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Overview

As labor union publications and documents attract increasing interest from researchers, there follows a need for comprehensive reference tools to facilitate their use. This microform collection compiles the widely scattered records of the labor unions in the U.S.  The evolution of this body continues today, making current information as vital as historical material.

Constitutions and Proceedings This section offers both the historical perspective and the recent information necessary for labor research. These American labor union constitutions and proceedings from 1836 to 1990 are a valuable reference source for students of labor law and history, labor lawyers, government officials, labor leaders and negotiators, and unionized and non-unionized corporations.

The records document the inner workings of more than 250 union organizations formed in the 19th and 20th centuries and provide incomparable insights into the philosophies of union leaders of the past.

Researchers will find material on:

  • election of officers
  • institutional forms
  • official reports and resolutions
  • convention floor debates
  • statements to the public

Part I covers 11 industry groups (A through K, below) for the years 1836-1977 and includes the available constitutions and proceedings of 55 active and 61 inactive unions. Part II includes 42 active and 93 inactive unions in the 11 additional industry groups (L-V) spanning the years 1864-1976. A guide appears in each of Parts I and II. The industry groups are arranged as follows:

  • Group A  The Federations
  • Group B  Machinery, Automotive and Other Transportation
  • Group C  Clothing
  • Group D  Electrical and Electrical Machinery
  • Group E  Public Sector--State and Local
  • Group F  Metals--Primary and Fabricated
  • Group G  Transportation--Railroads
  • Group H  Transportation--Others
  • Group I  Paper, Printing and Publishing
  • Group J  Services and Trades
  • Group K  Communications
  • Group L  Construction
  • Group M  Food and Kindred Products
  • Group N  Textiles
  • Group O  Leather
  • Group P   Mining and Quarrying
  • Group Q  Chemicals and Petroleum
  • Group R  Stone, Clay and Glass
  • Group S  Lumber, Wood and Furniture
  • Group T  Rubber
  • Group U  Insurance
  • Group V  Public Sector-Federal

Periodic updates provide new constitutions and proceedings for the active unions. Material from the inactive unions appears from their inception to their termination.

Officers Reports Inside this compilation of internal affairs and policies are reports by elected union officials on a variety of labor-related topics, such as legal and financial activities, regional union activities, newly established local chapters, strike mediations, and organizing activities.

Both historical and current perspectives are provided through the eyes of the union leaders. Their philosophies, hopes, and dreams for the American laborer are recorded in the official records of the Officers' Reports section.

The organization of the Officers' Reports appears in the same industry groupings as the set of Constitutions and Proceedings (Part I: A-K; Part II: L-V). This section of American Labor Unions is also updated periodically. Beginning with the 1983 Update, the Officers Reports are included in the Constitutions and Proceedings and are no longer a separate section; further additions to the two parts appear together in combined updates.

Supplementary Documents Also included are selected Supplementary Documents. These official union papers contain conference reports, joint industry and labor papers, and minutes, which delineate accomplishments, interests, and activities of various unions. Documents are selected from Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Labor libraries.

Bernard G. Naas, labor union bibliographic expert and former librarian of the Martin P. Catherwood Library, New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, originated this project from documents assembled at the Catherwood Library holdings. Material has also been filmed from several university and labor union libraries, and the New York and Detroit public libraries.

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