Chapter 8 – Rise of the London Jewish Bakers Union

by Jason Lever

Posted on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 14:48:38 GMT

Jewish baking in the East End and their American counterparts

In his “Jewish Landlords, Jewish Tenants”, Jerry White argues that ‘class divisions fractured East End Jewry’ during a period of local union and political radicalism at the turn of the century. He cites masters being assaulted by striking bakery workers. During the 1912 tailors’ strike, the London Jewish Bakers Union, and the cigarette makers, provided free supplies! (ref: White, 1981; Fishman, 1981).

Each of the London Jewish Bakers Union’s loaves of rye and cholla breads came to display a little label proudly inscribed “Baked by Union Labour” – interestingly not Jewish Union Labour.

This came about through a small strike called by the union to improve the working conditions of its member bakers. They called for a trade union label on the bread so that the public could see that it originated in a bakery that observed trade union conditions. After a few weeks, they won this concession after the Jewish women of the East End refused to take any loaves offered in bakers’ shops or grocery stores that had no such label! (ref: Rocker).

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Echoing their London counterparts, a small square or circle of paper pasted on their baked goods were designed by the New York City Local 31’s Journeymen Bakers’ and Confectioners’ International to show customers that they were made by union members (ref: Balinska).

The banner of the London Jewish Bakers Union has pride of place in the foyer of The Jewish Museum in Camden Town, London, NW1.

As well as ‘Buy Bread with the Union Label’, it proclaims ‘Unity is Strength’, ‘Strong Loyalty – Right and Truth’ and ‘Workers of the World Unite’.

The United Ladies’ Tailoring Trade Union (of Jewish workers) similarly had the slogan of ‘For a Socialist Commonwealth, Toiling Tailors True Together’ (ref: Freedland).

Trades-Unions Jewish-Unions London-Jewish-Bakers-Union Political-Radicalism The-Jewish-Museum

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Chapter 1 - Introducing Solomon Lever and his l...Chapter 2 - The Jewish East EndChapter 3 - A family history of Solomon LeverChapter 4 - A Jewish East End education for Sol...Chapter 5 - Joining East End cultural and commu...Chapter 6 - Solomon as a cabinet makerChapter 7 – From cabinet maker to trade union g...Chapter 8 – Rise of the London Jewish Bakers UnionChapter 9 – Dealing with the challenges of a de...Chapter 10 – Solomon’s journey to Jewish trade ...Chapter 11 – Interlude of anarchism’s appeal to...Chapter 12 – Solomon Lever finds his home in th...Chapter 13 – The Liberal and Conservative partiesChapter 14 – The Labour Party consolidates its ...Chapter 15 – The appeal of East End councils’ s...Chapter 16 – The rise and fall of communist sup...Chapter 17 – Surging Labourism after the warChapter 18 – The Labour Party’s support for Zio...Chapter 19 – Short-lived Labour-Zionist honeymoonChapter 20 – Solomon Lever’s 1947 broadcast spe...Chapter 21 – Solomon Lever’s 1948 speech from t...Chapter 22 – Solomon Lever’s 1954 speech from t...Chapter 23 – Solomon Lever’s final TUC speech i...Chapter 24 – His Worshipful The Mayor and Mayor...Chapter 25 – Family connections in the Mayor’s ...Chapter 26 – Important social issues raised wit...Chapter 27 – The adbuction of Solomon LeverChapter 28 – Discovery of Solomon’s bodyChapter 29 – InquestChapter 30 – The death of Solomon LeverChapter 31 – Solomon’s funeral and obituaryChapter 32 – The death knell of the London Jewi...Chapter 33 – An appraisalChapter 34 – Bibliography