MICROFILM SERIES 2: DESCRIPTION OF THE RECORDS
Boot and Shoe Workers Union Records, 1895-1910
The BSWU's records in this collection number a little less than 300 pages and are organized in the topical arrangement developed by the union's staff. Most of the documents deal with one of two developments: first, the preliminaries to and the transcript of the debate between BSWU President John F. Tobin and Daniel DeLeon, head of the Socialist Labor Party, and, second, the dispute over the apparent intervention by AFL Vice-President James Duncan on the side of the W. L. Douglas Shoe Company in its fight with the union. In addition, a few scattered documents deal with the United Shoe Workers, a local controversy in San Francisco, and the AFL Union Label Committee.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Records, 1892-1927
The documents selected from the UBCJA's archives number more than 4000 pages and are generally arranged in the topical organization developed by the union's staff. The records reflect the history of a craft union in a rapidly changing industry engaged in fierce jurisdictional battles for survival. They also suggest the close alliances between the union's chief officials, especially Frank Duffy, and Samuel Gompers.
The files are grouped into two main divisions. The first is the American Federation of Labor series. It includes correspondence between the Carpenters and AFL affiliates, and between the Carpenters and various AFL subdivisions including state federations, central labor unions, the Building Trades Department, the Building and Construction Trades Councils, and the Metal Trades Department; minutes of trade union lobbyists' meetings; and correspondence dealing with such issues as Canadian membership in the AFL, child labor, communism, defense, disarmament, international labor organizations, the open shop campaign by employers, strikes, and unemployment. The second group of records is the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners series. It includes biographical material on Frank Duffy, Samuel Gompers, William D. Huber, and P. J. McGuire; letters dealing with companies to be boycotted as well as organizing campaigns; and two extensive groups of letters concerning jurisdictional disputes between the Carpenters and the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners and the Amalgamated Wood Workers International Union of America.
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America Records, 1914-1920
The Clothing Workers' records in this microfilm publication, numbering a little more than 150 pages, are arranged chronologically rather than by correspondent as they are filed at the Labor-Management Documentation Center. The papers are largely concerned with events following the United Garment Workers' convention of 1914 that culminated in the formation of the ACWA by dissident members of the United Garment Workers. These include the efforts made by Sidney Hillman and the other leaders to take over the name of the original union, the counterattack by the officials of the United Garment Workers, Bernard A. Larger and Thomas A. Rickert, the refusal of the AFL to recognize the new union or allow it to affiliate, and the attempt made by E. J. Brais, general secretary of the Tailors' Industrial Union, to merge his union with the Clothing Workers. References to Samuel Gompers and his leadership of the AFL are scattered throughout the correspondence.
International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union Records, 1914-1924
The nearly 500 pages of documents reproduced here from the archives maintained by the ILGWU are arranged by correspondent and chronologically thereunder, as are the original records. The ILGWU archives do not contain the papers of John A. Dyche (1867-1938), Gompers' closest ally in the union, who served as secretary-treasurer from 1904 to 1914. The papers in this edition consist largely of correspondence between Benjamin Schlesinger, Morris Sigman, Fannia Cohn, and Samuel Gompers. The correspondence deals with the ending of labor peace in the New York and Chicago garment trades after the destruction of the 1913 Protocol that had established the Board of Arbitration, the ILGWU's efforts to mediate between the AFL and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers, requests for AFL aid to striking garment workers, union concern that protection for garment workers not be eroded by war contractors, the proposed formation of a Needle Trades Department, postwar economic and political conditions, the International Federation of Trade Unions, the AFL Workers' Education Bureau, the AFL Publicity and Information Service, fascist efforts in the United States, ILGWU strikes, the organization of garment workers, the ILGWU interest in curbing immigration, communist activities, organizing women workers, and educational programs.
American Flint Glass Workers' Union of North America Records, 1894-1924
The approximately 500 pages of documents reproduced in this series were selected from the letterbooks of outgoing correspondence maintained by the American Flint Glass Workers at the union headquarters. The union did not preserve the letters received from Samuel Gompers or other AFL officials in its files although some incoming letters are reproduced in the letterbooks that date from the early 1890s. The documents are organized by author, usually the AFGWU president, and chronologically thereunder. The letters concentrate on the jurisdictional battles between the AFGWU, the Glass Bottle Blowers Association, and the International Association of Machinists, and on Samuel Gompers' efforts to resolve those disputes.
Series VI: United
Cloth Hat and Cap Makers of North America Records, 1903-1924
This series reproduces nearly 500 pages from the records of the UCHCM and is organized chronologically. The correspondence between Samuel Gompers and the union's leading officers generally concerns jurisdictional struggles within the headwear industry. Most prominent is the dispute between the United Hatters and the UCHCM concerning jurisdiction over straw hat makers and millinery workers. When the AFL decided the issue in favor of the Hatters in 1917, the UCHCM withdrew from the Federation. The AFL suspended the union in 1918. The correspondence thereafter deals with efforts to resolve the conflict by negotiation between the two unions.
Series VII: International
Hod Carriers', Building and Common Laborers' Union of America Records, 1903-1923
The documents reproduced in this series, which number a little less than 300 pages, are organized in a topical arrangement derived from the organization of the original documents and the microfilmed records housed at the Laborers' headquarters. The records deal with such issues as jurisdictional disputes in the building trades, organizing Mexican laborers, local organizing campaigns, and union president Domenico D'Alessandro's support for Sacco and Vanzetti.
Series VIII: United
Mine Workers of America Records, 1912-1922
The documents included in this series comprise almost 150 pages; they are organized in the filing system developed by the UMWA staff for its archives. The records include random items dealing with such issues as the use of injunctions and antitrust legislation against unions, efforts to stop Mexican immigrants from replacing striking railroad workers and coal miners in 1922, UMWA support for the Kansas Industrial Court in the face of AFL opposition, a 1912 strike in Briceville, Tenn., the AFL's strike fund, safety conditions in the mines, and the refusal of the UMWA to organize fire bosses in Pennsylvania.
Series IX: Brotherhood of
Painters and Decorators of America Records, 1890-1901
The series reproduces more than 100 pages of the Brotherhood's records, arranged chronologically; the documents focus on the split in the BPDA between eastern and western factions and the AFL's efforts to heal that split. They also deal with the AFL campaign for the eight-hour day in 1890, conflict between the AFL and the Knights of Labor, disputes in the Central Federation of Labor in New York in which the Socialist Labor Party was also involved, controversies involving the Baltimore Federation of Labor, and jurisdictional conflicts with the Carpenters and the Furniture Workers.
Series X: International Brotherhood of
Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers of the United States and Canada Records, 1906-1924
Fourteen hundred pages of documents, copied from the microfilmed records of the BPSPMW, focus from 1906 to 1908 on the feud with the International Brotherhood of Paper Makers (IBPM) that followed the Pulp Workers' secession from the IBPM in 1906. Included are copies of correspondence between the BPSPMW and representative local unions, as well as between the union and Samuel Gompers, concerning the bitter struggle with the IBPM and the AFL's efforts to settle the conflict. The remaining documents, which date from 1911 because the files for 1909 and 1910 were not present on the BPSPMW's microfilm of its records, deal with jurisdictional claims and disputes involving the BPSPMW, contributions to the McNamaras' defense, support for the Danbury Hatters, the situation in Canada as seen by the AFL, the AFL's support for the national war effort, AFL strategy to counter the open shop movement, attempts to restrict immigration, the International Federation of Trades Unions, the AFL's opposition to communism and the Soviet Union, the AFL's non-partisan and third party political activities, political prisoners, and organizing women workers. This collection is organized by year and then topically by type of organization as were the records on the original microfilm from which the documents were selected.
Series XI: Brotherhood of
Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employes Records, 1920-1924
The records reproduced from the BRSC papers, numbering a little more than 125 pages, are organized chronologically rather than according to the very detailed filing system developed by the union's staff. These letters, which begin in 1920, cover such issues as the AFL's effort to enlist the railroad brotherhoods in cooperative lobbying efforts, organizing black workers, the International Federation of Trade Unions, unemployment in the railroad industry, the jurisdictional claims made by the Railway Clerks, and the appointment of a representative from the brotherhoods to the AFL Executive Council.
Retail Clerks International Protective Association Records, 1912-1924
These 400 letters, reproduced from H. J. Conway's correspondence files, are organized chronologically. Consisting primarily of letters between Conway and Gompers, they discuss such issues as strikes conducted by the RCIPA, organizing campaigns, Sunday closing laws, Gompers' urging Conway to participate more actively on the Indiana commission to investigate the conditions of women workers, jurisdictional disputes between the Retail Clerks and the Teamsters, workmen's compensation, the Labor Forward Movement, labor's support for the war, the move to force all AFL affiliates to withdraw from the United Hebrew Trades, the open shop campaign conducted by employers, Industrial Workers of the World activities, and the need to organize women workers.
Series XIII: International
Seamen's Union of America Records, 1907-1924
This series, numbering a little more than 150 pages, is composed primarily of reports sent by Andrew Furuseth to his union detailing his lobbying activities in Washington. Those that refer to Samuel Gompers and the AFL's legislative activities have been reproduced here from a larger collection of reports. A few letters deal with the affiliation of the Marine Firemen, Oilers and Watertenders Benevolent Association in 1907. The papers reflect Furuseth's intense concern with the passage of a seamen's bill and amendments to the bill passed in 1915, but also include discussion of health and safety issues, ship subsidy legislation, immigration, and Furuseth's concern that international treaties might nullify the reforms for which he had lobbied.
Series XIV: International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Stablemen and Helpers of America Records, 1905-1924
Divided into three sections--Staff Correspondence, American Federation of Labor Correspondence, and Other Labor Organizations Correspondence--these 3600 pages of documents reproduced from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters collection reflect the IBT's character during the Gompers era as a frequent participant in jurisdictional battles. The Staff Correspondence section includes items selected from the files for Harvey Eddy, Thomas J. Farrell, Joseph Forkey, George F. Golden, Lawrence Grace, John Greary, William F. Hart, and Mary O'Neil, longtime secretary to Daniel J. Tobin. They deal with the secessionist movement carried on by the United Teamsters of America, Gompers' efforts to mediate that dispute, Daniel Tobin's election to the AFL Executive Board as treasurer, Tobin's role as AFL representative to the International Labor Conference, the AFL's electoral strategies, conflict between the IBT and AFL organizer Emmet T. Flood, conflict with the Brewery Workers, the Bakery Workers, and the Iron Workers, and AFL Executive Council business.
The American Federation of Labor Correspondence section, organized chronologically, begins with a few letters from the period when Cornelius Shea was president of the IBT. Starting in 1907 with Daniel J. Tobin's presidency, the correspondence grows more voluminous as it begins to deal with Gompers' efforts to mediate the split between the IBT and the United Teamsters of America and the jurisdictional battles in which the Teamsters were engaged. The most notable jurisdictional disputes include the Teamsters' struggles with the Brewery Workers, Bakery Workers, Retail Clerks, Meat Cutters, Longshoremen, Iron Workers, Railway Clerks, Street and Electric Railway Employees, and with federal labor unions representing such workers as newspaper deliverers, city employees, filling station employees, garbage collectors, shipping clerks, and dairy employees.
Once Tobin joined the AFL Executive Board in 1917, the letters exchanged between him, Samuel Gompers, and Frank Morrison dealt with the issues placed before the board including anti-child-labor legislation, the wartime no-strike pledge, decisions as to whether to charter new unions whose jurisdictions might conflict with existing AFL affiliates, the Alliance for Labor and Democracy, support for the war effort, the AFL Non-Partisan Political Campaign, dissension in the AFL led by John L. Lewis, opposition to radicalism and communism in the labor movement, the dispute with the Seattle Central Labor Union, and support for Robert La Follette's third-party presidential campaign. The correspondence, while concentrating on official business, contains some letters of a more personal nature including an exchange in 1917 in which Tobin criticizes Gompers for accepting honorariums for speeches, another in which Tobin refuses to serve on the Committee on Labor of the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense because Gompers would dominate the proceedings, Tobin's efforts to have an invalid son kept out of the army, and letters dealing with Gompers' declining health in 1923 and 1924. The third section contains only two letters between the Pattern Makers League of North America and Tobin concerning Gompers' death.
Series XV: Tobacco Workers International Union Records, 1895-1910
This series is composed of almost 400 pages of documents selected from the letterbooks maintained by Henry Fischer and E. Lewis Evans. The letters, mainly written by E. Lewis Evans to Samuel Gompers, are organized chronologically as are the letterbooks themselves. The letters describe the union's difficulties with employers, most notably the American Tobacco Company, but also including Liggett and Myers, Drummond Tobacco Company, P. Lorillard, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, and Brown and Williamson. The letters describe the difficulties of organizing an industry moving South in which a large proportion of the employees were black. Also discussed are conflicts with the Knights of Labor.