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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

NYC labor history on display

The story of New York’s labor movement is told by each new generation of workers and activists, adding voice to the chorus of a social and political movement that helped transform a city and a nation. On May 1, International Workers Day, the Museum of the City of New York opened a new exhibit that focuses on this important, fascinating and on-going story.


The exhibit, “City of Workers, City of Struggle, How Labor Movements Changed New York,” traces the history of organized labor in New York City from its beginnings with organizing in the early 1800s by local artisans through the intense worker struggles throughout the 20th century to the inclusive, diverse movement that it has become. The exhibit includes a variety of artifacts and interactive displays to enhance the narrative.

DC 37 is featured prominently in “City of Workers.” In particular, the exhibit displays highlights the role the union played in saving the city from bankruptcy during the dark days of the “1970s” fiscal crisis.

The show also includes interactive displays, including working sewing machines recovered from old sweatshops, and extensive materials, such as rare pamphlets, buttons, banners and other paraphernalia collected from centuries of organized labor history in New york.

The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Ave. at East 103rd St. For more information about this and other events, check out its website at The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 20, 2020.