The University of Massachusetts Amherst
Robert S. Cox Special Collections & University Archives Research Center
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Northampton Labor Council (AFL-CIO)

Northampton Labor Council Minutebooks

2 boxes 0.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 055

From its origins in 1899 as the Northampton Central Labor Union, the Northampton Labor Council coordinated political activity and worked for union cooperation in strikes, boycotts, and celebrations. With 29 unions in its ranks by 1903, it was one of the few labor councils to include both AFL and CIO affiliates during the period of their intense competition during the 1930s, however from 1945 until the AFL-CIO merger, CIO unions were excluded. By 1985, the NLC had 14 affiliated local unions.

As the coordinating body for the political and social activities of fourteen labor unions in Northampton, Massachusetts, and the surrounding area, the Labor Council generated union support for strikes, boycotts, and celebrations, and hosting annual Labor Day parades. Includes photocopies of four minutebooks, spanning the years 1933-1985.

Historical Note

The Northampton Labor Council, the coordinating body for the political and social activities of fourteen labor unions in Northampton, Massachusetts and the surrounding area, traces its roots to 1899 with the formation of the Northampton Central Labor Union (CLU). At its inception, the CLU had 395 members in 9 affiliated local unions; by 1903 it had grown to 1400 in 29 constituent unions. The CLU coordinated labor’s political activities in Northampton, and generated union cooperation in strikes, boycotts, and celebrations. It supported a strike of street railway employees in 1914, and hosted annual Labor Day parades in addition to many other activities.

Throughout the 1930s the CLU included both AFL and CIO unions, making it somewhat unusual during that period of fratricidal warfare. Not until 1945 did AFL President William Green force the CLU to ban CIO unions from participating. The industrial unions then established the Northampton Industrial Union Council which lasted only three years before the local merger of AFL and CIO affiliates.

The CLU changed its name to the Northampton Labor Council in the 1960s, and in 1973 absorbed the Unions formerly affiliated with the Greenfield Labor Council. As of June 1985, the NLC President was long-time leader George O’Brien; Louis Leopold continued to serve as its Secretary Treasurer. The NLC had 14 affiliated Locals, including Carpenters #402, Electricians #36, Firefighters #108, Food and Commercial Workers #1459, Garment Workers #226, Hotel and Restaurant Employees #116, Machinists #2175, Motion Picture Operators #232, Painters #257, Plumbers #104, SEIU #’s 211 and 263, and AFSCME #’s 165 and 1776.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the Northampton Labor Council (NLC) comprise photocopies of four minutebooks, spanning the years 1933-1985.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Northampton Labor Council (AFL-CIO) Minutes (MS 55). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection

Photocopied with permission from Secretary Louis Leopold.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf, August 1985.

Additional Information

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Contents List
Box 1:1-10
Box 2:11-14


Central Labor Union (Northampton, Mass.)Labor unions--Massachusetts--NorthamptonNorthampton (Mass.)--Economic conditions--20th centuryNorthampton (Mass.)--Social conditions--20th century


Northampton Labor Council (AFL-CIO)