Dubinsky, David

Dubinsky, David

(do͞obĭn`skē), 1892–1982, American labor leader, president (1932–66) of the International Ladies Garment Workers UnionInternational Ladies Garment Workers Union
(ILGWU), former U.S. labor union, formed in 1900 by the amalgamation of seven local unions. At the turn of the century most of the workers in the garment industry were Jewish immigrants, whose attempts at organization were hampered by
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 (ILGWU), b. Brest-Litovsk, Poland. He was a baker in his father's shop in Lodz (then in Russian Poland), and after becoming active in the bakers' union, he was banished (1908) to a Siberian prison. He escaped and reached (1911) the United States, where he became a cloak cutter and joined the ILGWU. He rose rapidly through the ranks of the union and served as president from 1932 until his retirement in 1966. After 1932 he led in the expansion of membership of the ILGWU.

Although a vice president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), he led (1935–36) his union to join the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO; see American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial OrganizationsAmerican Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
(AFL-CIO), a federation of autonomous labor unions in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, and U.S.
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). When the AFL suspended the CIO unions (1936), Dubinsky resigned from the AFL. He opposed, however, the establishment of the CIO on a permanent independent basis, and in 1938 he also broke with it, thus making the ILGWU independent until 1940 when it reaffiliated with the AFL. In 1936 he was one of the founders of the American Labor partyAmerican Labor party,
organized in New York by labor leaders and liberals in 1936, primarily to support Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal and the men favoring it in national and local elections.
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 in New York State. When it fell under Communist influence, he resigned and helped organize (1944) the Liberal partyLiberal party,
in U.S. history, political party formed in 1944 in New York City by a group of anti-Communist trade unionists and liberals who withdrew from the American Labor party when that party became pro-Communist.
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. In 1945 he again became a vice president and member of the executive council of the AFL, retaining the position after it merged with the CIO in 1955. His efforts at ousting corrupt union leaders culminated in the antiracket codes adopted by the AFL-CIO in 1957.


See biography by R. D. Parmet (2005, repr. 2012); M. D. Danish, The World of David Dubinsky (1957); .

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Dubinsky, David (b. Dobnievski)

(1892–1982) labor leader; born in Brest Litovsk, Russia. Beginning his labor activism in Russia, for which he was exiled to Siberia, he escaped and emigrated to the United States in 1911. He joined the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in New York as a cloak cutter and was elected its president (1932–66). He served as labor adviser to the National Recovery Administration (1933–35). Under his leadership the ILGWU became one of the most successful unions in America—financially solid yet honest, powerful but personal, progressive yet anti-communist. An early supporter of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), he led the ILGWU back into the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1940. When the AFL and the CIO merged (1955) he became a member of the new executive council and then a vice-president of the AFL-CIO. He was active in the international labor movement, representing the AFL at the International Labor Organization and in the UN Economic and Social Council. He also played an active role in areas outside unions, helping to form the American Labor Party (1936), the Liberal Party (1944), and Americans for Democratic Action (1947).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.