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Total Conservation Cost: $1,400

In commemoration of this 40th anniversary of the 1982 Garment Workers Strike, please consider helping us fund the conservation of this poster documenting this historic collective action! Any amount–large or small–helps!

If you would like to make a contribution towards its conservation, please click to navigate to MOCA’s Sponsor an Object Donate Page and be sure to type in “1982 Garment Workers Strike Poster” as the Object Name.

Details of Damage:

Note the warping and deformations on the surface that would benefit from humidification and flattening treatment.
The bottom right clearly shows some sort of accretion on the edge of the ILGWU union made label.
Tideline staining due to water damage are most visible all along the edges of the poster.
The small irregular darker orange dotting on the poster are the result of color bleeding caused by water damage.

Object Story and Significance:

Forty years ago on June 24, 1982, as many as 20,000 garment workers and their supporters rallied at Columbus Park in one of the largest demonstrations of worker unity and collective strength in New York Chinatown history. At the time of the strike, Chinatown garment workers numbered 25,000-strong, 80 percent of whom were Chinese immigrant women. Proudly donning union hats and raising picket signs proclaiming “We are one!,” they joined the strike to defend a newly negotiated union contract which would mandate that employers raise their pay by $1.15, provide them with one additional paid holiday, and increase employer contributions to workers’ healthcare. Cowed by the immense pressure of such a massive collective action, one by one, they forced the majority of Chinatown garment subcontractors to reluctantly sign the new contract. To target the remaining holdouts, this large bilingual poster called on workers to turn out for a second rally on July 15th. The poster, measuring 20 by 29 inches, printed in a conspicuous orange, and posted where workers would have seen it, would have signaled support for the strike action by all whose walls and doors it hung on, even as it reminded and exhorted from workers a second near universal turnout. The message of this poster was bolstered by countless everyday conversations, phone banking, and leafleting by thousands of courageous and resolute women, who put hard work into organizing and mobilizing their friends and fellow workers. Due to their efforts in this second historic rally, workers finally secured victory: by its end, they got every Chinatown subcontracting firm still holding out to sign the new union contract, winning much needed pay increases and benefits for their families.

2005.009.002 Women at garment workers’ strike and rally at Columbus Park, Chinatown. Photograph taken by Paul Calhoun, 1982. Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Collection. 唐人街哥伦布公园服装工人罢工和集会的妇女。照片由 Paul Calhoun 拍摄,1982 年。美国华人博物馆 (MOCA) 馆藏。

Post-Fire Condition:

Due to exposure to humidity and water, the poster’s surface shows signs of warping and deformation and the poster’s edges show evidence of tideline staining. Small accretions, including possibly a dead insect, has stuck to its surface.

With the support of your donation, we would:

  • Dry clean its surface as possible
  • Reduce some of the tideline stains at the top and bottom of the front as possible
  • Remove accretions
  • Humidify and flatten as possible