Courtesy of The Kheel Center

Clara Lemlich 1886-1982

From 1903, when she organized her fellow garment workers in New York's sweatshops, until the 1960s, when she rallied support for the United Farm Workers among staff at the Jewish nursing home where she lived, Clara Lemlich devoted her life to employment justice. A socialist and consumer activist, Lemlich had fled her native Ukraine for New York, where she became involved in the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. In 1909, she found her voice as a leader of the "Uprising of the 20,000" - the walkout of workers in the garment trade that eventually led to union contracts at every shop but the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.