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Guide to the Records of the Italian-American Labor Council WAG.091

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives

Collection processed by Christopher M. Laico and Gail Malmgreen, 2009

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on March 29, 2012
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator: Italian-American Labor Council.
Title: Italian-American Labor Council Records
Dates: 1941-1996
Abstract: The Italian-American Labor Council (IALC) was formed in direct response to Mussolini's declaration of war against the United States in 1941. It lobbied successfully against the implementation of the Enemy Alien Act of 1942 which designated all German, Italian and Japanese nationals as enemy aliens. In the years after the Second World War, the IALC organized aid for post-war Italy. In the 1950s, it also played an instrumental role in forming the "Free Labor Movement" that opposed the Italian Communists and Communist-orientated labor organizations. These records include operational materials, clippings and correspondence of the IALC from its founding in 1941 to 1996.
Quantity: 5.0 linear feet (5 boxes)
Call Phrase: WAG.091

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Historical/Biographical Note

On December 20, 1941, the Italian-American Labor Council (IALC) was formed in direct response to Mussolini's declaration of war against the United States, which had occurred ten days earlier. Although the IALC was formed in direct response to Fascism, its roots illustrate the dramatic narrative of the Italian-Americans and their rise within the organized labor movement.

Since the nineteenth century, through persistent political exertion, Italian-American labor leaders have transformed the initially disunited groups of Italian-American workers into a united force within organized labor. Such leaders as Salvatore Ninfo, Arturo Giovannitti, Carlo Tresca, and Joseph Catalanotti, who would later become founding members of the IALC, orchestrated these early efforts. From 1913 to 1919, for example, the Italian-Americans in the garment trades in New York City developed three powerful locals: Local 63 (Italian Coatmakers) of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) headed by Augusto Bellanca, and Locals 48 (Italian Coatmakers) and 89 (Italian Dressmakers) of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), led respectively by Eduardo Molisani and Luigi Antonini. Antonini would later become the pivotal force behind the founding of the IALC.

Antonini's rise to the top of the Italian-American labor movement did not occur overnight. In 1934, he became the ILGWU's first vice-president under president David Dubinsky. Dubinsky, who was Treasurer of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), encouraged Antonini to take up the cause of the Italian trade unionists and form the IALC. The IALC and the JLC have continued to act as fraternal allies, coordinating activities and sharing resources. By 1940, Local 89 had 33,500 members and could stake a claim as one of the largest union locals in the United States. During this period, Antonini utilized weekly broadcasts entitled Voce della Locale 89 (Voice of Local 89) along with the Italian-language edition of the ILGWU's newspaper, Giustizia, to extend his influence among Italian-American workers. Antonini's sway over the Local 89 membership remained the source of his power and placed him at the top of Italian-American labor leadership at the outbreak of World War II.

On December 10, 1941, three days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Mussolini declared war on the United States. Italian-Americans were shocked. They now had to face the reality that their country of origin was at war with their adopted homeland. Adding to this emotional burden, they also faced an uncertain future because the newly instituted Enemy Alien Act threatened to restrict and possibly imprison those individuals who were not citizens. In response to these circumstances, the IALC leadership met for the first time on December 20, 1941. They chose as their slogan, "America's Victory is Italy's Freedom." At the end of its first year, the IALC could claim affiliates with a membership of 300,000 workers.

The first act of the IALC was to lobby successfully, on behalf of Italian-Americans, against the implementation of the Enemy Alien Act of 1942, which designated all German, Italian and Japanese nationals as enemy aliens. Italian-Americans found themselves facing the possibility of a massive evacuation from the east and west coasts of the United States to confinement in the Mid-West. In order to emphasize Italian-American loyalty to America, the IALC organized a "Freedom Rally" at Madison Square Garden on January 31, 1942. Twenty-two thousand people attended this assembly.

The IALC also engaged in practical political lobbying. The IALC was the first organization to put forward a proposal for the "exoneration of Italians from the category of Enemy Alien." In late spring 1942, Antonini went to Washington, D.C. and met with FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Francis Biddle. Through Antonini's collaborative efforts with Biddle, Italian-Americans were completely exempted from the Enemy Alien category. For his efforts in removing the enemy alien stigma from 600,000 Italian-Americans, Attorney General Biddle, in 1943, became the first recipient of the IALC's Four Freedoms Award. This citation was created to honor "meritorious services rendered to the cause of liberty among the people throughout the world." During this period, the IALC also raised funds for the Italian resistance movement and facilitated the settlement of Italian refugees.

In 1943, a deep political division formed within the IALC. One faction included those individuals who refused to work with the Communists. This group formed the American Committee for Italian Democracy and remained a part of the IALC. The second bloc covered those workers who accepted the Communists. This camp organized the Free Italy Labor Council. These factions reunited in 1958.

In the years after the Second World War, the IALC organized clothing drives and fundraising events for a war-ravaged Italy. In the 1950s, it also played an instrumental role in forming the "Free Labor Movement" that opposed the Italian Communists and Communist-orientated labor organizations. They have continued to act as interpreters of Italian politics for United States governmental officials and have also served as communicators of American labor policy to Italian trade unionists. The organization has organized official delegations, educational missions and good-will tours to Italy, and has regularly hosted visits from Italian political, labor and cultural leaders. The IALC has served as a bridge between the Italian and U.S. labor movements, as the voice of labor in the Italian-American community, and as a sponsor of philanthropic, cultural and political interchange between the two countries.

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Scope and Content Note

The records of the Italian American Labor Council span the years 1941-1996. The records consist of IALC Conference Proceedings, minutes of the Executive Board and Board of Directors (1941-1995), "Four Freedoms" awards, materials from tours to Italy, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets. The records document the organization's founding, activities, commemoration celebrations, and organizational life.

Arrangement

Organized into two series: I. Constitutions, Bylaws and Minutes; II; General Files.

Series I is arranged chronologically and Series II is arranged alphabetically by subject.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Clippings (information artifacts).
  • Correspondence.
  • Minutes.
  • Pamphlets.
  • Proceedings.

Subject Organizations

  • Free Italy Labor Council (U.S.)
  • Italian-American Labor Council.

Subject Topics

  • Anti-fascist movements -- United States.
  • Clothing workers -- United States.
  • Italian Americans
  • Labor unions -- Italy.
  • Labor unions -- United States
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Underground movements.

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The Italian-American Labor Council donated these records in 1992 and 1997.

Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions. For the Minutes, patrons must use Tamiment microfilm R-7458.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 998-2630
Fax: (212) 995-4225
E-mail: tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

The Italian-American Labor Council: Origins, Conflicts, and Contributions" by Vincent J. Tirelli, in Fifty Years of Progress (New York: IALC, 1991). (In IALC Vertical File.)

John Stuart Crawford, Luigi Antonini: His Influence on Italian-American Relations (New York: Educational Dept., Italian Dressmakers' Union, Local 89, ILGWU, 1950).

Records of the Jewish Labor Committee.

Pamphlets and memorabilia of the IALC and ILGWU Local 89, in the Tamiment Library Vertical Files.

Related materials at other archives.
Luigi Antonini Correspondence, (1919-1968) in the International Ladies Garment Workers' Union Records (1906-1985), Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation & Archives, Cornell University

Luigi Antonini Papers (1926-1959), Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Italian-American Labor Movement Collection (1900-1974), Center for Migration Studies, New York, NY.

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Container List

Series I: Constitutions, Bylaws, and Minutes (1941-1995; arranged chronologically).

Scope and Contents note

This series is divided into two parts, minutes of Executive Board and minutes of General Membership meetings; each series reflects the varied internal and external political concerns of the council membership over the last fifty-five years. These minutes chronicle the IALC's role in repealing the Enemy Alien Act, the 1943 factional division with the IALC, fundraising activities for a war-torn Italy in the immediate post-1945 period, and financial and political support for Italian labor unions during the 1950s.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Constitution & Bylaws
1941-1991
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Minutes: General Membership
1941-1945
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Minutes: General Membership
1946-1948
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Minutes: General Membership
1949-1957
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Minutes: Executive Committee
1942-1945
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Minutes: Executive Committee
1949-1954
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Minutes: Executive Committee
1955-1958
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Minutes: Executive Committee
1962-1964
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Minutes: Executive Committee
1965-1966
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Minutes: Executive Committee
1967-1970
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Minutes: Executive Committee
1971-1972
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Minutes: Executive Committee
1973-1975
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Minutes: Executive Committee
1977-1978
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Minutes: Executive Committee
1979
Box: 1 Folder : 15 Minutes: Executive Committee
1982-1984
Box: 1 Folder : 16 Minutes: Executive Committee
1985-1988
Box: 1 Folder : 17 Minutes: Executive Committee
1987
Box: 1 Folder : 18 Minutes: Executive Committee
1989-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Minutes: Board of Directors
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 2 Minutes: Board of Directors
1988
Box: 2 Folder : 3 Minutes: Board of Directors
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 4 Minutes: Board of Directors
1990-1994
Box: 2 Folder : 5 Minutes: Joint Meeting Board of Directors/Executive Committee
1990

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Series II: General Files (1941-1996; arranged alphabetically).

Scope and Contents note

This series includes IALC correspondence with such American and Italian labor organizations as the AFL-CIO, ILGWU Local 89 and Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori. This series also contains IALC Annual Conference reports, Four Freedoms Award, Luncheon materials, various council initiatives such as Italian earthquake relief fund drives, Italian scholarship grants, labor conference reports and Italian-American labor friendship trip records.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 6 Activities [IALC]
1942-1944
Box: 2 Folder : 7 ANSA
1963-1979
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Alitalia: Correspondence
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Alitalia: Strike
1993
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Alitalia: Strike
1993
Box: 2 Folder : 11 American Committee on Italian Migration
1978-1996
Box: 2 Folder : 12 AFL-CIO: Correspondence
1989-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 13 American Federation of Teachers
1990-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 14 American Institute for Free Labor Development
1989-1991
Box: 2 Folder : 15 American Labor ORT
1973-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Annual Conference Proceedings [IALC] (Printed)
1941-1969
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Annual Reports [IALC]
1945-1954
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Asian Free Labor Institute
1988-1989
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Associazone Amicizia AItalia-Stati Uniti d'America"
1989-1992
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Board of Directors: Correspondence
1988-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 21 Boys Town of Italy
1977-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Cabrini Health Care Center
1978-1981
Box: 2 Folder : 23 Calandra Italian American Institute
1992-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 24 Carrara, Mario
1967-1977
Box: 2 Folder : 25 Casa Italiana
1978-1979
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Center for Migration Studies
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Chapters: Correspondence
1990-1996
Box: 2 Folder : 28 Citta del Ragazzo
1975
Box: 2 Folder : 29 Clippings
1978-1979
Box: 2 Folder : 30 Coalition of Italian-American Associations, Inc.
1983-1984
Box: 2 Folder : 31 Columbus Day Celebration
1942
Box: 2 Folder : 32 Columbus Quincentennial U.S.A.
1982
Box: 2 Folder : 33 Comitati dell' Emigrazioni Italiana
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 34 CGIL: Scuola
1993-1995
Box: 2 Folder : 35 Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori
1980-1990
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori
1991-1993
Box: 3 Folder : 2 CISL
1993-1995
Box: 3 Folder : 3 CISL
1996
Box: 3 Folder : 4 Conference: Global Economy Boom or Bust, Conference Papers
1992
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Conference: Global Economy Boom or Bust, Preparations
1992
Box: 3 Folder : 6 Correspondence
1961-1981
Box: 3 Folder : 7 Correspondence
1982-1987
Box: 3 Folder : 8 Correspondence
1988-1995
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Correspondence: CISL, INCA
1994-1996
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Correspondence: Organization Drive Bills
1959-1970
Box: 3 Folder : 11 Correspondence: Organization Drive Bills:
1971-1990
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Dinner: Giovanni Leone
1974
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Dinner: Sandro Pertini
1982
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Dinner: Testimonial Dinner to Count Carlo Sforza
1949
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Earthquake Relief
1963
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Earthquake Relief Funds: Donations
1976
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Earthquake Relief: Tour
1981
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Economic Integration Summit
1991
Box: 3 Folder : 19 Enemy Alien Classification Act
1942
Box: 3 Folder : 20 Ente per la Storia del Socialismo e del Movimento Operaio Italiano
1946-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 21 Executive Committee
1980-1986
Box: 3 Folder : 22 Fasanella, Ralph
1990
Box: 3 Folder : 23 Four Freedoms Award
1944
Box: 3 Folder : 24 Four Freedoms Award
1945
Box: 3 Folder : 25 Four Freedoms Award
1951
Box: 3 Folder : 26 Four Freedoms Award
1957
Box: 3 Folder : 27 Four Freedoms Award
1961
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Four Freedoms Award
1963
Box: 3 Folder : 29 Free Trade Union Institute
1987-1992
Box: 3 Folder : 30 ILGWU, Local 189: Correspondence, etc.
1934-1944
Box: 3 Folder : 31 Istituto F. D. Roosevelt
1948-1972
Box: 3 Folder : 32 Istituto F. D. Roosevelt
1973-1980
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Immigration History Research Center
1982
Box: 4 Folder : 2 Italian American Democratic Leadership Council
1986
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Italian American Institute to Foster Higher Education
1982
Box: 4 Folder : 4 IALC Contributions & Donations
1967-1989
Box: 4 Folder : 5 IALC: History
1941-1983
Box: 4 Folder : 6 Italian Hospital
1965-1975
Box: 4 Folder : 7 Italian Hospital Society
1973-1983
Box: 4 Folder : 8 Italy: IALC Delegation
1978
Box: 4 Folder : 9 Italy: Order of Merit
1979-1980
Box: 4 Folder : 10 Italy: Politics
1968-1979
Box: 4 Folder : 11 Italy: Trip - Educational Committee
1954
Box: 4 Folder : 12 Italy: Trip
1958
Box: 4 Folder : 13 Italy: Trip
1961
Box: 4 Folder : 14 Italy: Trip
1963
Box: 4 Folder : 15 Italy: Trip [ILGWU Local 89]
1967
Box: 4 Folder : 16 Italy: Trip [ILGWU Local 89]
1969
Box: 4 Folder : 17 Italy: Trip [ILGWU Local 89]
1971
Box: 4 Folder : 18 Italy: Trip
1973
Box: 4 Folder : 19 Italy: Trip
1978
Box: 4 Folder : 20 Italy: Trip
1981
Box: 4 Folder : 21 Italy: Trip [ILGWU Locals 89-48]
1983
Box: 4 Folder : 22 Italy: Trip [Canceled]
1985
Box: 4 Folder : 23 Italy: Trip
1987
Box: 4 Folder : 24 Italy: Trip
1988
Box: 4 Folder : 25 Italy: Visitors from
1978-1989
Box: 4 Folder : 26 LaGuardia Memorial House
1981-1982
Box: 4 Folder : 27 List of Officers
1978-1991
Box: 4 Folder : 28 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1964
Box: 4 Folder : 29 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1965
Box: 4 Folder : 30 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1966
Box: 4 Folder : 31 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1967
Box: 4 Folder : 32 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1968
Box: 4 Folder : 33 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1969
Box: 4 Folder : 34 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 35 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1971
Box: 4 Folder : 36 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1972
Box: 4 Folder : 37 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1973
Box: 4 Folder : 38 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1974
Box: 4 Folder : 39 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1975
Box: 4 Folder : 40 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1976
Box: 4 Folder : 41 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1977
Box: 4 Folder : 42 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1978
Box: 4 Folder : 43 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1979
Box: 4 Folder : 44 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1980
Box: 4 Folder : 45 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1981
Box: 5 Folder : 1 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1982
Box: 5 Folder : 2 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1983
Box: 5 Folder : 3 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1984
Box: 5 Folder : 4 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1985
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1986
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1987
Box: 5 Folder : 7 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1988
Box: 5 Folder : 8 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1989
Box: 5 Folder : 9 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1990
Box: 5 Folder : 10 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1991
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1993
Box: 5 Folder : 12 Luncheon (Four Freedoms Award)
1994
Box: 5 Folder : 13 Luncheon: Dr. Giuseppe Lupis
1969
Box: 5 Folder : 14 Luncheon: Dr. Vito La Rocca
1962
Box: 5 Folder : 15 Luncheon: Reunification
1958
Box: 5 Folder : 16 Luncheon: Testimonial to Egidio Ortona
1960
Box: 5 Folder : 16a Luncheon: Testimonial to Dr. Vito La Rocca
1962
Box: 5 Folder : 17 Luncheon: Testimonial to Giulio Pastore
1955
Box: 5 Folder : 18 Matteotti Assassination (Pamphlet by G. Modigliani)
1945
Box: 5 Folder : 19 Matteotti, Circolo (Open Letter to Fortune Pope)
1956
Box: 5 Folder : 20 Matteotti: International Symposium
1975
Box: 5 Folder : 21 Molisani Memorial
1987
Box: 5 Folder : 22 National Italian American Coordinating Association
1975-1987
Box: 5 Folder : 23 National Italian American Foundation
1978-1987
Box: 5 Folder : 24 New York City Central Labor Council
1989-1993
Box: 5 Folder : 25 New York City Central Labor Council
1994-1996
Box: 5 Folder : 26 New York State AFL-CIO
1992-1995
Box: 5 Folder : 27 Noto, Mario
1975-1979
Box: 5 Folder : 28 Order Sons of Italy in America
1988-1995
Box: 5 Folder : 29 Parola del Popolo
1969-1980
Box: 5 Folder : 30 Pernicone, Santo
1988-1994
Box: 5 Folder : 31 Publicity
1980
Box: 5 Folder : 32 Queens College
1979-1983
Box: 5 Folder : 33 Sevola d'Italia
1979-1980
Box: 5 Folder : 34 Spilotro, Nicholas (Bio.)
undated
Box: 5 Folder : 35 Stratiesky, Barbara
1965-1971
Box: 5 Folder : 36 Turismo di Ritorno
1980-1986
Box: 5 Folder : 37 Unione Italiana del Lavoro
1980-1986

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