Open main menu

Jacob Potofsky

Jacob Samuel Potofsky (November 26, 1894 – August 5, 1979) was a Ukrainian-born American trade unionist, best known as second president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, succeeding founder Sidney Hillman.



After emigrating to the United States, Potofsky became an influential figure in the Labor history of the United States.[1]


As a teenager, Potofsky moved to Chicago, and, in 1914 joined the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.[2] Potofsky gained power in the union, become a close partner of Sidney Hillman. In 1946 he succeeded Hillman as president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, a post he held until 1972.[2] Potofsky was noted for his ability to reconcile differences within a union or between union and employer. He was, however, staunchly pro-labor, warning workers that "What you earn at the bargaining tables can be taken away in the legislative halls."[2] His work landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents.

Personal life and deathEdit

Potofsky died in New York City of cancer in 1979.

After his death, the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America issued a statement hailing Potofsky, saying that "The life and times of Mr. Potofsky are inextricably interwoven with the growth and stability of the American Labor movement."[2]


Following his death, President Jimmy Carter issued a statement recognizing Potofsky as "one of the giants of the labor movement"[1]


  • Autobiographical essay in American Spiritual Autobiographies: Fifteen Self-Portraits (1948)[3]
  • "The Pioneering of Workers' Banks" (1963)[4]


  1. ^ a b Peters, Gerhard. "Death of Jacob Potofsky Statement by the President". American Presidency Project: Jimmy Carter.
  2. ^ a b c d "Jacob Potofsky, Longtime Head of Clothing Workers, Dies at 84" (PDF). New York Times. 6 August 1979. pp. D9. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  3. ^ Potofsky, Jacob S. (1948). "Jacob S. Potofsky". In Finkelstein, Louis. American Spiritual Autobiographies: Fifteen Self-Portraits. Harper and Brothers. pp. 226–242. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  4. ^ Potofsky, Jacob S. (May 1963). "The Pioneering of Workers' Banks". The Federationist: Official Monthly Magazine of the AFL-CIO. Retrieved 28 January 2018.

External linksEdit

  • Staff report (June 28, 1973). Lists of White House 'Enemies' and Memorandums Relating to Those Named. New York Times
  • Letter to Mrs. Morton Baum on the occasion of the death of her husband, August 1963.