Schlossberg, Joseph

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SCHLOSSBERG, JOSEPH (1875–1971), U.S. trade union leader and journalist. Born in Koidanovo (now Dzerzhinsk), Belorussia, he went to the U.S. in the 1880s and worked in the sweatshops of the needle trade in New York City. The harsh and degrading working conditions among the immigrants in these places led him to join the radical left wing of the American socialist movement. He challenged Joseph *Barondess for leadership of the garment workers and broke with Morris *Hillquit, Meyer *London, and Abraham *Cahan over socialist policies and tactics. When Hillquit, London, and Cahan left the socialist labor party in 1898 and formed the more moderate socialist party, Schlossberg remained loyal to the revolutionary socialist labor party and edited the party's weekly Der Arbeyter. In 1913, during the strike of New York City men's tailors, Schlossberg supported the tailors against their parent organization, the United Garment Workers of America (ugwa), which opposed the strike. As a result of the conflict with the ugwa's national officials, the tailors formed their own local organization, the Brotherhood of Tailors, and elected Schlossberg secretary. In 1914 Schlossberg's supporters seceded from the ugwa convention and founded the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (acwa). The new organization elected Sidney *Hillman president and Schlossberg secretary-treasurer, and for the next 25 years they proved an able and successful team. As secretary-treasurer he administered the organization's accounts, edited the union's journal Advance and its seven foreign-language journals, and wrote books and pamphlets on the programs of the acwa, strenuously advocating social reform.

In 1940 Schlossberg resigned from office and devoted his time to community and Zionist affairs. Following the establishment of the State of Israel he worked for the *Histadrut, the Israel General Federation of Labor in the U.S., and became chairman of the American National Committee for Labor Israel. He believed that Israel's labor movement could achieve the socialist community that had eluded him in America.


Rejzen, Leksikon, 4 (1929), 670–2.

[Melvyn Dubofsky]