November 18, 2004
Contact:  Mike Wojnar, Press Secretary
 

CLINTON-McNULTY BILL HONORING KATE MULLANY PASSES CONGRESS

Kate Mullany National Historic Site Poised to Become a Reality

 

(Washington, DC) - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Congressman Mike McNulty (D-Green Island) praised the House of Representatives' passage of legislation designating the Kate Mullany House in Troy, New York as a National Historic Site. Senator Clinton's legislation, which was approved in the Senate in September, was approved by the House of Representatives yesterday, and now heads to the President for signature.

The legislation passed by Congress designates the Kate Mullany House as a National Historic Site and affiliated area of the National Park System. As First Lady, Senator Clinton visited the site in 1998 as part of the "Save America's Treasures" program. Not only does this legislation honor Kate Mullany's work and life, but it would also authorize the National Park Service to provide important planning, interpretive, and preservation assistance. In the House, Representative McNulty introduced the companion bill to Senator Clinton's legislation."This legislation is an important tribute to Kate Mullany, and is also an important tribute to New York's rich history of women's and labor rights, and to the many individuals who fought so hard to improve the lives of women and workers across the nation," Senator Clinton said.

"Linking this site with the National Park System will attract New Yorkers and Americans to this wonderful site and showcase all that Troy has to offer," Senator Clinton said. "When the Kate Mullany project is fully completed, the rich and vibrant history of the American labor movement will be displayed in a wonderful location. And when people come to study this movement at the Kate Mullany site, they will know that the voices of the men, and especially the women, who led the American labor movement, have been preserved forever."

"It has been a real pleasure working with all those New Yorkers who want to highlight Kate Mullany's life. Paul Cole of the New York State AFL-CIO, and his board of labor, community and women leaders have each put in a lot of work on this issue for several years. I believe that it will be a tremendous addition for Troy, helping to revitalize an historic neighborhood and bring attention and resources to the city," Senator Clinton said.

Congressman McNulty said, "After nearly a decade, we are at the finish line. Establishment of the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy will bring long overdue recognition for the amazing life and accomplishments of an icon of the Capital Region's rich heritage and history. I am pleased to have helped bring Senator Clinton's legislation to the House floor and I am thrilled it has passed unanimously."

"I am so grateful to Senator Clinton for her hard work on this legislation, which really began during her 1998 visit to Troy as First Lady to designate the Mullany House as a National Historic Landmark. She continues to be a tireless supporter of working families in the Capital Region, across New York State, and throughout America. And I cannot say enough about the contributions and efforts of Senator Joe Bruno, the past and present Mayors of the City of Troy, Paul Cole and the New York State AFL-CIO, local historians Rachel Bliven and Paul Bray, and countless others who have helped bring this project to fruition," McNulty added.

Paul Cole, Secretary Treasurer of the New York State AFL-CIO, said, "The passage by the House of Representatives designating the Kate Mullany House as a National Historic Site is a remarkable achievement. Credit goes to Congressman Mike McNulty and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and their staffs for their perseverance and their political skill in gaining bipartisan support for the legislation.

"We look forward to entering into a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service to provide technical, planning, interpretive, and construction assistance to preserve the Mullany House as well as their assistance in promoting, interpreting and researching the home and related sites."

"The City of Troy has a longstanding and extensive labor history, and this news today will go a long way in preserving the Kate Mullany legacy in the Collar City. I would like to thank Senator Clinton for all of her hard work in seeing this effort through to this point," said Troy Mayor Harry Tutunjian.

In June 2003, Senator Clinton introduced legislation to establish the Kate Mullany House in Troy as a National Historic Site. In October 2003, Senator Clinton testified in support of her legislation before a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee.

The Kate Mullany House, located at 350 8th Street in Troy, has been designated a National Historic Landmark. When Kate Mullany arrived in the United States, she went to work washing, starching, and ironing clothes at the nation's first commercial laundry in Troy. Kate Mullany and the other workers were required to work 14 hours a day for only $2 a week under harsh conditions. In February of 1864, Kate Mullany and 200 of her fellow female laborers organized the first women's labor union in the U.S., the "Collar Laundry Union." Together, they were a formidable force and, after striking for a week, they were able to secure a $.25 wage increase. The Collar Laundry Union continued as an influential force in the Troy collar and cuff industry for five years beyond its formation, which was very unusual for women's labor organizations at the time.

The New York State AFL-CIO, working in conjunction with the not-for-profit American Labor Studies Center, purchased the House. They plan to create a national Center of American Labor Studies at the Kate Mullany House, which they envision as both a significant repository and research site that will document the history of the American labor movement. This Center is envisioned to have a profound impact upon the revitalization of the Troy neighborhood, which includes the Kate Mullany House.

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