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David Dubinsky

Dubinsky, David (dōbĭnˈskē) [key], 1892–1982, American labor leader, president (1932–66) of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU), b. Brest-Litovsk, Poland. He was a baker in his father's shop in Lodz (then in Russian Poland), and after becoming active in the bakers' union, he was banished (1908) to a Siberian prison. He escaped and reached (1911) the United States, where he became a cloak cutter and joined the ILGWU. He rose rapidly through the ranks of the union and served as president from 1932 until his retirement in 1966. After 1932 he led in the expansion of membership of the ILGWU.

Although a vice president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), he led (1935–36) his union to join the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO; see American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). When the AFL suspended the CIO unions (1936), Dubinsky resigned from the AFL. He opposed, however, the establishment of the CIO on a permanent independent basis, and in 1938 he also broke with it, thus making the ILGWU independent until 1940 when it reaffiliated with the AFL. In 1936 he was one of the founders of the American Labor party in New York State. When it fell under Communist influence, he resigned and helped organize (1944) the Liberal party. In 1945 he again became a vice president and member of the executive council of the AFL, retaining the position after it merged with the CIO in 1955. His efforts at ousting corrupt union leaders culminated in the antiracket codes adopted by the AFL-CIO in 1957.

See biography by R. D. Parmet (2005, repr. 2012); M. D. Danish, The World of David Dubinsky (1957); .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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