|Merged into||National Union of Textile Workers|
|Key people||Allen Gee (Gen Sec)|
|Office location||1 Kirkgate Buildings, Kirkgate, Huddersfield|
The union was founded in 1881 following a strike at Newsome Mills in Huddersfield. Initially known as the Huddersfield and District Power Loom Weavers' Association, it led a major strike of 4,000 weavers for thirteen weeks in 1883. The strike was ultimately defeated; although a pay scale was agreed, this was a maximum rate, and mills could pay lower rates. The union added "Woollen Operatives" to its name, gradually attracting a more diverse membership. It also began accepting members elsewhere in the West Riding, and in 1894 became the West Riding of Yorkshire Power Loom Weavers' Association, with membership over 3,000.
Allen Gee became the union's general secretary in 1888. Under his leadership, it survived through a decline to only 2,300 members in 1898, and changed its name to the General Union of Weavers and Textile Workers the following year. Now seeing itself as an industrial union accepting as members all workers in the industry, this marked the start of rapid growth. Membership rose to 4,500 in 1910, of which almost half were women - unusual for a union of the period - then to 13,400 in 1914, when it became the "General Union of Textile Workers", and 64,000 by 1918.
In 1922, the union merged with the National Society of Dyers and Finishers and the Yeadon, Guiseley and District Factory Workers' Union, forming the National Union of Textile Workers.
The union sponsored Ben Turner as a Labour Party candidate in several Parliament elections, and from 1922 he served as a Member of Parliament.
|1908 by-election||Dewsbury||Ben Turner||2,446||20.2||3|
|1918 general election||Batley and Morley||Ben Turner||12,051||47.1||2|
|1922 general election||Batley and Morley||Ben Turner||15,005||46.2||1|
- Arthur Marsh, Victoria Ryan and John B. Smethurst, Historical Directory of British Trade Unions, vol.4, p.245
- Labour Party (1918), Report of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Labour Party, p.192
- "Appendix III: List of sanctioned candidates, June, 1922". Report of the Twenty-second Annual Conference of the Labour Party: 116–126. 1922.. Note that this list is of the sanctioned candidates as of June 1922, and there were some changes between this date and the general election.
- Hugh Armstrong Clegg, A History of British Trade Unions Since 1889: 1889-1910, p.184
- Ben Pimlott and Chris Cook, Trade unions in British politics: the first 250 years, p.32