Zaritsky, Max

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ZARITSKY, MAX (1885–1959), U.S. labor leader. Zaritsky was born in Petrikov, Russia, and was taken to the U.S. in 1905. He became active in the cap and millinery workers' union, rising to president by 1919. Thereafter, he fought to establish union standards throughout the chaotic trades, succeeding with the aid of the New Deal. He was responsible for stabilization and union-management cooperation in his industry. Active in pressuring labor support for national unemployment insurance and for afl-cio unity, his socialist heritage was tempered as head of the United Hat, Cap, and Millinery Workers. While ousting Communist influence from his union, he never abandoned the hope for independent labor political action. In 1936 he helped establish the American Labor Party and was a presidential elector for Franklin D. Roosevelt. After 1944 he joined the Liberal Party. A labor Zionist, Zaritsky believed in a Jewish state. As chairman of the American Jewish Trade Union Committee for Palestine, Zaritsky worked, after World War ii, on behalf of unrestricted immigration to Palestine and for an independent Jewish Commonwealth. His papers are in Tamiment Library, New York University.


D.B. Robinson, Spotlight on a Union (1948); New York Times (May 11, 1959), 27 (obituary).

[Kenneth Waltzer]