Local of the Graphic Communications International Union that represented over 1000 bindery workers in the Holyoke, Massachusetts area. Records include detailed minutes, shop reports, committee reports, reports of delegates sent to the Holyoke Central Labor Union and national conventions, copies of agreements, notes on contract negotiations, copies of three newsletters, and subject files that document activities as well as the emergence of factionalism within the union.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Graphic Communications International Union, Local 48B
Graphic Communications International Union, Local 48B, was originally chartered as a local of the International Brotherhood of Bookbinders. When the Bookbinders became a part of the Graphic Arts International Union in 1972, it adopted its current number, which it kept in the subsequent merger that produced the Graphic Communications International Union.
Local 48B represented over 1000 bindery workers in the Holyoke area, including workers at the National Blank Book Company, Eureka Blank Book, New England Bindery, and Hampden Glazed Paper and Card Company. Through the 1960s, the union and the companies engaged in relatively amicable collective bargaining negotiations, resulting in few arbitrations or strikes. A sizable portion of the local, however, became disenchanted with the local's leadership, complaining of poor contracts. Long-time leaders Philip Beaudry, Raymond Lacroix, and Robert Kelly came under attack, eventually giving way to Joe Brown and Richard Connors in the 1970s.
In the 1970s, a rank-and-file group, advocating a more activist role, nevertheless became sufficiently established in Local 48B to publish a newsletter and conduct opposition campaigns against Kelly, Brown, and Connors. The rank-and-file group finally succeeded in electing Warren Plaut as President in 1984.
The records of Local 48B (1952-1985) reflect both traditional union activities in the factories and the internal factionalism within the union. Detailed minutes (1952-1984) include shop reports, committee reports, and the reports of delegates to the Holyoke Central Labor Union and national conventions. Beginning in the 1970s there is substantial information concerning the emergence of rank-and-file criticism. Copies of agreements (1958-1984) show the evolution of collective bargaining with the National Blank Book Company. In addition, there are extensive notes on the contract negotiations in 1979 and 1981.
Copies of three newsletters, all from the rank-and-file group, represent three phases of opposition, 1976-1978, 1980, and 1985, and document the concerns and successes that motivated the rank-and-file opposition. Finally, a small number of subject files document the more militant activities of the 1980s leadership.
Deposited by Warren Plaut, President of Local 48B, August 1985.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, August 1985.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Graphic Communications International Union Local 48B Records (MS 59). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.