Friday, July 14, 2006

International Bagel Bakers Union

Forthcoming documentary on the International Bagel Bakers Union of New York. The union, which was founded in 1907 and was one of the city's most powerful in its heyday, helped propel its 300 mostly Jewish, all-male members from typical immigrant poverty to the comfort of middle class at its height in the 1950s....The inception of the Local 338 — a secular, socialist and insular organization of mostly Polish immigrants — coincided with the labor movement that swept New York in the early part of the 20th century. Until the 1950s, meetings were held almost entirely in Yiddish, the mamaloshn of most of its members. "You had to either be born into or marry into the union, or have a relative who was a member," Goodman said. Members enjoyed benefits that many workers today would envy, including life insurance and comprehensive health care.

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