Dallas Cutters Local: My granddad’s union

You might think a man who married thirteen (or so) times wouldn’t have much energy to devote to anything but women, but in the early 1940s my mom’s father (above, left) was founding president of the Dallas Cutters Local Union, part of the Garment Workers’ Union.

When my grandmother met her future husband, they both worked for Justin McCarty. She was, I believe, the office manager; Robert Bruce was a designer and pattern drafter. According to my mom, “Mr. McCarty would say of my dad that he was a real genius of the business and would go far if he would leave the bottle alone.”

If you’re interested in unions — or require further proof that they actually existed in Texas — you can trace formation of the cutters’ group after the jump.

In this story, dated June 11, 1941, Robert Bruce announces a celebration of the group’s formation.

And in this story, dated June 16, 1941, a member of the union cheers the progress of the labor movement since the days of his father and grandfather.

By July 1, 1941, the officers were installed and an application for elections in Dallas cutting rooms had been filed with the NLRB.

The union clippings end there. Robert Bruce was soon divorced and on the way to his next venture.

Related bookmark: The Wirtz Labor Library, established in 1917, is evidently one of the oldest Cabinet-level libraries. Its collection documents “the history of labor, labor unions, and the growth and development of the labor movement in a national and world context.”


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