobs of any kind.

  • HandiworkinGirls

    HandiworkinGirls said 6 years ago

    Buy local! It can be hard to do, when the local shops can't afford the advertising campaigns, and they aren't all located "on the beaten path".

  • flourishingagain

    flourishingagain said 6 years ago

    I am in favor of the union for benefits and empowering people but some blame unions for asking so much of business that they are run into the ground. Look at the auto industry or the US postal service. There are companies in trouble due to being over ruled by the collective bargaining of the union. Did you know the US post office may go belly up by the end of the year but they are still giving wage increases because they are trying to avoid service disruption?

  • rebourne

    rebourne said 6 years ago

    I think eating local and fresh would make a good campaign. It should be complete with detailed information on where and when to find affordable produce (and why it's important!). My family and I live in the city, and I have three kids under the age of 5. Making trips to multiple locations to find fresh produce is exhausting (the produce selection at the supermarket I shop at is not great). Our bodegas don't have any fresh, local produce. If they did, it wouldn't sell, because chips and soda are cheaper and don't require any preparation to eat. A campaign like this may already be in place, I don't have a TV so I wouldn't know!

  • EklektikosByStar

    EklektikosByStar said 6 years ago

    A most refreshing post indeed. I am especially keen on it, as I am one of those hard-core union activists. Yes, and I even have a shop on Etsy!! BoonieBoutique is right on about the role of unions in the empowerment of women and minorities. E.g., few media sources will delve deep into what Martin Luther King, Jr. was involved in the day he was killed. Actually, it was a labor dispute involving sanitation workers.... And while some folks may consider unions somewhat alien or outdated, unions seek to save the middle class, to narrow the gap between the corporate entities that claim personhood and real people struggling to survive. Oh, I will get off my soapbox....and go do something artistic, which of course helps me to cope with all the inequities I encounter! Thanks again! Star

  • tatimaia

    tatimaia said 6 years ago

    Nice post! Never heard about the Union Label... Well, because I don't live in USA, hehe! But thanks for letting me know now! By the way... This video and people's style are funny! XD Hugs, Tati

  • VivaVera

    VivaVera said 6 years ago

    There are more and more websites all the time with made in USA products only, just google "Made in USA". There also a lot of great vintage "Made in USA"!! I always try to include "Made in USA" in the title of my vintage items!

  • spinningrindy

    spinningrindy said 6 years ago

    Born and raised in Kenosha to union-supporting parents, I was taught to support local businesses as much as possible, big or small. And if a local business didn't make or carry the items we wanted, you did your darndest to find it "Made in the USA."

  • TeaAtHomeWithOlivia

    TeaAtHomeWithOlivia said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the article. I remember the commercial and song clearly. Now I'm going to sing the song everytime I see a vintage piece with the union label.

  • junquegypsy

    junquegypsy said 6 years ago

    Collective bargaining is being targeted not just in factories today, but also in education, police, and firefighting. We definitely need a new campaign and song.

  • OhSoBoho

    OhSoBoho said 6 years ago

    Great article! I love finding union labels when I buy vintage for my shop! We definitely need a revival of the nation's support for unions and union workers. I second whoever said there needs to be a stay at home mom's union!

  • CovetedVintage

    CovetedVintage said 6 years ago

    love the history and purpose behing the union label. nicely written :)

  • Wrenster

    Wrenster said 6 years ago

    I work union and would love to have people support us and workers trying to make a life on what is generally a "retail" job Shop Powell's books at http://www.ilwulocal5.com/ http://www.powells.com/ We're a great store and would love folks supporting us and not Amazon

  • Froggey

    Froggey said 6 years ago

    Art is about individual creativity. Craftsmanship is about individual achievement. Success in business combines those two qualities. None of these situations is served well by the collectivist blight that feeds the union mentality. Unions rarely benefit their rank and file members in any case. They are all about large amounts of power and money for union bosses and those above them in the political arena. I don't come to Etsy to hear political drivel. I hear enough of that in venues appropriate to such discussions. I come here to find and buy beautiful and unique items from people with unique talent and drive. I find this blog post entirely inappropriate for this venue.

  • jmbarclay

    jmbarclay said 6 years ago

    What a great little history lesson!

  • bayousalvage

    bayousalvage said 6 years ago

    All of my clothes have the bayousalvage union label in them! Made in the USA! And if it falls apart you can call me on the phone and get a new one. My great grandmother worked in a textile mill for Carters. If you had a problem you could drive right over and exchange your clothes with the owner of the label. Good ole days are coming back folks.

  • bayousalvage

    bayousalvage said 6 years ago

    And Froggey- unions have been the backbone of worker's rights to safe and fair working conditions since their inception. They are what makes the USA the USA. Safe and fair working conditions mean safe clothing and products for the consumer as well. Something to think about-

  • twinklelittlestarr

    twinklelittlestarr said 6 years ago

    great post!! http://www.etsy.com/listing/63368486/vintage-camisole-maidenform proudly displaying ILGWU item in my shop :)

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • EklektikosByStar

    EklektikosByStar said 6 years ago

    I am intrigued by Etsy having a post about the union label followed by blogging that reveals folks learning about what that label means, words that capture some history, along with some strong opinions on the matter of unions. I appreciate Froggey informing us about the inappropriateness of the posting, though I am not clear if the whole topic of the Etsy post is bothersome, or some of the pro-union responses it generated. Likely both. Regardless, it is well and good for all of us, as long as we are on the topic, to see a post like Froggey's. S/he is here to remind us what anti-union talk sounds like. Now I must be off to enjoy my weekend, which incidentally was brought to us by those pesky unions....

  • cattuslavandula

    cattuslavandula said 6 years ago

    Dating myself, but I'm old enough to remember when Made in America was a common find on labels and hangtags for many, many items. Even Miss USA (not sure about Miss America) got a free wardrobe from sponsors who manufactured the clothing domestically. She used to do appearances and ads promoting 'crafted with pride in the USA'. It's easy to forget that not so long ago, workers were getting their heads cracked open for trying to unionize in order to get decent pay and working conditions.

  • cattuslavandula

    cattuslavandula said 6 years ago

    One of my great aunts worked as a seamstress in a PA lingerie factory for years. Her union id card showed her employee info, and also certified her skill level. There was an employee shop which sold 'seconds' at discounted prices. Every year she'd send us each a dozen socks for Christmas. I wonder if that's where the three cupped bras ended up? Hehehe.

  • CalicoBloomVintage

    CalicoBloomVintage said 6 years ago

    This is a great post. Every time I find a union label inside a garment, it actually makes me a little sad. The chances of finding a new garment made in the U.S.A. is slim to nill these days. Public support for the unions that still exist is gone and we've forgotten about the people behind our goods, most of them working in sweat shops. It's not good for our collective soul! Thanks again for that article.

  • RoughMagicCreations

    RoughMagicCreations said 6 years ago

    Our daughter is a gifted seamstress. All her creations carry the label "Handmade for you by [her name]." Let's promote a "Handmade by Indie Artisan" movement.

  • mudhousedesigns

    mudhousedesigns said 6 years ago

    So true! Ideas of localism, conscious consumerism, vegetarianism, self made, and homesteading are by no means not new ideas. It is amazing when you read articles and books printed 30, 40, and even 60 years ago many of the writings have a very current ring to them. A classic read and one that can be very revolutionary to your own personal life is "The Good Life" by Helen and Scott nearing. It is a very inspiring read. You can also revisit older classics such as "Walden Pond" by our old friend Henry David Thoreau. It rings true and solid with ideas, concerns and many of the same conscious issues that we face still today.

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 6 years ago

    Interesting post.

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 said 6 years ago

    Had no idea the union label concept reaches back as far as the 1860s. And please delete the spam comment above which, no doubt, is promoting exploitative-made, non-handmade merchandise and linking off-site to a Chinese website. Unbelievable.

  • orchardfarmsoap

    orchardfarmsoap said 6 years ago

    Yeah for Supporting handmade!

  • Scrapboarding

    Scrapboarding said 6 years ago

    I'm from Kenosha Wisconsin - where the Union photo in your article was taken. Kenosha was big on factories and big on Union. In union there is strength ! Bark for handcrafted union !

  • ShannonDownByTheSea

    ShannonDownByTheSea said 6 years ago

    Excellent piece on the history and importance of unions in the United States of America. Perfect timing with the terrible rap they have been receiving lately. Public workers and teachers are suffering under the great scrutiny over their unions that only ensure safe working conditions, workers basic rights, fair wages, and employment that stays here. I am an educator and a proud union member. SOLIDARITY! ~ Shannon M. Russell Atlantic Beach, Florida Duval Teachers United, FEA, AFT, NEA

  • TheCandiShoppe

    TheCandiShoppe said 6 years ago

    This issue is more important than most Americans realize! Thank you so much for bringing this to the forefront again. Prior to '72 the USA made not only 95% of our own clothing, but also the textiles involved. If we could go back, in a consious effort to revitalize, with the American farmer growing cotton and hemp for textile use, and the American worker making a fair wage to create beautiful and durable clothing.....it could single handedly change the economic 'depression' weve fallen into. We were built as a country that 'makes' things....not as a country that simply consumes. Let's face it....we were once very good at making things.... tell yourself that the next time a t-shirt from Indonesia falls apart on the first washing! An imoprtant concept that we should all think about! Thank you....Brandie @ The Candi Shoppe

  • perizade

    perizade said 6 years ago

    "What contemporary movement do you think deserves a public campaign?" Frankly, I think unions deserve one!

  • eaglenosetattoo

    eaglenosetattoo said 6 years ago

    Yes. Look for the union label ... is a mantra that no longer has the power it used to have. Now, we look for "what country" are gaining pennies from our inexpensive purchase. Wonder about which American business have ruined the the garment industry in America? Little do we realize how important that label could be. Wiki info very interesting too ... thanks.

  • NiChaPoN

    NiChaPoN said 6 years ago

    a great post!!!

  • gertie2020

    gertie2020 said 6 years ago

    Solidarity forever!

  • ArtistBeingHuman

    ArtistBeingHuman said 6 years ago

    For Froggey: Art is about individual creativity. (no need for others right?) Craftsmanship is about individual achievement. (so learn, hone, market a craft in a vaccuum, eh?) Success in business combines those two qualities. None of these situations is served well by the *individualist* blight that feeds the *corporate* mentality... *Corporations* rarely benefit their rank and file employees in any case. They are all about large amounts of power and money for *corporate* bosses and those above them in the political arena. :D

  • loonarfox

    loonarfox said 6 years ago

    Love that video!

  • HeirloomOrphanage

    HeirloomOrphanage said 6 years ago

    Someone made a comment "Proud Hands and The Face of The Maker". That just about sums up the wonderful aspect of making and creating - it could almost be a mission banner statement. What a fantastic article. Thanks for opening up a very interesting thread. It's great to read everyone's positive reactions.

  • ohbabydotcom

    ohbabydotcom said 6 years ago

    Love that ad! And I'm old enough to have remembered that ad too : )

  • VintiqueVixenVintage

    VintiqueVixenVintage said 6 years ago

    How about a movement to make things in the USA again, and move jobs back to our country? :o)

  • TheScarfTree

    TheScarfTree said 6 years ago

    Wow, very interesting! Thanks for the article!

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons said 6 years ago

    Wasn't Bob Hope a spokesperson for the campaign?

  • CoquesiaBelle

    CoquesiaBelle said 6 years ago

    To answer your question, I agree that the "Buy Local" movement deserves the media spotlight as well! I love the idea of thinking of each label as representative of a family, because it is. With every factory, mill, and business that's consolidated or shut down, a family is uprooted in more ways than one. Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  • tessthescrapper

    tessthescrapper said 6 years ago

    “New fan from @Rena Durham Photography and I’m so excited about the Independence Day Giveaway!”

  • AnnTig

    AnnTig said 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing :)

  • neulanen

    neulanen said 6 years ago

    as an 'international' reader, i began to wonder what is so international about a US union. this tidbit is from wikipedia: "In North American unionised environments, the term "international" is a euphemism for the central union location, which is often in the Washington, D.C. area. An example is the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), whose international office is in Washington, DC, whereas its local offices are spread all over North America. A regional union office that serves as an umbrella organisation for more than one local office, may still be called "international" by its rank and file members."

  • EmilyEckel

    EmilyEckel said 6 years ago

    Thank you for this post! I'd like to see more history of this sort.

  • mroses

    mroses said 6 years ago

    Great article :D This kind of history is great to see, I never knew anything about this!

  • ColoradoMorning

    ColoradoMorning said 6 years ago

    I'm with froggey: my personal opinion is that the topic isn't appropriate. Unions serve a purpose but many of them have become large corporations with their own version of corruption.

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware said 6 years ago

    Very interesting article. Thank you.

  • CjsRedCloset

    CjsRedCloset said 6 years ago

    Great post. Thank you! I rememer singing that theme song as a child. Yes - Unions do have thier issues and just like many things within history, started out positive but some became somewhat corrupted over time because of greed and selfishness. But what remains important is that grassroots effort in an effort to protect the american worker, know the origins of your product and to ensure quality.

  • adriftinthesea

    adriftinthesea said 6 years ago

    Some of the clothing in my shop is Union Made! Great to know the details behind the history. Thank you.

  • jojosvintagecupboard

    jojosvintagecupboard said 6 years ago

    Interesting article! Thanks!

  • sensationaldesigns

    sensationaldesigns said 6 years ago

    Very cool post! And I agree with the comments about buying local. Such wonderful things to be had!

  • diggyx

    diggyx said 6 years ago

    I shared the post as a link on FB. I think too many Americans have forgotten about the backbone of the US labor force: the union. The basic rights of workers were fought for with spilled blood and tremendous sacrifice from the forefathers & mothers (Mother Jones) of the American Labor Movement. It is past due for a history lesson-this should be a government mandate.

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 6 years ago

    Unions need a boost, thanks for this Alison - I agree with many of the posts here. But I also don't think that unions are to blame for industry's problems. Like Diggyx says above, most of us have forgotten everything that unions gave us. Big business and industry fought them all the way, at every turn. And the GOP is their biggest adversary, wanting to give all the rights to business, with none to the workers.

  • studiorandom

    studiorandom said 6 years ago

    Someone mentioned the postal service. The problem with the postal service is that some intelligent person or people (she said sarcastically) decided to try to privatize the post office. This despite it being spelled out in the Constitution that Congress is in charge of the post office and postal roads. Remember this next time you hear a "constitutionalist" conservative wax poetic about the greater benefits of UPS or FedEx--both of which charge you for package pickup, unlike USPS. Anyway. So there was a big hullaballoo, and even Ralph Nader got involved--anti-privatization, of course. This was the '70s and in those days you could be loud and political without people looking at you funny. There wound up being a compromise. USPS is still overseen by Congress, as per the Constitution, but it's got a board of directors and is expected to survive solely on its own revenue. It amazes me that we will deficit-spend to go bomb brown people into oblivion (I won't say "Stone Age," read some Jared Diamond or Anthropik sometime--the Stone Age might actually be an improvement!), but we wouldn't even consider making the government take over funding of USPS again, despite the vital services it still provides. By the way, anyone here who does not send snail mail to family or friends anymore pretty much has no business criticizing unions that the postal service is going under. You're wrong anyway, but also, you helped contribute to this situation with your enthusiastic reception of email. And I know the party line is that Internet communication is more eco-friendly--but you wouldn't believe that for a minute if you went back and traced the footprint of broadband infrastructure, computer manufacturing, and the electricity generated to make it all go. Mail can be delivered on horseback with a net zero carbon impact. Can your laptop say the same?

  • studiorandom

    studiorandom said 6 years ago

    oh and speaking of the "you're killing trees with snail mail" thing that I know someone's gonna say just any minute now: We did not originally make paper with wood. We started out making rag paper. It mostly came from recycled clothes! There was no synthetic fiber back then, and when someone's clothes got so raggedy that they couldn't repair them anymore, they'd take them and turn them in to be turned into paper pulp. I don't know the exact process involved, but that's pretty much what went down. Even in the 1920s when Hearst was consolidating his newspaper empire on the West Coast, lots of paper was made from cotton rag or hemp. The only reason we switched to wood pulp for mass papermaking was because Hearst had invested in a lot of timberland and didn't want to lose the money. Read Jack Herer's stuff sometime, he talks about this. Someone had invented the hemp equivalent of a cotton gin to process all that hemp fiber painlessly and it would have revolutionized the newspaper industry--and letter stationery too, I'm guessing. So your choices in paper purchasing would make a big difference. Just opting out of the entire industry does nothing to change anything. Sort of like going vegan instead of eating pastured meat. If they can't sell to you anyway, they have no reason to change for the better. At the end of the day, we all want a paycheck.

  • mamif

    mamif said 6 years ago

    excellent post, it's important to support the local/small

  • copperhairartist

    copperhairartist said 6 years ago

    I grew up in a very pro-union family and I grew up hearing my grandfather talk about the days when the oil refinery was a very dangerous place and how he worked with others to help form the union. He was a "Shop Steward" several times in his life and even protested during a strike and had his picture on the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times. My grandfather was very proud of the various kinds of fuel he made and was especially proud during WWII The union label was and is something to be proud of. It is an old fashion way of saying "Made locally with much love and care." The ILGU promoted craftmanship as well as safety and a fair wage. For those who think the topic is inappropriate for Etsy I say, "Think about how proud you are of what you make and the craftsmanship that goes into what you make. The ILGU was a label that said "This is made well and with love and care" Before Fair trade products and the push for locally made, the ILGU was proud to do the same thing.

  • TheMillineryShop

    TheMillineryShop said 6 years ago

    Here in the U.S.A., I think "Americans Buy American" deserves a public campaign. And I admit it, I sang along with that clip just like my sister and I did all those years ago. Who knew just how important that issue would become in these days of outsourcing everything to other countries?

  • hobocampcrafts

    hobocampcrafts said 6 years ago

    wonderful post! As a former union organizer and current sewing mama- I was so proud to see this! PLus I collect Union Label clothes wheee!

  • oXmadewithloveXo

    oXmadewithloveXo said 6 years ago

    I just bought a vintage dress 1950's union made for a retro wedding and altered the bust and arms.. It was a perfect fit and i was so proud the dress was worn again... after all those years i gave it another go round. great feeling!!!

  • PamelasDesertRocks

    PamelasDesertRocks said 6 years ago

    How about PSA's for buying from local small brick and mortar stores and seeking out handcrafted products on Etsy? Great post - I remember those Made in the USA commercials and the song - we need that again!

  • FashGal

    FashGal said 6 years ago

    OOhhhhh, I too remember the song! I agree with TheMillineryShop regarding a public campaigne for "Americans Buy American". I am proud to be manufacturing in "Glamourous Los Angeles, California", as my hang tag states. I am an army of one, and looking forward to a successful domestic made product line.

  • opendoorstudio

    opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    So glad you brought this up! I have been singing this song in my head for days now! I remember the commercials! That was back in the day when it made a difference to support Union made items. Never buy a garment or item without the union markings on them. Remember the UL label. That has gone by the wayside too! Used to be you could NOT purchase an electrical item without it! Now there are so many unsafe items out there. Used to be able to determine safety and quality buy purchasing one of the fine items marked with these labels! my how times have changed.

  • mariposavintage

    mariposavintage said 6 years ago

    We wonder why we are in such a deep horrific recession! Its because all the jobs have been outsourced to where they can pay people absolutely nothing and have them work in appalling conditions with no regress what so ever so they can sell us clothes and gadgets to satisfy our need for new new new. I am originally from the states and I'm now living in Ireland where the recession is getting worse by the day. We were thinking of moving home but my mom has said to hold off and wait till we know its going to be ok. Cant pick up and move back to the states with two kids unless we know we can be safe with healthcare and jobs. It makes me sad as I always intended to go back!

  • fashionninja

    fashionninja said 6 years ago

    The ILGWU label represented fairness and decency .

  • ARTTOUR

    ARTTOUR said 6 years ago

    Great post) Thank you for sharing :)

  • editionbw

    editionbw said 6 years ago

    As a message for supporting your fellow country man - ok As a USA-centric message on an international site - FAIL This message brought to you by a person striving towards maintaining a Living Wage in a global market.

  • DeirdreCunningham

    DeirdreCunningham said 6 years ago

    Yes! More than anything organized labor needs an educational campaign. For too long we have let our Unions be busted and bullied and scapegoated. We actually need to teach labor history in public school,not the dried out 40 minute lecture I got in high school that I cant even remember, but the vibrant history of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and Mother Jones And Big Bill Heywood, and the Bread and Roses Strike. All of the times that folks fought and died to make work better and safer for their fellow workers every where. Solidarity Forever!

  • GinghamLife

    GinghamLife said 6 years ago

    Wonderful post! Thank you for reminding us of the proud labor history behind American consumer goods.

  • KateStealey

    KateStealey said 6 years ago

    Live for this kind of history! Hope to read more like it. Also, glad ETSY is recognizing the history unions have played in commerce and production

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 6 years ago

    Love this article, alot of history, thanks, for sharing!

  • andralynn

    andralynn said 6 years ago

    An inspiring piece of history for all the handmade artists out there.

  • Nelly23

    Nelly23 said 6 years ago

    Such a great article.... I live one town north of Kenosha WI.... What a great place to live!!!! Right on the BIG LAKE!! Great Article..... Kenosha and Racine are some of the biggest Blue Collar Union working cities in the country!!! GO WISCONSIN!!

  • BizzieLane

    BizzieLane said 6 years ago

    Thank you for posting this! I also remember the commercial and had family members who worked in the factories, that use to be here in the USA.

  • EklektikosByStar

    EklektikosByStar said 6 years ago

    Wow, Etsy folks!! I have been reading over a lot of incredible posts. For all of you who are getting the connection between unions and pride in one's work (or workmanship), thanks! Also, your acknowledgement that many social justice issues can be addressed through unions is like a breath of fresh air. How very cool that so many creative & independent business-minded folks have respect for collective bargaining. You are vibrant, and you give me hope! Now I will post this to my facebook, for two reasons....I post labor-related stuff, plus I like to advertise Etsy!!

  • Lilsugarskulls

    Lilsugarskulls said 6 years ago

    Great Article! thanks.

  • jessinam

    jessinam said 6 years ago

    What a great article and some pretty fantastic responses!! As a former teacher (union member) and wife of a union carpenter service rep it is soooo nice to hear some positive responses and support of unions in the US!!! Thanks for giving me a smile and optimism that there are still other union supporters out there!!!

  • THREEerincadigan

    THREEerincadigan said 6 years ago

    It is so hard to find unionized clothing manufacturers :( but I can't agree more that all factories should be unionized. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!!!!

  • uncorked

    uncorked said 6 years ago

    I remember my grandfather's stories about the pre-union days at his job and the dangerous working conditions he faced. He loved his union. Unions paved the way to being middle class for millions of American workers and offered the benefits of low cost health care and pensions. Because corporations have taken much of this security away from their workers, nonunion people feel that it is unfair when their tax dollars support this for others (esp. teachers, who our governor here is NJ is determined to turn everyone against). Hubby and I are both self employed - pay $1000 a month for healthcare and have no pensions. We can see both sides of some of these issues, but still believe unions give workers a stronger voice and enable them to get a fair share of the growth they help create. The eat/buy local for food is a great movement and of course, mindful spending on handmade items that support independent makers wherever they live in the world.

  • Angelic

    Angelic said 6 years ago

    What a Great article. I'm a proud UAW member and I strongly support buying made in the USA products, but find it very hard to find made in the USA products in the big stores.That's why I love shopping on Etsy. We should all stand together and spread the word to support small businesses.

  • shy520

    shy520 said 6 years ago

    The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can‘t have them. http://www.collectluxury.com/tonino-lamborghini-807sb-mesh-mens-red-watch-p-9985.html

  • jungledread

    jungledread said 6 years ago

    I've often heard stories of pre-union days.... and I can't understand why people don't join their union. Why give up your power & your voice?

  • EliteBridal

    EliteBridal said 6 years ago

    Great article1 Thank-you for sharing.

  • JimArnold

    JimArnold said 6 years ago

    No doubt unions have made a great impact on working conditions in the US. Upton Sinclair's, "The Jungle" is a good read for those too young to understand why they came about. BUT that pendulum has swung to far in some places and not enough in the so-called 'third world' countries. Look at what unions have done to GM, California, and the burdens they have and will put on ALL of us....consequences not even felt yet. At the same time, how hypocritical some here are to be soooo pro-union and sooo 'handmade' only to turn around and buy and sell mass produced factory items from the Far East where conditions TODAY are no different then they were in Chicago when Sinclair wrote about the meat packing plants after the turn of the century here. I'm over handmade love it or leave it USA posers. Do your homework, support your local handmade efforts and support your worldwide handmade efforts...whether you're in New York City or sitting on an iceberg in Antarctica, we are ALL in this together, throw all of your flags and tags away and start acting the world is one community.

  • YarnUiPhoneApp

    YarnUiPhoneApp said 6 years ago

    Protecting the U.S. taxpayer and Small Business might be a good PSA...aren't all Etsy sellers small businesses? This would be a natural, friends. Regulations and new taxes galore aren't helping small businesses at all.

  • wardrobetheglobe

    wardrobetheglobe said 6 years ago

    great post! i've shared it on our fb page, http://www.facebook.com/wardrobetheglobe

  • stepbackink

    stepbackink said 6 years ago

    Very good post, Etsy USA can be the platform to bring all good, echo friendly, made in the USA back to the forefront of the new economy trend sweeping our world. I now seek it in every aspect of life on daily bases food, clothing, comoditiies, and all my needs, I shop small mom and pops eat at small local dives, and encourage and support all artist that make clothings, art and every thing else u can think of. We can all make a difference if we choose to.

  • jorgensenstudio

    jorgensenstudio said 6 years ago

    Love the photo and this story. I grew up in Kenosha (Wis) which was a town booming with factories because of its deep harbor on Lake Michigan. When I go back now to visit relatives it saddens me that almost all of these factories are gone as well as the great jobs they supplied. The tradition of making things there has died, and in its place condos dot the pier where the newly made cars used to get loaded on giant boats to ship out. Kenosha and the union label is a archetype for what has happened throughout the US with the decay of manufacturing and the decay of the middle class. I am so proud to be a maker of things. To me it is so noble and so vital to the economy to be in some small way a contributer to the GNP, that I sitting here in my small studio have a platform where I can export a product I made with my hands across the world. When you stop and think about that it is really powerful and humbling.

  • GoodEye

    GoodEye said 6 years ago

    Great post. I am a firm believer in theorganized efforts of working people. to bargain for fair wages, safer working enviorments. Though rarely mentioned, the loss of healthcare coverage is directly related to the loss of union jobs in the USA.

  • collectiblesatoz

    collectiblesatoz said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the memories.

  • DejaVuExperience

    DejaVuExperience said 6 years ago

    Yes, thank you so much for pointing out the value of union made products. Proud to have USA union made garments in my shop!!

  • CuffandCollar

    CuffandCollar said 6 years ago

    Awesome post

  • tokenandpine

    tokenandpine said 6 years ago

    I would love to see a modern version of this type of labeling! It would make my life so much easier! :)

  • Tina669

    Tina669 said 6 years ago

    Interesting article!

  • TheSiberianWind

    TheSiberianWind said 6 years ago

    My grandmother worked as a garment worker then became a union rep with the ILGWU. I'm so glad to see that people remember the hard work she and others like her put in making things that most Americans don't know how to spend the time making anymore. Nods to the TeenAngster for posting this!

  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 6 years ago

    I think it's great they featured a bunch of men in this union. Just goes to show that we're a force to reckon with. Now... If we could just be that unified today! Let's do it!

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 6 years ago

    I here my grandparents talk about unions. It is such a foreign concept now.

  • eaglenosetattoo

    eaglenosetattoo said 6 years ago

    Wouldn't be great to have an Etsy Community Label (logo) to be used by we hard working craftspeople who make things with their own finger prints objects of art and for easy use. "Look for the Etsy Label ... Etsy, as in Betsy!"

  • therainyside

    therainyside said 6 years ago

    Union Yes! I am a proud member of my union, now as a retiree! The right to collectively bargain wages/salary, benefits, and working conditions made my working life much better! I am thankful.

  • ssandee

    ssandee said 6 years ago

    So important these days, with so many Republicans who are wanting to have you believe that Unions are the reason for all our Country's current ills and concerns. I am now a UAW Retiree, with bunches of time to rally against these current batch of uniformed, hostile incumbents, and like to remind people that they need to thank a Union Worker if they enjoy their weekends! Brought to you by Unions! I am going to post that YouTube video on my Facebook Account-knowing I will receive a few hostile comments from the uninformed and ill-willed people.

  • jewelkingthai

    jewelkingthai said 6 years ago

    Nice to hear the song

  • girliepains

    girliepains said 6 years ago

    that is a nice song, i agree

  • irishandmore

    irishandmore said 6 years ago

    Our town had several clothing factories, and now, as I try to research them, there is hardly any information left about them, let alone any production. My best source of info so far has been from an (unrelated) great aunt that used to work at one of the dress factories. I love to listen to her stories....

  • blainedesign

    blainedesign said 6 years ago

    Great post, Alison. Recent history provides such a powerful perspective on how quickly things have changed.

  • SmArtsy

    SmArtsy said 6 years ago

    oh yeah, I remember those

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  • bettysworld4u

    Betty from bettysworld4u said 5 years ago

    Proud that I just Posted a Blue and White Union Label Vintage Ladies Summer Bonnet Hat. Made in the U.S.A.

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