November 20, 1896 - December 6, 1965
Rose Pesotta was an anarchist, feminist labor organizer and vice president
within the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.
was born Rakhel Peisoty in Derazhnia, Ukraineon Nov. 20, 1896. Her family were grain
merchants, Pesotta was educated in both formal and informal settings during her childhood.She was exposed to the works of anarchists like Bakunin through both her father's libraryand in a local anarchist underground, and she would eventually adopt anarchist views.
Her parents arranged a marriage for her, but she did not approve,
so in 1913 she emigrated to New York City and became a seamstress in a shirtwaist factory.
Pesotta joined ILGWU Local 25, which (influenced by the 1909 shirtwaist strike) was led by women and was heavily involved in activism and education of seamstresses. On
behalf of the local, she researched the Sacco and Vanzetti case, becoming a friend of Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
regularly wrote for union and anarchist publications in Yiddish and English. Along with Anna Sosnovsky, Fanny Breslaw and Clara Rothberg Larsen, she published Der
Yunyon Arbeter ("The Union Worker") between 1923 and 1927. From
1924 to 1928, Pesotta also contributed occasional articles to the anarchist newspaper Road to Freedom (the successor to Emma Goldman's Mother Earth).
Pesotta also regularly sought training, attending summer schools at Bryn Mawr and
Wisconsin in 1922 and 1930, and attending Brookwood Labor College, a school to train labor activists, from 1924-'26.
in the 1930s, Pesotta became a member of the ILGWU staff and regularly traveled to organize workers outside of New York. For example, in 1933, the ILGWU sent her to Los Angeles to organize garment workers. She organized the primarily Mexican immigrant garment
workers, which led to the Los Angeles Garment Workers Strike of 1933. Strikes were a rarity in this notoriously "open shop" city, and so her success
in Los Angeles led to her appointment as vice-president of the union in 1934 (only the third woman to be so chosen, following Fannia Cohn). In Montreal in 1937, her efforts
included work to transform the nascent movement from one focused on Jewish seamstresses to one that was also inclusive of French-speaking women. As a result, Catholic media suggested she be deported. She also worked in organizing efforts in Puerto Rico (1934), Akron, Milwaukee, and elsewhere.