Asian Garment Workers in New York City Oral History Collection (OH 018)

Black and white photograph of ILGWU and Local 23-25 members supporting the J.P. Stevens boycott.The collection consists of ten interviews of garment workers who came to New York City from Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and California. A majority of the interviews were conducted with members and staff of the  International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU) (especially Local 23-25) and its successor organization the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees (UNITE). NYU History undergraduate Bichiluyen Nguyen conducted five of the interviews as part of an internship in the History Department in 1989. In 2004, five additional interviews related to the labor movement in Chinatown garment shops were recorded by Winifred C. Chin, a visiting scholar at the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program at NYU.

Topics covered include immigration to the United States, working conditions, joining the ILGWU, major strikes, the effects of globalization on the garment industry and unions, and unique challenges in organizing in the Asian American community. Interviews were conducted in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese, and indexes or transcripts exist in English for all interviews. The collection also includes Jay Mazur’s “Globalization and Governance” and “Globalization’s Dark Side” as attachments.

To learn more about the Asian Garment Workers in New York City Oral History Collection, located at the NYU Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, view the collection’s finding aid.