The Industrial Union of Needle Trades Workers and the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union are distinctive because they were formed by immigrants, who imported leftist ideologies from Europe while also adapting these radical values to North American urban culture.
Thus, by familiarizing the workers with industrial trade unionism, the Catholic unions helped to lay the groundwork for the organizational drive and famous strike led by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union in 1937.
Green's study of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America in New York and the Federation de l'habillement in Paris shows that when labor disputes erupted, they were often grounded in workers' attempts to achieve a modicum of stability within this unpredictable field.
During the Civil Rights era, African-Americans engaged in acrimonious confrontations with leaders of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) over the question of access to skilled employment and to leadership positions within the ILGWU itself.
After a number of tours and conferences in Mexico and the US, in November 1989 Mujer a Mujer organized the "First International Union Women's Exchange of Experiences" in Mexico City, with 50 women from Guatemala, Korea, Mexico, and the US - including workers organized by the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and Asian Immigrant Worker Advocates.