Jacob Potofsky

Jacob Potofsky was a clothing workers organizer “renowned for his skills as a conciliator within the union movement,” who had “the poise of a diplomat.”

Jacob Potofsky was born in 1894 in Radomyshl, a cotton-milling city in Russian Ukraine. When Jacob was 11, he moved with his family to Chicago, and at 14 he started working for $3 per week at a men’s clothing factory. In 1913, Potofsky became a union office manager of the clothing workers’ union, later called Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. In 1916 he came to New York to assist with opening new headquarters for the union. At the time of Kosti’s visit, Potofsky was general secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated, and two years later, he would become the president. “Labor leaders often came to him for counsel on complex issues.”