Spotlight on a Union: The Story of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union

Spotlight on a Union: The Story of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union

Spotlight on a Union: The Story of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union

Spotlight on a Union: The Story of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union

Excerpt

We American liberals stand in desperate need of a faith. We have been so preoccupied in opposing false doctrines that we have failed to develop a true philosophy of our own for democratic living. Yet we cannot resist the spread of Communism nor the resurgence of Fascism simply by wailing how wicked is one or the other. We can only do it by going into the ideological market place and offering ideas that are richer and sounder than those of our extremist competitors. We have to start fighting for our ideas, rather than against the ideas of others.

The United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union is one of the few unions that has produced ideas as well as picket lines. It has evolved a philosophy of human and industrial relations worthy of careful attention in this day of social crisis. Twenty-four centuries ago, Thucydides, perhaps the greatest historian who has ever lived, said that history is philosophy learned from examples. It was with that thought in mind that this union history has been written.

It must be stressed that the views expressed in this book are the author's and not necessarily those of the Hatters Union or its officials. However, the entire union made freely available all its records and the recollections of its leaders. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Alfred Braunthal, the research director of the union, for his unending assistance, his keen talent for ferreting out facts, and his many splendid suggestions. To his competent assistant, June Reisfeld, also go my thanks. J. C. Rich, editor of The Hat Worker, and a noted veteran of the fight for a better America, has been constantly helpful, constantly stimulating. Marx Lewis, executive vice president, Abraham Mendelowitz, stalwart leader of the New York Millinery Workers, and candid Herman Finkelstein, the union's production expert, have done much to ease the writer's path. Max Zaritsky, president of the organization, has been always cooperative, always sincere, always honest with both the writer and himself.

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