Kate Mullany

Kate Mullany (1845-1906) was an early female labor leader who started the all-women Collar Laundry Union in Troy, New York in February 1864. It was one of the first women's unions that lasted longer than the resolution of a specific issue.[1][2]


Kate Mullany was an Irish immigrant who, with her co-workers Esther Keegan and Sarah McQuillan, organized approximately 300 women into the first sustained female union in the country, the Collar Laundry Union, in 1864. Mullany went on to be its president and was elected second vice-president of the National Labor Union.

Only 23 years old at the time, Mullany led a successful 6-day strike in 1864 to increase wages and improve working conditions.[3][4]

In 1869 she married John Fogarty and her obituary was listed under her married name (as a respectable Irish Catholic woman would insist be proper).[5] She died in 1906 and was buried in the Fogarty family plot in St. Peter's Cemetery, Troy, New York.[6]

The Kate Mullany House, at 350 8th Street in Troy, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998,[7] and became a National Historic Site in 2008.[1][3]

In 2000, Mullany was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[2] She has been honored by the New York State Senate,[8] and her home is on the Women's Heritage Trail.[9]

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