Feinstone, Morris

views updated


FEINSTONE, MORRIS (1878–1945), U.S. labor leader. Feinstone, born in Warsaw, was trained as a woodcarver there. After completing school he emigrated to England where he became president of a woodcarvers' union in London (1895). Later in Birmingham he was active in the beginnings of the British Labour Party. In 1910 Feinstone emigrated to the U.S. where he found employment in various skilled trades, securing permanent work in the umbrella industry. He soon became an official of the Umbrella Handle and Stick Makers' Union and an important figure in the United Hebrew Trades, an organization which sheltered the smaller and weaker American Jewish trade unions. Feinstone was a close associate of the organization's outstanding leader, Max Pine, whom he succeeded as United Hebrew Trades' secretary in 1928. Feinstone continued Pine's policy of supporting the socialist labor sector in Jewish Palestine through the Histadrut. He also represented the United Hebrew Trades on the executive board of the Central Trades and Labor Council of Greater New York, wrote articles in the New York Call and the Yiddish Jewish Daily Forward endorsing socialism and labor Zionism, and worked for the establishment of an independent labor party. With the advent of the New Deal, Feinstone's socialist teachings were incorporated by the American Labor Party, which satisfied his desire for a working class political organization. Thereafter, until his death he concentrated on obtaining support for Jewish labor in Palestine.

[Melvyn Dubofsky]