International Fur & Leather Workers Union
|Full name||International Fur & Leather Workers Union|
|Union merger||Amalgamated Meat Cutters (United Food and Commercial Workers)|
|Affiliation||AFL, CIO, expelled for communist ties|
|Key people||Ben Gold, President|
|Office location||New York City|
The International Fur and Leather Workers Union (IFLWU), was a labor union that represented workers in the fur and leather trades. The IFLWU was founded in 1913 and affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
Radical union organizers, including Communists, played a role in the union from its early years. They took control using violence in the 1920s, and it became one of the major bases in the labor movement. Irving Howe says that the Communist used:
- shock troops, a sort of paramilitary vanguard handy with knives, belts, pikes.
The most active radical and long-time Communist Ben Gold, was president from 1935 until he was forced out by moderates in the 1940s.
In 1937, the IFLWU left the AFL and joined the new Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), led by John L. Lewis. Between 1949 and 1950, with Cold War tensions rising, the CIO expelled the IFLWU and 10 other unions that it accused of being "communist dominated."
In 1955, the union dissolved into the Amalgamated Meat Cutters union.
- Irving Howe, The World of Our Fathers (1976) pp 338-41, quote on page 339
- Steve Rosswurm, The CIO's Left-Led Unions (Rutgers University Press, 1992), pp. 159–181.
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