Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Local 125 was a chapter of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) that worked to improve wages and hours of work, to increase job security, to provide facilities for advancing cultural, educational, and recreational interests of its members, and to strengthen the labor movement. Includes constitution, by-laws, minutes, contracts, piece rate schedules, accounts, subject files, scrapbooks, newsclippings, printed materials, photographs and a phonograph record that document the history of Local 125 from its founding in 1933 to 1984, when the Local office in New Haven was closed. Included also are correspondence and case materials pertaining to grievance and arbitration proceedings (access restrictions apply).
Access restrictions apply to correspondence and case materials pertaining to grievance and arbitration proceedings.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Local 125
In 1933 the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) began an organizing drive among New England garment workers. On April 29, 1933, Local 125 (New Haven, Connecticut and vicinity) was chartered by ACWA. Local governing bodies were established almost immediately; Shop Delegates Councils and the Executive Board each held their first meetings in May, 1933.
Local 125 worked to improve wages and hours of work, to increase job security, to provide facilities for advancing cultural, educational and recreational interests of its members and to strengthen the labor movement. A 5-day work week and "living wage" were prime objectives. Local ACWA social-athletic clubs were opened for members in 1934. Delegates received funding to attend labor conferences and speakers routinely addressed the Shop Delegates Council meetings on topics of labor interest.
Local 125 followed the industry's growth and decline. In 1933 the union represented 14 shops (over 2,000 workers); 1942: 19 shops; 1950: 24 shops; 1963: 18 shops; 1978: 8 shops. The local eventually represented shops both in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. At various times Bridgeport, Brandford, Danbury, Derby, Manchester, New Britain, New Haven, Shelton and Wallingford shirt factories have had ACWA representation.
Key figures in Local 125 include Aldo Cursi who, with Mamie Santora, organized the Connecticut shirtworkers. Cursi served as Manager of Local 125 from 1933 until 1954. John Laurie was the local's Business Agent from 1933 until 1963. He served as Manager of Local 125 from 1954 until his death in 1964. Nick Aiello was elected Local 125's Business Agent in 1963. In 1964 he was elected Manager of Local 125.
Constitution, by-laws, minutes, contracts, piece rate schedules, accounts, subject files, scrapbooks, newsclippings, printed materials, photographs and a phonograph record that document the history of Local 125 from its founding in 1933 to 1984, when the Local office in New Haven was closed. Included also are correspondence and case materials pertaining to grievance and arbitration proceedings (access restrictions apply). Early records were collected by Manager Cursi; Business Agent (and later, Manager) Laurie maintained Local 125's files through numerous office moves, and Business Agent and Manager Aiello maintained the records from 1964 until 1984.
The records are organized in five series, including Minutes, 1933-1978, Contracts and Piece Rates, 1928-1982, Subject Files, 1934-1984, Grievances and Arbitrations, 1958-1984, and Publications, Photographs and Scrapbooks, 1930-1983.
Includes very complete minutes of the Executive Board and the Shop Delegates Councils, 1933-1977. This series also includes delegate election results, names of conference representatives, grievance and dispute resolutions in addition to more routine union business. Minutes of the regional governing committee, the New England Regional Joint Board, are complete from its founding in 1973 through 1978. Local 125's political interests are documented in the minutes of the Labor Non-Partisan League (1936) and the Political Action Committee (1948-1974). Social-Athletic Club minutes (1934-1944) reveal the local's recreational interests; Amalgamated Cultural Activities in Series IV supplement these minutes. Also in this series are two typescripts of the Constitution; dated print copies are found in Series IV.
Divided into two subseries.
Subseries One contains contracts between Local 125 and employers, arranged chronologically and dating from 1935 to 1955. Negotiations with the Gant Company of New Haven are well documented and extend from 1943 to 1980. Subseries Two contains piece rate schedules which are arranged chronologically and span 1928-1977. Piece rate surveys, 1939-1945, supplement the schedules.
Percentage Table for the Adjustment of Piece Rates file in Series III is also of interest.
Files are in a topical arrangement; some headings are assigned. Shop closings are listed under name of shop (Bay Products, Interstar Mfg., New Britain, Panettieri, and Rivoli Shirtmakers).
Maintained by Aldo Cursi and, later, by Nick Aiello. Bulk dates 1964-1984. Shop dues reports (1934-1983), Financial Statements (1975-1984) and Vacation Funds Balance Sheets (1950-1971) indicate the financial workings of the local. The Subject Files also reveal Aiello's work with the New England Regional Joint Board and the Greater Hartford Labor Council.
Photographs which accompanied Import Demonstration and March (1970-1971) files were moved to Series IV.
Most cases are filed by name of the grievant; some are filed by name of the company.
[Access with special permission]. Restricted. Access to the material may be gained with the written permission of Local 125 (North Dartmouth, Massachusetts).
Grievance and arbitration case material includes: evidence, correspondence and decisions. Bulk dates, 1976-1979.
Contains three subseries.
The first subseries, publications, consists of printed material found in Local 125's records. Of special interest are: the second issue of ACWA's newspaper Advance; Bread and Roses, the early history of ACWA and printed copies of the Constitution and By-laws. Three scrapbooks, 1930-1955, consist of newspaper clippings and ACWA and Local 125 printed materials.
A record of the sound track (with additional narration) for the 50th Anniversary film of the ACWA-AFL-CIO, CLC "The Inheritance" (stored in the phonograph records box for manuscripts collections).
(see phono records storage box)
Acquired from Nick Aiello in 1984 and 1985
Processed by Anneliese Ostendarp, June 1985.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The collection is userestricted.
Cite as: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Local 125 Records (MS 1). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.