The FEMALE PROTECTIVE UNION was a labor union organized in Cleveland in late 1850. The union, which had features of a mutual-aid society, was formed by about 50 sewing women to combat long hours, low wages, and merchants who refused to accept payment on orders at face value. At first, benevolent Clevelanders such as REBECCA ROUSE, concerned with the seamstresses' plight, offered conventional charitable aid, such as was given to the poor and sick (see PHILANTHROPY). The union refused to accept the dependent status associated with such aid (see WELFARE/RELIEF). Instead, the Female Protective Union desired a loan to facilitate marketing its goods. On 1 May 1851, the Female Cooperative Union Store opened. However, after some activity during Nov.-Dec. 1851, both it and the union dissolved.
See also LABOR.