This collection contains the membership register and Strike Attendance Book, 1883-1884 of the Tailoresses' Association of Melbourne. The Pressers' Union, which had formed in 1884, amalgamated with the Cutters' & Joiners' Union in 1902 to form the Victorian Clothing Operatives' Union.
The Tailoresses' Association of Melbourne, formed in 1880, was the first Australian trade union focussing on women workers. The Association first met in response to an attempt by manufacturers to reduce the piece-rate wages of garment makers many of whom worked at home. Workers went on strike in 1883 for better conditions which were eventually granted by employers. The strike is generally regarded as instrumental in the establishment of the Shops Commission and the eventual passage of the Factory Act 1885. In 1906, the Tailoresses' Union amalgamated with the Tailors' Society. The Associationâ€™s first minute book is among Pre-Federation trade union minute books on the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World register.
As different elements of the trade were incorporated the name changed to the Federated Clothing & Allied Trades Union in 1922, the Amalgamated Clothing & Allied Trades Union in 1924 and the Clothing & Allied Trades Union of Australia in 1947. In 1992, another change of name was effected, this time to the Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union of Australia.