Paul F. Cole on Kate Mullany and America's First All-Female Union
A Zoom presentation sponsored by the New York Labor History Association will be held at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, March 23, 2022. The event is cosponsored by the Tamiment Library-Wagner Labor Archives, Labor Arts, and the American Labor Studies Center. It will be hosted by Paul Cole, a NYLHA board member and executive director of the American Labor Studies Center. The ALSC owns and is restoring Mullany’s home In Troy, New York.
The presentation will feature the story of Kate Mullany, a young Irish immigrant, who formed and led America’s first bona fide all-female union. She led 400 co-workers on a successful strike in February 1864. The Troy Collar Laundry Workers Union became the first sustained all-women’s union in the United States that was part of the broader labor movement.
In 1869, Kate Mullany became the first woman to serve as an officer of a national union by William Sylvi’s National Labor Union. Mullany’s house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and dedicated by then First Lady Hillary Clinton. It became a National Historic Site, a unit within the National Park System, by an Act of Congress in 2004.
Mullany was inducted into the Women’s National Hall of Fame in 2000 and the International Labor Hall of Fame in 2016.