chapter  Chapter 5
19 Pages

Apostle of Industrial Peace

ByElisabeth Israels Perry

March 25, 1911, was a date few New Yorkers of the time would ever forget. Conditions in New York’s garment industry were chaotic and sordid. Employers’ associations formed to control competition and to counter the unions, but industrial warfare kept on. The manufacturers’ association in the cloak making trade was counseled by lawyer Julius Henry Cohen, a proponent of industrial peace. The protocol grievance procedure was the linchpin of the entire system: without it, unresolved disputes would drive the industry back into anarchy. Belle Israels, shortly to become Belle Moskowitz, had complete charge of Dress and Waist Manufacturers’ Association labor policy. In addition to running the grievance department, she “trained” the manufacturers in their protocol duties, worked with the union on membership problems, and promoted the industry’s modernization. “The industry needs practical methods and practical ideas and the new bureau will mean the biggest step forward the industry has yet taken.”