Scope and Contents
Title: Sue Ko Lee scrapbook on Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
Date (inclusive): 1937-1938
Lee, Sue Ko
(44 pages); 26 x 32.5 cm.
Collection number: larc.srp.0011
Accession number: 1995/065
Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Ave
San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
Abstract: Scrapbook belonging to Sue Ko Lee, a button hole machine operator at the National Dollar Store garment factory in San Francisco's
Chinatown, and member of the Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (CLGWU), Local 341.
Physical Location: Collection available on site.
Languages represented in the collection:
Material Specific Details: Scrapbook is unbound; some material has come loose from pages.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote
from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives and Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of
the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
Though scrapbook contents are from 1937-1938, the cover is entitled: ILGWU Golden Jubilee Convention, Atlantic City 1950
[Identification of item], Sue Ko Lee scrapbook on Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, larc.srp.0011, Labor Archives Research
Center, San Francisco State University.
Donated by Sue Ko Lee in 1995, accession number 1995/065.
Sue Ko Lee was a member of the Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. After working at the National Dollar Store/Golden
Gate Manufacturing, Sue Ko Lee became a business agent at another garment factory, then secretary of the union local and the
San Francisco Joint Board, as well as a delegate to the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union national convention.
In the 1930s, the garment industry was the largest employer in San Francisco's Chinatown and employees worked in sweatshop
conditions, earning low wages. In response to these conditions, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU)
organized a campaign to keep work from flowing out of union shops to Chinese manufacturers and established the Chinese Ladies'
Garment Workers' Union, Local 361 in 1937. Under the leadership of ILGWU organizer Jennie Matyas, a successful union election
was won at the National Dollar Store factory for better wages in 1938. The owner, a prominent Chinatown businessman, quickly
sold the facility to Golden Gate Manufacturing, a supposedly new company, headed by the factory manager and another former
National Dollar Store employee. This supposed change of ownership allowed management to disregard the hard won contract.
Seeing this move as an attempt to break the union, the workers went on strike, picketing the factory and its three retail
stores in San Francisco for 15 weeks before the owner finally negotiated with the workers to settle a contract.
Scope and Contents
Scrapbook belonging to Sue Ko Lee, a button hole machine operator at the National Dollar Store garment factory in San Francisco's
Chinatown, and member of the Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (CLGWU), Local 341. Scrapbook contains newspaper clippings,
bulletins and photographs pertaining to the CLGWU, mostly concerning the strike at the National Dollar Store/Golden Gate Manufacturing
in 1938. Contains a few images of Sue Ko Lee, and International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) organizer Jennie Matyas.
Includes bi-lingual invitation to CLGWU dinner party celebrating the opening of its Chinatown headquarters.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Chinese Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
National Dollar Stores Strike, 1938 -- San Francisco (Calif.).
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
Golden Gate Manufacturing (San Francisco, Calif.)
Strikes and lockouts -- Clothing trade -- California -- San Francisco.
Women labor union members -- California -- San Francisco.
Women clothing workers -- California -- San Francisco.
Chinese American women -- California -- San Francisco.
Lee, Sue Ko -- Portraits
Matyas, Jennie, 1895-1988 -- Portraits