For more than 40 years, Vice President Jay Mazur, who has retired as president of UNITE, has bettered the lives of the members of his union and of workers around the world through his skillful, imaginative and persuasive leadership and his unshakable personal faith in the power of the labor movement as a force for human rights and social justice.
In the years before his election as president of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) and later to the AFL-CIO Executive Council in 1986, Vice President Mazur had devoted his entire career to the service of the members of his union. Starting out as an ILGWU local organizer in New York when he was only 18, attending college and graduate school at night, Mazur rose to become the elected manager of Local 23-25 in the New York garment industry, one of the union’s largest local unions.
In 1996, he helped to bring about the historic merger of the ILGWU with the Amalgamated Clothing & Textile Workers Union. He was elected as the first president of the new union, which under his leadership has been dedicated to an invigorated program of organizing and innovative collective bargaining.
Over his years of dedication to his union, Mazur pioneered such advances as organizing immigrant workers and offering free, comprehensive immigration legal services to union members. Mazur provided the leadership for the successful creation of day care centers in the workplace that became a model not only in the garment industry but also for other unions.
As a vice president of the AFL-CIO, Mazur’s wide-ranging leadership skills, trade union experience and personal eloquence have helped to shape the full spectrum of federation policy. As a member of the Executive Council and as chair of a range of key committees, he has been instrumental, as well, in the implementation of programs that have helped to advance the goals of organizing, economic and industrial policy, international trade, immigration reform, fuller participation in their unions by women and people of diverse ethnic backgrounds, and for the recognition of the importance of trade union solidarity and support for union organizing around the globe.
In recognition and appreciation of his diligent and inspired service to his union, to this federation and to the struggle for peace, freedom, dignity and justice for working people everywhere, the Executive Council extends to Vice President Mazur the heartfelt thanks of the men and women of the unions of the AFL-CIO.