Labor Organizer Sol Stetin, 95, Dies

Published May 27, 2005, issue of May 27, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Sol Stetin, a dedicated pioneer of the American labor movement for more than 70 years and a past president of the Textile Workers Union of America, died in St. Louis on May 21 due to complications from leukemia. He was 95 years old.

In the 1970s, Stetin fought for the rights of textile workers in the South, where he helped unionize workers at the J.P. Stevens Company. That campaign was the basis for 1979 film “Norma Rae,” which starred Sally Field.

Stetin was born in Pabianice, Poland. In 1921, at the age of 10, he immigrated with his family to the “Silk City” of Paterson, N.J. During the Depression, Stetin worked in a dye shop, joined a union and became an organizer.

He resigned as president of TWUA in 1976 to facilitate a successful merger with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Stetin served on the executive council of the AFL-CIO and as an executive vice president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, now known as Unite/Here! until his retirement.

The organizer received a number of awards, including an honorary doctorate from Rutgers University in 1961 and the Puffin Foundation’s Heroes and Heroines of Social Conscience Award in 1999. In retirement he helped found Haledon, N.J.’s American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark, which has grown into a model for labor education.

In 2001, after 80 years in Paterson, he moved with his wife, Frieda, to St. Louis, where he became an active member of the St. Louis chapter of Jobs With Justice and a member of the St. Louis Worker Rights Board.

In his honor, contributions can be made to the American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark or to Jobs With Justice to fund an annual Sol Stetin fellow.






Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.