The Jewish Labor Committee was formed in February, 1934, by Yiddish-speaking immigrant trade union leaders. In the beginning the purpose was to rescue Jews and Trade Unionists from certain death at the hands of Nazis. The JLC’s leadership helped secure U.S. visas for 2000 union leaders and their families in Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Belgium. The JLC also raised almost $300,000 to buy weapons that were smuggled into the Warsaw Ghetto. Following the war, the Jewish Labor Committee helped settle refugees and helped them find jobs and set up a Holocaust education program
In 1951 the Jewish Labor Committee, through the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), became the official the voice of labor in the Jewish community, speaking in the name of 500,000 North American workers. It was also the voice of the Jewish community in the labor community. The JLC focused more on domestic issues, such as anti-discrimination, desegregation and civil rights, the Grape boycott, and the development of trade union human rights programs. It has also worked Soviet Jewry. The JLC organizes support for Israel among the labor community.
More recently the National Jewish Labor Committee has focused on the Hyatt Hotel Boycott, supporting Walmart workers as they demand respect and decent working conditions, and immigration reform.