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International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Southeast Regional Office records

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International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Southeast Regional Office records

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International Ladies Garment Workers Union [ILGWU], Southeast Regional Office:

A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
Fax: 404-413-2881

May 2001

Profile Description

Creation: Text converted and initial EAD tagging provided by Apex Data Services, May 2001.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator: International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Southeast Regional Office
TitleInternational Ladies Garment Workers Union, Southeast Regional Office records
Dates: 1945-1978
Quantity: 70 linear feet
Abstract:The collection consists of the records of the Southeastern Regional Office of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union from 1945-1980. Includes administrative records (1945-1977) containing correspondence to or from Jack Handler, Regional Counsel, Directors E.T. Kehrer, Martin J. Morand and Nick Bonanno; subject files relating to farm workers, the General Electric strike (1960), organizing activities in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and; the 1960 Presidential election; financial records; and departmental files. The reports series (1967-1978) consists of business agent and organizer weekly reports and membership shop reports detailing activities within various firms. The company files (1945-1975) contain materials relating to organizing, contract negotiation, arbitration, and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) cases. Includes information pertaining to a NLRB case involving Brewton Fashions, Inc.; a 1963 strike at the Oneita Knitting Mills and attempts to organize workers in the late 1960s at the Loray Corporation in Savannah, Georgia. The collection also contains photographs and motion pictures illustrating organizing efforts and women's fashions.
Identification: L1980-18

Scope and Content of the Records

The records of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), Southeast Regional Office (SERO), span the period 1945 to 1978. They include correspondence, financial records, activity reports, files related to the interactions of the union with garment manufacturers, clippings, photographs, and films, all documenting the work of this international union in the South. Organized in three series: Series I: Administrative Records, 1945 - 1977; Series II: Reports, 1967 - 1978; Series III: Companies, 1945 - 1974.

Biographical Notes on Southeast Regional Office Staff

Nicholas ("Nick") Salvatore Bonanno, born in 1927 (father Vito was Representative of the ILGWU New York Dress Joint Board and Business Agent for Local 89), a member of Local 89 of the ILGWU since 1947, is currently Director of the Southeast Region. He has assumed positions of increasing responsibility within the ILGWU framework for close to fifty years, and became one of the youngest Regional Directors and Vice-Presidents. After two years at the New York University School of Commerce (1944 - 1946), Bonanno worked as a dress operator in the New York Garment Center (1946 - 1950). Following attendance at the first ILGWU Training Institute (1950 - 1951), Bonanno became first an Organizer and Business Agent for the Southeast Region (1951 - 1955) in the Mississippi-Alabama area, and then a Supervisor (1953) in the Carolinas. Bonanno moved to Atlanta in December, 1955, where he was assigned Assistant Director. From 1966 to 1969, he was Associate Director of the Central Organizing Department in New York, and in April, 1969, was temporarily assigned Associate Director of the Upper South Department in Baltimore, Maryland. In October, 1969, Bonanno assumed his present post of Regional Director of the Southeast Region. At the International Convention in 1971, Bonanno was elected a Vice-President and was named a member of the General Executive Board. Several of Nick Bonanno's activities in the community during these records time period (1945 - 1978) included the: National Executive Committee, American Trade Union Council for Histadrut (1974); member of Atlanta's Community Relations Committee (1970); and Executive Committee, United Italian American Labor Council (1964).

Elmer Thomas ("E.T." "A1") Kehrer served as Assistant Director of the ILGWU's Officers Training Institute (1950 - 1953) following his work as a field representative for the American Federation of Labor's Worker Education Bureau. In 1953, Kehrer was appointed Associate Director of the ILGWU's Southeast Region and in 1954, became the Director. Kehrer remained the Director until 1964, when he was appointed Southern Area Director of the AFL-CIO's Civil Rights Department. (For further information about Kehrer see: AFL-CIO Southern Area Civil Rights Department, Records, 1962 - 1988 [89-17] and E.T. Kehrer, Papers, 1940 - 1989 [89-22], Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.)

Jack Glasel Handler was general counsel for the ILGWU's Southeast Regional Office c. 1964 until 1969. In January 1970, Handler became a law partner with Maynard Jackson in their firm, Jackson and Handler. At one time, Mr. Jackson had worked for the National Labor Relations Board.

Southeast Regional Office Staff:

1951John S. Martin, Director, Southern Region
1953 - 1954E.T. Kehrer, Associate Director, Southern Region
1954 - 1964E.T. Kehrer, Director, Southern Region
1958R.G. Towler, Resident Auditor
1960s - September 1963Robert Cohn, ILGWU Attorney
mid-1960s - late 1969Jack Handler, Regional Counsel, SERO
1968Ken Allen, Office Manager
July 1969William F. Roberts, Office Manager
1964 - June 1969Martin J. Morand, Director, Southeast Region
October 1969 - PresentNicholas S. Bonanno, Director, Southeast Region
January 1970Ben R. Mullins, Assistant Office Manager
March 1970Ben R. Mullins, Office Manager
1974Dean Bearden, Office Manager

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Bonanno, Nicholas S.
Handler, Jack G.
Kehrer, E. T., 1921-
Morand, Martin J.
Brewton Fashions
General Electric Company
Loray Corporation
Oneita Knitting Mills (Andrews, S.C.)
United States. National Labor Relations Board
Arbitration, Industrial--Southern States.
Clothing trade--Southern States
Collective bargaining--Clothing industry--Southern States
Labor unions--Clothing workers--Southern States
Labor unions--Clothing workers--Southern States
Presidents--United States--Election 1960
Strikes and lockouts--Clothing trade--Southern States
Collective labor agreements
Motion pictures


Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], [series title], International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Southeast Regional Office Records, L1980-18, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Donated by ILGWU, Nicholas S. Bonanno, June 10, 1983.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert C. Dinwiddie, Lee Eltzroth, Peter Roberts, M. Lee Sayrs, Jill Swiecichowski, Anne L. Tilden, November 1993. EAD finding aid created by Apex Data Services, May 2001; revised by William Hardesty, December 2005.

Related Material

Related materials in other repositories: A complementary collection, "Southeast Region. Records. 1937 - 1970", is located at the Labor-Management Documentation Center, M.P. Catherwood Library, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14851-0952 (telephone [607] 255-3183).

Related materials in this repository: AFL-CIO Southern Area Civil Rights Department Records, 1962 - 1988 (accession L 1989-17) and E.T. Kehrer Papers, 1940 - 1989 (L1989-22).

Separated Material

Separated material: During processing, pamphlets, photographs, and audiovisual materials were separated to other Southern Labor Archives collections. See List of Separated Material following Detailed Description of the Collection.

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