Courtesy of Corbis-Bettmann
When he was just 14, Sidney Hillman abandoned rabbinical studies in his native Lithuania and organized an illegal Jewish trade union - taking the first step on his lifelong path as a progressive and visionary labor leader. Fleeing Czarist Russia in 1905, he made his way to Chicago, where his leadership during a 1910 citywide garment workers' strike planted the seeds of his later prominence as a founder and president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Hillman was a founder of the Committee for Industrial Organizing, and a labor adviser to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hillman laid the groundwork for constructive cooperation with employers, arbitration, and fair labor standards in the United States.