The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
CredoResearch digital collections in Credo

Collecting area: Labor

Pine Beach Association

Pine Beach Association Collection

1922-1980
1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 666
Depiction of Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925
Woman on a zip line at Lake Rohunta, ca.1925

Founded in Athol, Mass., prior to1922, the Pine Beach Association operated a summer resort on the northern end of Lake Rohunta, a 383-acre reservoir owned largely by the Rodney Hunt Company. Recognizing the touristic and recreational opportunities, the Association built Pine Beach into a facility that included the Rohunta Inn (the former Elm Lodge Clubhouse), a restaurant, camping facilities, and a lifeguard-patrolled swimming area with water slides and other recreational facilities, all with the intent of becoming the “leading inland bathing beach of New England.” Although the hurricane of 1938 washed away Rodney Hunt’s dam and hydroelectric station, Pine Beach remained a popular destination, freely available to the company’s employees. In the 1980s, the properties were sold to the not-for-profit Lake Rohunta Beach Association, an association of 15 residential properties.

This small collection contains postcards, photographs, and ephemeral material relating to the Pine Beach Association, concentrated in its early years.

Gift of the Harris family, 2010.

Subjects

Athol (Mass.)--HistoryHotels--Massachusetts--AtholLake Rohunta (Mass.)Picnics--Massachusetts--AtholRodney Hunt Machine Company--Employees--RecreationSummer resorts--Massachusetts--OrangeTaverns (Inns)--Massachusetts--Athol

Types of material

Photographs
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Washington, D.C.)

Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) Records

1972-1981
12 boxes 17 linear feet
Call no.: MS 479
Depiction of PATCO representatives
PATCO representatives

Established in 1968, PATCO was certified as the exclusive representative for all FAA air traffic controllers. A little more than a decade later, union members went on strike demanding better working conditions despite the fact that doing so was in violation of a law banning strikes by government unions. In response to the strike, the Reagan administration fired the strikers, more than 11,000, and decertified the union. Over time the union was eventually reformed, first in 1996 as an affiliate with the Federation of Physicians and Dentists union, and later as an independent, national union in 2004.

Correspondence, financial records, notes and memos documenting the activities of the Boston area branch of PATCO. Letters, announcements, and planning documents leading up to the 1981 strike shed light on the union’s position.

Subjects

Air traffic controlers--Labor unionsCollective bargaining--Aeronautics--United StatesLabor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Washington, D.C.)
Richardson, Charley

Charley Richardson Papers

ca.1985-2012
32 boxes 48 linear feet
Call no.: MS 862

A shipfitter and union activist, Charley Richardson was a visonary labor educator. After working for a time in a machine shop and driving a school bus, Richardson hired on as a shipfitter at Sun Ship in Philadelphia in 1976, and grew active in the labor movement as a steward for the United Steelworkers. After relocating to the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy seven years later, he sustained a workplace injury that ended his career, but he remained active in the workers’ cause. Helping served as director of the Labor Extension Program at UMass Lowell and helped to create the Technology and Work Program where he and his wife Nancy Lessin developed educational programs to aid unions in countering harmful workplace changes and build strength and solidarity for the union. An advocate for social and economic justice, he became a vocal opponent of the U.S. war in Iraq in 2002, and was co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. After a long battle with cancer, Richardson passed away in May 2013.

The Richardson papers document over thirty years of work as a labor educator and United Steelworkers activist. At the heart of the collection are materials relating to Richardson’s research and instruction at UMass Lowell, teaching “continuous bargaining” and other techniques for unions coping with economic and political change. The collection is informed throughout by Richardson’s concerns for workplace safety and health and the impact of technology, downsizing, deregulation, and globalization.

Gift of Susan Winning, Apr. 2015

Subjects

Industrial safetyLabor unions and educationUnited Steelworkers of AmericaUniversity of Massachusetts at Lowell. Labor Education Prograss

Contributors

Lessin, Nancy
Robinson, Craig D.

Craig D. Robinson Papers

ca.1980-2007
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 739
Depiction of Robinson for president flier
Robinson for president flier

A labor attorney and activist, Craig Robinson was born in Hartford, Conn., on August 6, 1952, and raised in Stafford. After rising tuition led him to drop out of the University of Connecticut in 1971, Robinson worked in a variety of manual jobs until he was hired by the US Postal Service in 1974. From the time of his assignment to the bulk mail facility in Springfield the next year, Robinson was an active member of the American Postal Workers Union, eventually serving as steward, vice president, and president of his Local, and his activism often created friction with management. Earning his BA at UMass Amherst (1980) and JD from the Western New England School of Law (1984), he began practicing labor law, moving to full time in 1991. Devoted to workplace justice, he served as General Counsel for the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council and for Locals of the United Roofers Union and Amalgamated Transit Union, among others, and was a founding board member of the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. Robinson died on June 17, 2007, and is survived by his wife Linda Tonoli, and son.

The Robinson papers contain a record of labor activism in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The collection includes retained copies of legal filings relating to arbitration and other labor-related cases, along with articles written by and about Robinson, and an assortment of other notes and correspondence.

Gift of Linda Tonoli, Apr. 2012

Subjects

American Postal Workers UnionLabor laws and legislationLabor lawyers--MassachusettsPioneer Valley Central Labor Council

Contributors

Robinson, Craig D.
Service Employees International Union, Local 925 (Tufts University)

SEIU Local 925 (Tufts University) Records

1978-1980
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 589
Depiction of SEIU Local 925
SEIU Local 925

In October 1978 a group of clerical workers at Tufts united in an effort to organize their coworkers with Local 925, S.E.I.U. Isolated and scattered across campus, the clerical employees at the university greeted this call to unionize with support, hoping it would mean an improvement in salaries and in grievance procedures. By the summer of the following year, 60% of eligible employees signed authorization cards, more than required to vote on the issue, and an election early that fall was expected. Tufts administration, however, delayed the election by disputing the composition of the bargaining unit. Formal hearings took place from September through the end of the year, but instead of resolving the case, the Boston Labor Board referred it to Washington on January 25, 1980. Nine months later the election was finally held, but the results were not what were anticipated more than a year earlier. Rather than an easy victory to unionize, the majority of clerical staff at Tufts voted not to make Local 925 their exclusive bargaining representative. The administration’s anti-union campaign waged throughout 1979 and 1980 had a tremendous impact on the employees at the university, and a number of concessions made on wages, health insurance, and vacations further eroded support for organizing with Local 925.

The collection documents the efforts of Tufts clerical workers to unionize during 1978-1980. The group’s biweekly newsletter, Inside Tufts, written by the university’s employees and published by Local 925, offers an important behind-the-scenes look on two fronts: the issues and grievances of the clerical staff at Tufts and the reasons behind their decision to unionize. Materials relating to the efforts of other Boston-area institutions, in particular colleges and universities, are also included.

Subjects

Labor unions--MassachusettsLabor unions--Organizing

Contributors

Service Employees International Union. Local 925
Smith, W. R.

W.R. Smith Papers

1914-1947
1 box 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 243

W.R. Smith was a Vice President and organizer for the International Brotherhood of Papers Makers (I.B.P.M.) who principally attempted to gain union conditions for papers workers near Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Includes letters to and from I.B.P.M. president James T. Carey as well as a 116-page transcript of Smith’s organizing reports for the years 1914-1920, documenting his activities in Holyoke, Massachusetts, among other cities and towns in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington.

Subjects

Holyoke (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th centuryInternational Brotherhood of Paper MakersKalamazoo (Mich.)--Economic conditions--20th centuryKalamazoo (Mich.)--Social conditions--20th centuryLabor unions--MassachusettsLabor unions--Organizing--United States--History--20th centuryLabor unions--United States--Officials and employees--History--20th centuryPaper industry workers--Labor unions--MassachusettsPaper industry workers--Labor unions--Organizing--Massachusetts--Holyoke--HistoryPaper industry workers--Labor unions--Organizing--Michigan --Kalamazoo--History

Contributors

Carey, Jeremiah T., 1870-1957Smith, W. R
Soler, José A.

José A. Soler Papers

1972-2014
20 boxes 26.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 864
Depiction of José Soler (center) at District 65 rally
José Soler (center) at District 65 rally

A scholar of labor studies and activist, José Soler was born in New York City to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father and has been an activist in the cause of Puerto Rican independence and human rights since the 1970s. While a student at the University of New Mexico (BA 1972), Soler emerged as a leader in the Chicano rights organization, the Brown Berets, and while living in Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, he joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Soler has subsequently worked in the labor movement as a shop steward, union organizer with UAW District 65, and labor journalist. As a committed Marxist and prolific writer and editor, he has taken part in causes ranging from anti-imperialist work in the Caribbean and Central America to the anti-apartheid struggle, and he has served on the Executive Board of the US Peace Council. From 1993 until his retirement in 2015, Soler worked as Director of the Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center at UMass Dartmouth where he has continued to work on behalf of public education and human rights and national self-determination.
The Soler Papers chronicle over forty years of a life-long activist’s interests and participation in left-wing political, labor, and social justice movements. There is a particular focus on topics relating to socialism and the pro-independence movement in Puerto Rico, anti-imperialist movements in South and Central America and Africa, and issues affecting Puerto Rican and Hispanic workers in the United States, New England, and the New York City area. Published and promotional materials such as periodicals, magazines, newsletters, and pamphlets make up the bulk of the collection, with extensive coverage of the concerns of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño, PSP), the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), as well as New Jersey chapters of the unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and District 65, which eventually joined the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). An additional seven boxes were added to the collection in June 2016, which remain unprocessed. The new materials offer additional documentation from the Dubin Labor Education Center and Soler’s work and interests in education (testing, privatization, and unions), labor, Marxist-Leninism, and various events in the United States and Latin America.

Gift of Jose Soler, 2015, 2016

Subjects

Communications Workers of AmericaLabor unions--New York (State)--New YorkPartido Socialista PuertorriqueñoUnited Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65

Types of material

Photographs
Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972

Harvey Swados Papers

1933-1983
49 boxes 23 linear feet
Call no.: MS 218

The author and social critic Harvey Swados (1920-1972) was a graduate of the University of Michigan who embarked on a literary life after service in the Merchant Marine during the Second World War. His first novel, Out Went the Candle (1955), introduced the themes to which Swados would return throughout his career, the alienation of factory workers and the experience of the working class in industrial America. His other works include a widely read collection of stories set in an auto plant, On the Line, the novels False Coin (1959), Standing Fast (1970), and Celebration (1975), and a noted collection of essays A Radical’s America (1962). His essay for Esquire magazine, “Why Resign from the Human Race?,” is often cited as inspiring the formation of the Peace Corps.

The Swados collection includes journals, notes, typewritten drafts of novels and short stories, galley proofs, clippings, and correspondence concerning writings; letters from family, publishers, literary agents, colleagues, friends, and readers, including Richard Hofstadter, Saul Bellow, James Thomas Farrell, Herbert Gold, Irving Howe, Bernard Malamud, and Charles Wright Mills; letters from Swados, especially to family, friends, and editors; book reviews; notes, background material, and drafts of speeches and lectures; financial records; biographical and autobiographical sketches; bibliographies.

Subjects

Authors, American--20th century--BiographyJewish authors--United States--BiographyNational Book Awards--History--20th centurySocialists--United States--Biography

Contributors

Bellow, SaulFarrell, James T. (James Thomas), 1904-1979Gold, Herbert, 1924-Hofstadter, Richard, 1916-1970Howe, IrvingMalamud, BernardMills, C. Wright (Charles Wright), 1916-1962Swados, Harvey, 1920-1972
Swaim, Nina

Nina Swaim Papers

ca. 1950-2015
4 boxes 5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1125

Eleanor “Nina” Hathaway Swaim (1938-2015) was a feminist, environmental and antinuclear activist, antiwar organizer, and proponent of women’s collective enterprises globally. She was arrested for the final time just a month before her death, chained to the gates of a pipe yard in Williston, VT, protesting a fracked gas pipeline. Born into a conservative family in Sharon, MA, Swaim was radicalized during the mid-sixties by courses at the Free University on the Lower East Side and during the 1968 occupations at Columbia University, where she was an administrator. She joined the It’s All Right to be a Woman Theater in 1970 and toured the country with them before leaving New York City to work in a GI bookstore near a military base in Massachusetts, helping soldiers protesting the Vietnam War. Learning the printing trade, she moved to Vermont and co-founded the women’s collective press, New Victoria Press, worked as a mediation coordinator for the Vermont Supreme Court, and became a strong force in the antinuclear movement, helping found the Upper Valley Energy Coalition (UVCE), and co-authoring a book with Susan Koen, “A Handbook for Women on the Nuclear Mentality.” She met her husband, Douglas Smith, through UVEC, and the pair worked on numerous antinuclear, environmental, and other grassroots campaigns and protests together, including a project in Mozambique on water access, where Swaim worked as a cooperator with the revolutionary Organization of Mozambican Women. Other international work included picking cotton in Nicaragua, visiting Cuba under siege, and touring Gandhian centers in India to learn practical nonviolence and social change techniques. A practicing Buddhist, Swaim was an avid writer, gardener, beekeeper, and hiker, and in addition to her other causes, spearheaded numerous events related to the natural world, food security, and honeybees.

The Nina Swaim Papers offer an intimate look into the life of an indomitable and inspiring grassroots activist focused on both local Vermont issues and global concerns. Unpublished writings, clippings, and correspondence, as well as photographs, tapes, and scrapbooks reflect her international travels and work, as well as her community and concerns in the antinuclear and environmental movements based out of Vermont. Detailed writings, reflections, short stories, travel notes, and a comprehensive set of journals dating from the late sixties make up a large part of the collection. They are full of the musings of an activist pondering the meaning of women’s consciousness raising and conflict settlement, of worker collectives and other community building, of struggles and misunderstandings between lesbian and straight women, of power in organizations like Clamshell Alliance and the Upper Valley Energy Coalition, of motherhood and aging, and of the relationship between action for social change and spiritual practice.

Gift of Douglas V. Smith, 2021.

Subjects

Antinuclear movement--United StatesAntinuclear movement--VermontEnvironmental justiceFeminismNuclear energy--VermontPeace movements--United States

Contributors

Nina Swaim

Types of material

CorrespondenceDiariesPersonal narrativesPhotographs
Textile Workers Union of America. New Bedford Joint Board

TWUA New Bedford Joint Board Records

1942-1981
19 boxes 9 linear feet
Call no.: MS 134

Four local unions located in New Bedford, Massachusetts, that joined in 1939 and became the first affiliates of the New Bedford Joint Board of the Textile Workers Union of America. Includes by-laws, minutes of board of directors and local meetings, correspondence, subject files, photographs, and scrapbooks relating to the administration of the New Bedford Joint Board, documenting its role in addressing grievances filed against individual companies, in facilitating arbitration, and hearing wage stabilization Board cases.

Subjects

Labor unions--MassachusettsTextile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

Textile Workers Union of America