America lost one of the giants of the labor movement when Jacob Potofsky, the former president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, died on Sunday. His long and distinguished career spanned much of modern American labor history. As a teenager, just a few years after coming to America from the Ukraine, he worked with Sidney Hillman to establish the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. In 1946 he succeeded Hillman as union president, and for 26 years he worked tirelessly to create a modern, selfsufficient, democratic, and vibrant union. While never losing sight of the needs of his members, Jacob Potofsky also recognized the need for conciliation and cooperation in labor relations.
I share with his family, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, and the thousands of Americans who were touched by his life and his example, a sense of profound sadness at his death.