RESEARCH DEPARTMENT ORGANIZATIONAL
Formed in 1937, the Research Department of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union
(ILGWU) supported the administrative operations of the Union and coordinated the ILGWU's
investigative operations. It provided union leaders with information on wages, working
conditions, economic conditions, and other matters in the women's garment industry; analyzed
information for the union; and monitored developments in the industry.
In addition to providing research for union leadership, Research Department staff prepared
materials for Congressional testimony, presented cases on behalf of local unions to the War
Labor Board, and worked to administer the Fair Labor Standards Act. At times, the director of
the Research Department represented the ILGWU in national forums.
The Department also maintained an extensive library, collecting and housing documents from
Union administrative staff that were deemed substantive and of lasting value to the Union,
whether produced internally or externally. The information gathered by the Department was of
particular value during labor disputes and contract negotiations.
Lazare Teper was the founding director of the ILGWU's Research Department, working in that
position from 1937 to 1980. Born in Russia sometime between 1906 and 1908, Teper later studied
at the University of Paris and earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins University. He died in New
York City in 1985.