SCUA

Bennett, John W., collector

John W. Bennett Labor Collection, ca. 1880-2000.


Call no.: MS 443

Labor historian John W. Bennett has researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts (Class of 1952). A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation.

Extending back to the 1880s, the Bennett Collection includes examples from around the country, but with a particularly strong representation of New England unions between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s.

Background on John W. Bennett

John W. Bennett, educator and labor historian, has researched the history of the labor movement since his days as an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts (Class of 1952). A born collector, he began accumulating memorabilia associated with unions, drawn to their potential as a visual record of labor iconography and self-representation. For over 30 years, Bennett has collected materials relating to the history of the American Labor Movement.

Contents of Collection

In 2005, Dr. Bennett donated his extensive collection of labor memorabilia to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The collection consists of over 3,000 items representing a diverse variety of realia including approximately 1700 buttons, 535 lapel pins, 15 posters/membership certificates, 300 hundred ribbons and sashes, and over 350 miscellaneous union memorabilia including contracts, constitutions, hats, shirts, gavels, belt buckles, mugs, ashtrays, pennants, watch fobs, medallions, pens, mirrors, tie clasps, pamphlets, flyers, etc.

The collection extends back to the 1880s, yet most of the material dates from the 1930s to the present day. The Bennett Collection includes examples from around the country, but with a particularly strong representation of New England unions between the mid-1930s and mid-1970s. A wide spectrum of union history is represented here from the Knights of Labor to the Industrial Workers of the World to the A.F.L. to the C.I.O. to a variety of independent unions.

Over the years, Bennett used his collection as the basis for lectures about labor history and iconography. These lectures explored how union badges, buttons, and convention ribbons provide information about the history and culture of American Labor Movement.

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Series Descriptions
1915-1997 38 boxes

With items from approximately 110 unions, this series brings together memorabilia issued by organizations within the construction and manufacturing industries. Some of the unions represented are Aluminum Workers International Union (AWIU),American Flint Glass Workers Union, Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers (BPD&PA), Building Trades Councils, Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Automobile Workers (UAW), and United Steel Workers of America (USWA).

1900-1990 14 boxes

Features realia of 45 unions within the food and service industries, including the iconography of organizations such as the American Federation of Grain Millers (AFGM), American Postal Workers Union (APWU), Bartenders Union, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, Retail Shoe Salesmens Union and many others.

1890-2001 17 boxes

This series consists of items from more than 40 labor coalitions, organizations, and national and international federations. Organizations like the American Federation of Labor (AFL), California State Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), Connecticut State Industrial Union Council, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Noble Order of the Knights of Labor (KofL), and Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council are represented.

1897-1985 6 boxes

Items from nearly 25 unions within professional occupations; unions such as the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), and United Office and Professional Workers of America.

1890-2001 20 boxes

With a focus on unions within the transportation industries, this series contains realia from approximately 30 unions including Amalgamated Transit Union, Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Order of Railway Conductors.

1898-2001 11 boxes

Collector John Bennett believed that the ways in which unions adapted to social change are represented in the symbols and wording which appear on union memorabilia. This series include items from the causes that unions fought for including political causes and endorsements, solidarity, unity, and union elections.

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Inventory of Collection
1910-1952 39 boxes
Allied Industrial Workers of America (AIW) Box ??
Aluminum Workers International Union (AWIU) Box C1
Aluminum Workers of America Box C1
Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers (AA) Box C1
Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union Box C1
Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (ACWA) Box C1, C2
Amalgamated Lithographers ca. 1919 Box C1
Amalgamated Textile Workers of America Box C1
American Bosch Industrial Union Box C1
American Federation of Technical Engineers Box C1
American Flint Glass Workers Union Box C1, C2
American order of Steam Engineers Box C1
Bakery & Confectionery Workers International Union of America Box C26
Boilers, Platers, Brass and Silver Workers of North America Box ??
Boot and Shoe Workers Union (BSWU) Box C1, C3
Bricklayers, Masons and Plasters’ International Union of America (BMPIUA) Box C3
Brotherhood of Boilermakers and Iron Shipbuilders Box C3
Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers (BPD&PA) ca. 1921, undated Box C2, C3
Brotherhood of Utility Workers of New England (BUWNE) Box C16
Building Trades Councils 1915-1974 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Pittsburgh 1915 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Springfield, Mass. 1918 Box C4
Building Trades Council Box C4
Building Trades Council, Everett, AFL 1937 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Chehalis, AFL 1938 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Peoria 1938 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1938 10 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1939 4 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Portland, AFL 1939 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1940 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Washtenaw County 1940 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Indianapolis Marion County, AFL 1941 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1941 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1942 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Marion County 1942 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Mass State 1944 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Logansport 1946 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1947 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1948 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1948 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Marion County 1948 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Marion County 1949 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Haverhill 1949 Box C4
Building Trades Council 1949 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Knox County 1949 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Southwestern West Virginia 1950 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1951 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Terre Haute 1952 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1952 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Birmingham 1953 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Evansville 1953 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Floyd and Clark Counties 1953 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1953 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1953 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1954 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Scranton 1954 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1954 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Dearborn Ripley 1955 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Southwestern West Virginia 1955 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1955 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1956 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1956 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1958 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Rockford 1958 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Gallatin 1959 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County,. AFL 1959 2 items Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1960 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Marion County 1961 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Member 1961 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Member 1962 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Tri-County, AFL 1962 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Member 1963 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Stanislaus 1963 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Cincinnati 1964 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Bloomington 1966 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Boston 1966 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Pasco 1967 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Louisville 1970 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Greater Detroit 1972 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Greater Detroit 1973 Box C4
Building Trades Council, Detroit 1974 2 items Box C4
Carpenter’s Executive Council 1909-1912 Box C6
Chicago Paper & Box Workers Union Box C13
Cigar Makers International Union (CIU) Box C5, C6
Communications Workers of America (CWA) 1976, undated Box C5
Connecticut Union of Telephone Workers (CUTW) Box C16
Coopers International Union 1944 Box ??
Corrugated Workers of Greater New York 1937 Box C5
Federation of Flat Glass Workers of America Box C16
Glass Bottle Blowers Association (GBBA) Box C14
Granite Cutters’ International Association of America (GCIAA) Box ??
Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America (IUMSWA) 1940-1962 Box C5
International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers Box C6
International Association of Car Workers (I.A. of C.W.) Box C6
International Association of Machinists (IAM) 1920-ca. 1990 Box C6, C33-C34
International Brick Tile & Terra Cotta Workers Alliance Box C13
International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forgers and Helpers (IBBDFH) Box ??
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers Box C6, C7
International Brotherhood of Bookbinders (IBB) Box C7
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Box C8-C10
International Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America Box C11
International Brotherhood of Paper Makers (IBPM) 1947 Box C6
International Brotherhood of Papermakers Box C11
International Brotherhood of Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers (IBPSPWM) Box C12, C16
International Brotherhood of Steam, Shovel & Dredgement Box C6
International Brotherhood of Sulphite Box ??
International Chemical Workers Union (ICWU) Box C16
International Copper and Brass Workers’ Union Box C13
International Federation of Technical Engineers’, Architects’ and Draftsmen’s Union Box C6
International Freight handlers’ Union Box C14
International Hod Carriers’, Building and Common Laborers’ Union of Amercia (IHCB&CLU of A) Box C13, C35
International Jewelry Workers’ Union (IJWU) Box C13
International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) Box C13
International Molders and Allied Workers Union (IMU) Box C13
International Photo Engravers Union (IPEU) Box C13
International Printing Pressmen Union (I.P.P.U.) Box
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (IUE) Box C14, C32
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers Box
International Union of Elevator Constructors Box C13
International Union of Marine & Shipbuilding Workers of America Box C16
International Union of Metal Polishers, Buffers, Platers and Allied Workers Box
International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW) Box C15
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Box C14, C18
International Union of Steam Engineers (I.U. of S. E.) Box C6, C18
International Union United Automobile, Aircraft & Agricultural Implement Workers of America Box C22
International Woodworkers of America (IWA) Box C16
Journeymen Stonecutters Association of North America (S.C.U.N.A.) Box C16
Laborers’ International Union (LIU) Box C17
Laborers’ International Union of North Ameridca (LIUNA) Box C17
Link-Belt Employees Association Box
Loom Fixers Union Box
Machine, Tool and Die Union Box
Marine Plumbers Pipefitters and Helpers Box
Massachusetts Building and Construction Trades Council Box
Massachusetts State Building and Construction Box
Metal Polishers, Buffers, Platers, Brass and Silver Workers Union Box
National Association of Letter Carriers Box C17
National Association of Stationary Engineers (NASE) Box C17, C18
National Brotherhood of Operative Potters (N.B.O.P.) Box C17
National Union of Granite Cutters (NUGC) Box
Oil Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW) Box C19
Oil Workers International Union (OWIU) Box C19
Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Finishers’ International Association (OP&CFIA) Box C17
Painters’ Union Box
Pattern makers League of North America Box C26
Pile Drivers Union Box
Plasterers Union Box
Plumbers & Steamfitters Box C19
Quarrymens Protective Union Box
Retail Cigar Store Employees’ Union Box
Sheet Metal Workers’ International Assocation (SWIA) Box
Sheetmetal Workers International Union Box
Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) 1937-1964 Box C20

The Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) and the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers (AA) reached an agreement in 1936 leading to the creation of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC). The AA had failed to unionize a substantial proportion of the Steelworlkers, and by organizing basic steel, John L. Lewis, who headed both the CIO and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), hoped to strengthen his bargaining position with the managers of the captive mines owned by the steel industry.

SWOC’s main target was the U.S. Steel Corporation, which since 1909 had refused to deal with organized labor. SWOC’s strategy was to capture or disrupt the company unions fostered by U.S. Steel, however, the group actually won its recognition through secret meetings of Lewis and the board chairman of U.S. Steel. As a result, in March 1937 the corporation’s subsidiaries signed a contract recognizing SWOC as representative for its members. The union claimed a total of 200,000 members.

The items that represent SWOC in the Bennett Collection illustrate the union’s transformation, which occured in 1942 following the first constitutional convention. The convention dissolved the AA and transformed SWOC into the United Steelworkers of America.

SWOC, Button 1937 8 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1938 3 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1939 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1940 3 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1941 8 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1942 10 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1943 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1944 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1945 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1946 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1947 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1948 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1949 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1950 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1951 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1952 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1953 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1954 3 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1955 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1956 5 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1957 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1958 3 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1959 3 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1960 2 items Box C20
SWOC, Button 1961 Box C20
SWOC, Button 1962 Box C20
SWOC, Button undated 9 items Box C20
SWOC, Watch Fob 1946 Box C20
SWOC, Watch Fob 1950 Box C20
SWOC, Watch Fob 1964 Box C20
Steering Wheel Makers Federal Labor Union 1939-1942 Box C21
SWMFLU, Button 1939 9 items Box C21
SWMFLU, Button 1940 11 items Box C21
SWMFLU, Button 1941 9 items Box C21
SWMFLU, Button 1942 11 items Box C21
SWMFLU, Button undated 3 items Box C21
Stove Mounters International Union Box C26
Textile Workers Union of America (TWUA) Box C17, C36
United Aircraft Engine Workers Box C17
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Box
United Association of Plumbers, Steam Fitters and Gasfitters(UA) Box C37
United Automobile Workers (UAW) 1935-1997 Box C22-C24

In Detroit on August 26, 1935, a group of auto workers started their own charter of the United Automobile Workers of America. From its inception, the union dealt with governance issues, and was directed and administered by the American Federation of Labor. In 1936, the union alienated the AFL and joined the Congress for Industrial Organization (CIO), a more militant organization. By this time more automobile workers joined the labor organization and in 1937 the UAW had between 20,000 and 30,000 members.

The Buttons within this collection illustrate an organizational split within the union. Some union members sought to be affiliated with the AFL, while a larger group remained faithful to the CIO. Buttons from both UAW-CIO and UAW-AFL are represented.

In December 1936 UAW local officials felt the union was numerically strong enough to demand recognition by the big three automobile companies: General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. General Motors was picked as the test case because it had defied federal law by refusing to discuss collective bargaining or even recognition of the UAW. “Quickie” strikes occurred at the Atlanta, Cleveland, Toledo, and Flint, Michigan plants. In January 1937, UAW declared a nationwide strike against General Motors.

In 1937, General Motors recognized the UAW. Subsequently, a short sit-down strike forced Chrysler Motors to accept the UAW. In 1955 the AFL and the CIO merged to form the AFL-CIO. UAW president Walter Reuther, who was also the president of the CIO played a significant role.

UAW, Button 1935 Box C22
UAW, Button 1937 13 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1938 18 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1939 8 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1940 7 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1941 13 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1942 6 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1944 3 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1945 7 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1946 4 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1947 4 items Box C22
UAW, Button 1948 11 items Box C22
UAW, Button: Organizing Drive undated 2 items Box C22
UAW, Button: UAW CIO undated Box C22
UAW, Button: Voye UAW undated 2 items Box C22
UAW, Button: Vote Yes Union Shop undated Box C22
UAW, Button 1949 5 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1950 Box C23
UAW, Button 1951 6 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1952 6 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1953 5 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1954 5 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1955 5 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1956 5 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1958 2 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1964 Box C23
UAW, Button 1967 Box C23
UAW, Button, Local 422 1968 Box C23
UAW, Button 1969 2 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1970 4 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1973 2 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1978 Box C23
UAW, Button 1979 2 items Box C23
UAW, Button 1980 Box C23
UAW, Button: Alternative Committeeman undated Box C23
UAW, Button: Chief Steward unkown Box C23
UAW, Button: Construction Workers Council unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Join UAW unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Organizing Committee unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Paid Dues August unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Paid Dues October unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Paid Dues September unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Steward unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 174 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 201 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 550 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: 571 1997 Box C23
UAW, Button: 594 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 600 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 652 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 662 unknown 2 items Box C23
UAW, Button: Local 719 unknown Box C23
UAW, Button: UAW CIO 1939-1956 7 items Box C24
UAW, Button: UAW AFL 1947, 1950 2 items Box C24
UAW, Button: Vote UAWA A.F.L., the American Way unknown Box C24
UAW, Button: Vote U.A.W.-C.I.O., Industrial Unionism ca. 1950 Box C24
UAW, Button 1967 2 items Box C24
UAW, Button 1975 Box C24
UAW, Button: Local 12 (Toledo, Ohio) ca. 1955 Box C24
UAW, Button: Executive Board Member, 365 unknown Box C24
UAW, Button: WPA Auxiliary Box C24
UAW, Key Chain: Local 600, 22nd Anniversary Ford Rouge Strike 1963 Box C24
UAW, Key Chain unknown Box C24
UAW, Lighter: Dallas Sells Region 3 unknown Box C24
UAW, Pin: Local 933 unknown Box C24
UAW, Watch Fob unknown Box C24
United Brick and Clay Workers of America (UBCWA) Box
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) Box C27-C29
United Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers Box
United Builders Service Workers Box
United Cement, Lime and Gypsum Workers International Union (UCLGWIU) Box
United Construction Workers Box
United Construction Workers Organizing Committee (UCWOC) Box
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Box C14, C38
United Farm Equipment and Metal Workers of America (FE) Box C26
United Furniture Workers of America (UFWA) Box C17
United Garment Workers of America (UGWA) Box C17
United Hatters, Cap & Millinery Workers Box C17
United International Union, Paper, Novelty and Toy Workers (UIUPNTW) Box
United Leather Workers’ International Union Box
United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Box C30, C39
United Papermakers and Paperworkers (UPP) Box C25
United Paperworkers International Union Box
United Paperworkers of America (UPA) Box
United Rubber Workers of America (URWA) Box C17
United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers (URW) Box C17
United Steel Workers of America (USWA) Box C20, C31
United Textile Workers of America (UTWA) Box C17, C25
Utility Workers Union of America Box C26
Watch Case Engravers International Association of America (WCEIAofA) Box
Wire, Wood and Metal Lathers International Union Box
1900-1990 14 boxes
Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America 1913-1970 Box F1
American Federation of Grain Millers (AFGM) 1940 Box F1
American Federation of Grain Processors 1940-1942 Box F1
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) 1980 Box F1
Bakery & Confectionery International Union of America Box F1
Bartenders and Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union 1958 Box F2
Bartenders Union 1914 Box F2
Brewery Workers Union 1915-1941 Box F3-F4
Building Service Employees’ International Union (BSEIU) 1935-1973 Box F1
Chicago Flat Janitors Union 1948-1952 Box F1
Distributive, Processing & Office Workers of America Box F9
Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) Box ??
Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of America Box ??
Federation of Telephone Workers of Pennsylvania 1959 Box F2
Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International 1907-1978 Box F2
Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union Box F2
Hotel Front Service Employees Union Box F2
Insurance Workers International Union 1970 Box F2
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 1940 Box F2
International Brotherhood of Stationary Firemen (IBSF) 1900 Box F2
International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery Workers ca. 1900-1947 Box F3, F4
Journeymen Barbers International Union (JBIU) ca. 1910-1934 Box F5
Ladies Auxiliary of the National Association of Letter Carriers Box F6
1912 Box ?? Union
Municipal Electric Utilities Association of New York Box F6
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) 1911-1990 Box F6-F8
National Federation of Post Office Clerks (NFPOC) Box F9
National Postal Transit Association (NPTA) 1950 Box F9
National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA) Box F9
News Carriers Union ca, 1915 Box F9
Newspaper and Mail Delivers’ Union 1901 Box ??
Packing-House Workers Industrial Union 1920-1942 Box F9
Police Patrolmen’s Associations (APPA) 1986-1989 Box F10
Retail Cigar Store Employees’ Union Box F9
Retail Clerks International Association (RCIA) 1937-1978 Box F9
Retail Shoe Salesmens Union 1945 Box F9
Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU) Box F9
Service Employees International Union Box F11
Somerville City Employees Union 1924 Box F14
Texas Farm Workers Union (TFWU) Box F11
United Dairy Workers of America 1940 Box F11
United Farm Workers of America (UFW) 1970-1990 Box F11
United Farm Workers Organizing Committee ca. 1970 Box F11
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) 1980, undated Box F12
United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) 1937-1949 Box F12
United Retail Employees of America ca. 1935 Box F12
United Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Employees ca. 1935 Box F9
Wholesale and Warehouse Employees Union 1940 Box F9
1890-2001 17 boxes
American Federation of Labor (AFL) 1907-1954 Box O1
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial (AFL-CIO) 1935-1958 Box O2
California State Federation of Labor 1958 Box O3
Central Labor Union 1900 Box O3
Chicago Federation of Labor Box ??
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) 1935-1955 Box O3
Connecticut A.F.L.-C.I.O. 1957 Box O4
Connecticut Federation of Labor 1931-1946 Box O4
Connecticut State C.I.O. 1955 Box O4
Connecticut State Industrial Union Council 1957 Box O4
Illinois State Federation of Labor 1916-1949 Box O4-O5
Indiana State A.F.L.-C.I.O. 1958-1962 Box O5
Indiana State American Federation of Labor 1977 Box O17
Indiana State Employees Association Box O17
Indiana State Federation of Labor 1917-1977 Box O5
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) 1920-2001 Box O6
International Labor Unions 1916-1983 Box C12
International Union Box O17
Iowa State Federation of Labor 1956 Box O6
Labor Workers Union Box O17
Maine State Federation of Labor 1917 Box O6
Massachusetts State A.F.L. 1916-1941 Box O7-O8, O10
Massachusetts State AFL-CIO 1999 Box O8
Massachusetts State C.I.O. 1951-1957 Box O9
Massachusetts State Federation of Labor 1933-1956 Box O10, O11
Massachusetts State Labor Council 1933-1956 Box O11
Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor 1952 Box O17
Michigan State Industrial Council 1941, 1943 Box O12
Missouri State A.F.L.-C.I.O. 1960-1970 Box O12
Missouri State Federation of Labor 1941 Box O12
New England Labor Congress 1929 Box O12
New Hampshire State Federation of Labor 1948 Box ??
New York State AFL-CIO 1961-1988 Box O13-O14
Noble Order of the Knights of Labor (KofL) 1890 Box O6
Ohio State Federation of Labor 1910 Box O15
Oregon AFL-CIO Box O15
Pennsylvania State A.F.L.-C.I.O. 1962-1999 Box O15
Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council 1968-1986 Box O15
United Telephone Organizations (UTO) 1937 Box ??
Utah State C.I.O Box O15
Vermont State C.I.O. 1949 Box O15
Women’s International Union Label League (WILL) Box ??
1897-1985 6 boxes
American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) 1974-1982 Box P1
American Federation of Musicians (AFM) ca. 1910-1985 Box P1
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 1924-1985 Box P2

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) was the result of a constitutional convention of state, county, and municipal unions of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) on December 9, 1935. Growth did not come easily at first. The union’s primary tactic was lobbying to pass or strengthen civil service laws. By the end of 1936, AFSCME had 10,000 members. Ten years later membership was up to 73,000.

The post-World War II era was marked on the one hand by inflation in the private sector resulting in new jobs and higher pay, and on the other hand by unrest among public employees. Reaction to the discontent was swift and by the end of 1947, eight states passed laws which would penalize striking public workers. That same year, the U.S. Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act which restricted labor unions in private industry. Despite this opposition, AFSCME continued to grow. By 1955, the year of the AFL and CIO merger, membership passed the 100,000 mark. The attitudes of AFSCME members were changing as well during this time. Many of the union’s new members came from big cities which had strong trade union roots and traditions. At conventions in the mid and late 1950s, AFSCME members began stressing public workers’ rights and collective bargaining as a means to improve their working conditions. In 1958, responding to pressure from AFSCME, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner signed an executive order which granted collective bargaining rights to unions representing city employees. A turning point had been reached.

In 1961, President John Kennedy issued Executive Order 10988, which legitimized collective bargaining for federal employees and helped create a favorable atmosphere for similar demands from all public employees.

AFSCME Button 1924 Box P2
AFSCME Button 1944 4 items Box P2
AFSCME Button 1945 7 items Box P2
AFSCME Button 1946 13 items Box P2
AFSCME Button 1947 7 items Box P2
AFSCME Button 1948 2 items Box P2
AFSCME Button 1949 Box P2
AFSCME Button 1953 Box P2
AFSCME Button 1969 Box P2
AFSCME Button 1970 Box P2
AFSCME Button 1971 Box P2
AFSCME Button undated 12 items Box P2
AFSCME Lapel Pin ca. 1985 5 items Box P2
AFSCME Lapel Pin undated 7 items Box P2
AFSCME Lighter undated Box P2
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) 1965-1971 Box P3
American Newspaper Guild Box P3
Chicago Newspaper Guild 1938 Box P3
Chicago Teachers Union Box P3
Federation of University Employees Box P4
Graphic Arts International Union (GAIU) 1981 Box P4
International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees and 1916-1960 Box P4
International Brotherhood of Telephone Workers Box P5
International Federation of Professional and Technical 1944 Box P5
International Typographical Union (ITU) 1897, undated Box P5
National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) Box P6
National Treasury Employee Union Box P6
Office and Professional Employees International Union Box P6
Office Employees International Union (OEIU) ca. 1950 Box P6
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) 1950-1982 Box P6
Professional Employees Federation (PEF) Box P6
United Federation of Teachers (UFT) 1968-1970 Box P6
United Office and Professional Workers of America Box P6
United University Professions (UUP Box P6
1910-1952 20 boxes
Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway 1909-1942 Box T1-T2
Amalgamated Association of Street and Electrical Railway 1945-1950 Box T3
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) 1967-1971 Box T3
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers 1910-1950 Box T4

Angered over changes in wages and working hours, thirteen engineers at the Michigan Central Railroad issued a call to all engineers to meet in Detroit on March 17, 1863, to discuss grievances. As a result of this meeting came the establishment of Division Number One, Brotherhood of Footboard (BOF). In 1964, the organization became the Grand International Division of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers with membership specifically limited to locomotive engineers.

The buttons in this collection help resurrect an interesting history of the American railroads during the early 1900s. BLE followed an independent, conservative policy, but also cooperated with other railway unions in making influential changes within the industry. In 1911, BLE helped secure passage of the Locomotive Inspection Act and the Adamson Act, which established an eight-hour day for rail-operating employees.

After the 1920s increased competition from other forms of transportation, changes brought by technological advances, and deterioration of the railroads during the depression years of the 1930s reduced demand for engineers, but that demand revived dramatically during World War II. Since World War II, the railway industry has experienced significant changes and so have railway labor organizations. By 1960 BLE’s membership had fallen from 86,000 in 1920 to 68,000.

BLE Button 1938 Box T4
BLE Button 1948 2 items Box T4
BLE Button 1949 Box T4
BLE Lapel Pin ca. 1910 7 items Box T4
BLE Lapel Pin undated Box T4
BLE Lapel Pin: Continuous Membership ca. 1910 2 items Box T4
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (BLF) 1890-1947 Box T4-T5
Biographical note:

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen (BLF) was organized in 1873 by eleven railway firemen in Port Jervis, New York. Two years later the organization had 900 members in twenty-nine lodges. In 1902, the union amended its constitution to permit the enrollment of locomotive engineers and in 1906 the name of the union was changed to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen.

BLF Badge: Photo of Joshua Leach ca. 1890 Box T4
BLF Lapel Pin ca. 1890 4 items Box T4
BLF Ribbon: Membership ca. 1900 Box T4
BLF Badge: Convention 1947 Box T5
BLF Button 1929 Box T5
BLF Button 1930 3 items Box T5
BLF Button 1931 Box T5
BLF Button ca. 1920 Box T5
BLF Button ca. 1930 Box T5
BLF Lapel Pin: Membership, Past President ca. 1912 Box T5
BLF Lapel Pin ca. 1910 7 items Box T5
BLF Pendant ca. 1900 Box T5
BLF Pendant ca. 1910 4 items Box T5
BLF Pendant ca. 1920 Box T5
BLF Ribbon: Membership ca. 1900 Box T5
BLF Ribbon ca. 1900 Box T5
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen (BLFE) ca. 1910-1947 Box T5
Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees (BMWE) 1920-1959 Box T6
Brotherhood of Railroad Brakemen 1890 Box T7
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen 1920-1979 Box T8
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT) 1900-1950 Box T9-T10
Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handles, Express and Station Employers 1935-1948 Box T11
Brotherhood of Railway Carmen of America (BRCA) 1900-1954 Box T7
Brotherhood of Railway Clerks 1935-1948 Box T11
Carriage and Wagon Workers Union ca. 1890 Box T11
Inland Boatmen’s Union 1937 Box T11
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America 1905-2001 Box T12-T15
International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) 1918-1964 Box T16
International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union 1945 Box T16
International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots of America 1948 Box T16
Ladies Auxiliary to Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Box T11
Ladies Auxiliary to Order of Railway Conductors of America Box T11
Ladies Society to Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen Box T11
Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen 1870-1920 Box T17-T18
Order of Railway Telegraphers 1917-1920 Box T18
Railway Organizations 1902 Box T18
Railway Shop Laborers 1920 Box T19
Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU) Box T19
Switchmen’s Union of North America ca. 1910-1966 Box T19
Team Drivers International Union (T.D.I.U.) Box T19
Transport Workers Union of America (TWUA) 1938-1984 Box T20
United Railroad Workers 1930 Box T20
United Railway Operating Crafts Box T20
United Transport Service Employees of America 1944 Box T20
1910-1952 11 boxes
Labor Day
Labor Day Badge 1927 Box LD1
Labor Day Button 1898 Box LD1
Labor Day Button undated Box LD1
Labor Day Button undated Box LD1
Labor Day Button undated Box LD1
Labor Day Flag undated Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon 1913 Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon 1946 Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon 1916 Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon 1915 Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon undated Box LD1
Labor Day Ribbon 1915 Box LD1
Labor Day Badge 1900 Box LD2
Labor Day Banner undated Box LD2
Labor Day Button undated Box LD2
Labor Day Button 1920 Box LD2
Labor Day Button 1976 Box LD2
Labor Day Button 1983 Box LD2
Labor Day Flyer 1981 Box LD2
Labor Day Ribbon 1906 Box LD2
Labor Day Ribbon undated Box LD2
Labor Day Ribbon undated Box LD2
Union Cause
Button: I’m Against the Right to Work Box UC1
Button: I am Opposed to a Right to Work Law Box UC1
Button: No on the Phoney “Right to Work” Box UC1
Button: OSHA for Public Workers Box UC1
United Steelworkers of America, Button: Safety &Health Representative Box UC1
CUPW, Button: Safety Before Profits Box UC1
White Lung Association, Button: Asbestos Kills! Box UC1
Central Labor Rehab Council, Button: Safety/Health Concern Box UC1
Workers Memorial Day, Button: Fight for the Living Box UC1
Button: No CETA Layoffs Box UC1
IUE, Button: Defeat NAFTA Box UC1
Alliance for Retired Americans, Button: Medicare Drug Benefit Now Box UC1
New York University, Button: The Challenge to Labor & Labor Education 1986 Box UC1
UFCW, Button: Make Education a Top Budget Priority Box UC1
United University Professions, Button: Save SUNY Box UC1
Button: New York State Committee on Pay Equity Box UC1
Button: Full Pension 30 Years Box UC1
UAW, Button: Equal Justice Box UC1
Button: March for Justice 1989 Box UC1
UAW, Button: Justice Now Box UC1
CWA, Button: Justice Box UC1
Button: PHEW on TWU Box UC2
CSEA, Button: Behind Every Successful Woman is Herself Box UC2
SEIU, Button: No Take Aways Box UC2
UFWA, Button: No Grapes Box UC2
Button: No SCABS Box UC2
Button: Rhode Island Labor History Society Box UC2
CLUW, Button: Give Her the ERA for Mother’s Day Box UC2
SEIU, Button: SOS Local 211 Box UC2
CLUW, Button: Pro-Union, Pro-Choice Box UC2
UFT, Button: One Million Good Reasons Box UC2
AFSCME, Button: Getting Ready for Hi-Tech Box UC2
USWA, Button: Volunteer Organizer Box UC2
USWA, Button: District 31 Women’s Caucus Box UC2
Hotel, Restaurant, & Bartenders Union, Button: Baseball Booster Box UC2
NYNEX, Button: Health Care for All not Health Cuts Box UC2
CWA, Button: Every Worker a Member Box UC2
AFL, Button: Stop the Assault on the Workers Box UC2
ACTWU, Button: Bildisco is a Bankrupt Decision Box UC2
Local 1199, Button: Bread and Roses Box UC2
Button: Stop SCABS Box UC2
Massachusetts Nurses Association, Button: Nurse Box UC2
Massachusetts Nurses Association, Button: I Support the Nurses of Brockton Hospital Box UC2
Local 102, Patch: Millwork Box UC2
Button: No Co-pay, No Givebacks on Medical Benefits Box UC2
AFSCME, Button: AFSCME Retiree Power Box UC2
Local 1199, Button: Youth for Progress 1999 Box UC2
TWU, Name Tag Box UC6
CWA, Sticker: A National Union in the National Interest Box UC6
ILGWU, Mending Kit: To Feel Right, To be Right in Style Box UC6
ILGWU, Mending Kit: Look for this Union Label When You Shop Box UC6
ILGWU, Pog: Look for this Union Label When You Shop Box UC6
ILGWU, Ruler: Symbol of Progress Made and More to Come Box UC6
ILGWU, Key Chain: Look for this Union Label When You Shop Box UC6
ILGWU, Rain Cap: Buy Union Made American Fashions Box UC6
UAW, Key Chain: Key To Victory Box UC6
IAM, Sticker: International Association of Machinists Box UC6
Sticker: Don’t Buy Russell Stover Candies Box UC6
Solidarity
AFL-CIO, Button: Solidarity Day 1981 Box UC3
SEIU, Button: Solidarity Day 1991 Box UC3
AFL-CIO, Button: Solidarity Day 1991 Box UC3
IUE, Button: Solidarity Day 1981 Box UC3
Button: Solidarity Day 1981 Box UC3
Button: Solidarity Day 1983 Box UC3
IUE, Lapel Pin: Solidarity Day 1991 Box UC3
Button: Solidarity Day Box UC3
AFL-CIO, Button: Together For Your Security Box UC3
ILGWU, Button: Local 23-25 Box UC3
Support
ATU, Button: Boycott Greyhound Box UC4
HERE, Button: Eat Union Box UC4
New York State AFL-CIO, Button: I Love NY Products Box UC4
New York State AFL-CIO, Button: Please Don’t Fly New York Air Box UC4
Union Label Is Soul Box UC4
AFSCME, Button: No Pink Slips! Box UC4
UAW, Button: Buy American Box UC4
I Support PATCO Box UC4
I’m S.C.U.M. Box UC4
Allied Printing Trades Council Box UC4
AFL-CIO, Button: Buy American Union Box UC4
Boycott J.P. Steven’s Bank Box UC4
Support Striking Miners! Box UC4
Don’t Buy Farah Slacks Box UC4
AFSCME, Button: Fed Up with 59¢ Box UC4
Support The Steelworkers! Box UC4
CLUW, Button: A Woman’s Place is in Her Union Box UC4
ICU, Button: Save Our Union Box UC4
Dignity Button Box UC4
Civic Service Employees Association, Button: Stop Employee Abuse Box UC4
I Support Steelworkers Box UC4
AFL-CIO Fight Apartheid, Support Black Trade Unions in South Africa Box UC4
Unity
Button: Unity Box UC5
Button: I’m Proud to Be Union Box UC5
International Molders Union, Button: I’m Proud to Be Union Box UC5
Button: I am Union and Proud of It Box UC5
AFL-CIO, Button: Union Yes Box UC5
APWU, Button: We Try to Be Letter Perfect For You Box UC5
UAW, IAM, and USWA, Button: Unification Stand Up for America Box UC5
Wingate Organizing Committee, Button: United Because We Care Box UC5
Button: Ohio Union Patrolmen Association Box UC5
USWA, : Button: Vote Box UC5
USWA, Button: Vote Yes Box UC5
Button: Keep New York a Union Town Box UC5
Button: Ohio Union Patrolmen Association Box UC5
ILGWU, Button: Unite & Fight Box UC5
Union Officer Elections
Union Officer Elections, Button: Pa. AFL-CIO Mahoney in 76 Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Tell ‘Em Again, Ed Sadlowski Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Support Philip Casey Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: URW Reform Committee Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote McDonald President Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Elect Joe Bumps Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote for the Abel Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote Hormell AFL-CIO Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Elect Ed Fire and Tom Rebman Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote for Don McQuillan Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Schick Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote for George Kourpias Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Vote Ruben Burks Box UE1
Union Officer Elections, Button: Kilbride for Chief Steward Box UE1
Political Action
Vote Socialist Zeidler Brisben 1992 Box POL1
Labor for McGovern 1972 1972 Box POL1
UAW, Button: Jimmy Carter 1977 Box POL1
ILGWU, Button: Carter, Mondale 1977 Box POL1
Machinist Non-Partrisan Political League, Button: Registered to Vote Box POL1
R.C.I.A.-A.B.C., Button: I Am Registered to Vote 1980 Box POL1
Committee on Federal Employees Political Education, Button: COFEPE 1980 Box POL1
International Chemical Workers Union, Button: I Gave to Live Box POL1
Button, No Reaganomics: Support Project 2000 2000 Box POL1
Button: Dump Reagan, Out the Door in ’84 1984 Box POL1
CWA, Button: Are you Better Off Today 1984 Box POL1
IUE, Button: IUE For Mondale 1977 Box POL1
United Paperworkers International, Button: Mondale Ferraro 1977 Box POL1
Union Women, Button: Union Women United for LGB & HHH 1968 Box POL1
SEIU, Button: SEIU Stands with Clinton 1996 Box POL1
Transport Workers Union, Button: Support Clinton Gore 2001 Box POL1
AFL-CIO, Button: Working Labor for Gore 2001 Box POL1
Pioneer Valley CLC, AFL-CIO, Button: Labor Vores Gore 2000 2000 Box POL1
IUE, Button: Bill Clinton in ’96 1996 Box POL1
ILGWU, Button: Clinton Gore It’s time for Change 1996 Box POL1
Button: Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee 1966 Box POL1
International Association of Machinist, Lapel Pin: M 1978 1978 Box POL1
AFL-CIO, Button: I Gave to COPE Box POL2
Plumb Plan League, Button: These Three Shall Control : Labor Public Management Box POL2
Farmer Laborer Nonpartisan League, Button: We’ll Stick Box POL2
Farmer’s Holiday Association, Button: We’ll Stick for Production Cost Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: PAC Paid 1946 1946 Box POL2
Labor’s Non-Partisan League of Illinois, Button: Roosevelt 1932 Box POL2
Labor’s Choice, Button: Roosevelt 1932 Box POL2
Button: Labor is For Roosevelt 1932 Box POL2
CIO, Button: Vote Harriman, Roosevelt 1932 Box POL2
ALP:, Button: Corcoran Labor’s Choice Box POL2
Button: American Labor Party Box POL2
Button: Willkie Labor Workers Box POL2
Button: Union Cermak Labor Box POL2
Button: Dick Frankensteen Mayor Box POL2
CIO, Button: PAC 1947 1947 Box POL2
CIO, Button: PAC 1948 1948 Box POL2
CIO, Button: PAC 1949 1949 Box POL2
Labor’s Political Action Committee, Button: Registered Voter Box POL2
Labor League Political Education, Button: LLPE Box POL2
Labor League Political Education, Button: Member of Greater Cincinnati Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: I Gave to COPE 1962 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: COPE for LBJ & HHH 1968 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: I Gave to COPE I Will Vote 1964 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: Give to COPE, I Did 1965 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: I Gave a Buck to COPE 1966 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: COPE 1968 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: $2 for COPE in ’76 1976 Box POL2
AFL-CIO, Button: $2 for COPE in ’77 1977 Box POL2
dingbat for decoration
Provenance

Donated by John W. Bennett in 2005.

Processing Information

Processed by Harream Purdie (2007-2008) and Clare Hammonds (2006-2007).

For additional materials related to the history of the labor movement, see :

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: John W. Bennett Labor Collection (MS 443). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Bennett, John W

Types of material

  • Badges
  • Ephemera
  • Realia
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