Formed in 1887 as the Massachusetts branch of the American Federation of Labor, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO currently represents the interests of over 400,000 working people in the Commonwealth. Like its parent organization, the national AFL-CIO, the Mass. AFL-CIO is an umbrella organization, a union of unions, and engages in political education, legislative action, organizing, and education and training.
The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO provide insight into the aims and administrative workings of the organization. These includes a nearly complete run of proceedings and reports from its conventions since 1902, except for a five year gap 1919-1923, minutes and agendas for the meetings of the Executive Council, and the President’s files (1982- ). The collection is particularly strong in the period since about 1980.
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO was formed as the Massachusetts state branch of the American Federation of Labor in 1887. Its purpose was to organize workers, advance the interests of workers through organization and legislation, and to provide general assistance in the event of difficulties such as strikes and lockouts.
|1900-1902||Frank H. McCarthy|
|1902-1904||James R. Crozier|
|1904-1906||Francis J. Clarke|
|1908-1909||Philip H. Sweet|
|1909-1911||Thomas J. Durnin|
|1911-1912||James W. Wall|
|1915-1916||Joseph J. Hunt|
|1916-1918||George H. Wrenn|
|1918-1920||William A. Nealey|
|1920-1921||Thomas H. Gerraughty|
|1921-1922||Jeremiah F. Driscoll|
|1924-1926||Michael J. O’Donnell|
|1926-1928||John Van Vaerenewyck|
|1928-1930||Joseph J. Cabral|
|1930-1934||James T. Moriarty|
|1934-1938||John F. Gatelee|
|1938-1942||Nicholas P. Morrissey|
|1942-1946||William J. Doyle|
|1946-1949||John J. DelMonte|
|1949-1955||Henry J. Brides|
|1955-1958||John A. Callahan|
|1958-1964||J. William Belanger (first president of Massachusetts AFL-CIO)|
|1972-1977||Joseph A. Sullivan|
|1977-1979||William J. P. Cleary|
|1979-1990||Arthur R. Osborn|
|1990-Present||Joseph C. Faherty|
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO records consist of proceedings, reports, resolutions, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, agenda, speeches, statements, clippings, flyers, newsletters, and publications. Nontextual material includes films, photographs, memorabilia, posters, sound recordings, and video recordings. The records span the years 1902 to 1995.
Records of sizable quantity that illustrate well the administrative workings of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO are proceedings and reports of conventions (included for each year from 1902 to 1994, except for a five-year gap from 1919 to 1923); minutes and agenda of Executive Council Meetings (especially for the years 1975 to 1993); and the President’s Files (covering 1982 to 1990). In addition, while comprised of much less extensive material physically, the Merger Material in series 1, Subseries C contains significant information with regard to the creation of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, as a result of the 1958 merger of the Massachusetts State Federation and the Massachusetts State CIO.
Taken together, the records best document the history of the organization in the 1980s and the early 1990s. This roughly parallels the presidency of Arthur Osborn, who served from 1979 to 1990. The President’s Files, found in Series 1, Subseries F, are entirely those of Osborn. Other material in the collection reflects the influence of the Osborn presidency. For example, the records of the Education Committee (Series 1, Subseries H) include material from the College Scholarship Program, the budget of which Osborn worked to expand from $30,000 to $160,000. The impact of Osborn’s leadership can also be detected in the records of the Prevailing Wage Campaign of 1988 (Series 3, Subseries A). Osborn served as chairman of the Committee for Quality of Life, which defeated a state ballot referendum that would have repealed the Prevailing Wage Law in Massachusetts. Moreover, Osborn represented labor on numerous boards of organizations not affiliated with the AFL-CIO, some records of which can be found in Series 4.
The series and subseries are as follows:
- Series 1. Administrative, 1902-1995
- Subseries A. Constitutions, 1949-1987
- Subseries B. Convention Publications, 1902-1994
- Subseries C. Merger Material, 1955-1958
- Subseries D. Convention Files, 1957-1991
- Subseries E. Executive Council Meetings, 1962-1993
- Subseries F. President’s Files, Arthur R. Osborn, 1982-1990
- Subseries G. Secretary-Treasurer’s Files, 1982-1990
- Subseries H. Education Committee, 1968-1993
- Subseries I. Committee on Political Education (COPE), 1927-1992
- Subseries J. Legislative Department, 1973-1989
- Subseries K. Public Employees Department, 1989-1991
- Subseries L. Newsletters, 1963-1995
- Subseries M. Subject Files, 1975-1991
- Subseries N. Miscellaneous Publications, 1965-1992
- Series 2. Financial, 1959-1989
- Subseries A. Miscellaneous Material, 1959-1985
- Subseries B. Real Estate: 44 Temple Place, Boston, 1986-1989
- Series 3. Campaigns, 1988-1993
- Subseries A. Prevailing Wage Campaign (Question 2), 1988
- Subseries B. Campaign for Massachusetts’ Future (Question 3), 1990
- Subseries C. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 1993
- Series 4. Non AFL-CIO Groups with Labor Representation, 1977-1994
- Subseries A. Chief Justice’s Commission on the Future of Courts in Massachusetts, 1990
- Subseries B. Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), 1977-1991
- Subseries C. Massachusetts Special Commission on BusinessTax Policy, 1992-1993
- Subseries D. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority Citizens Advisory Board, 1989-1991
- Subseries E. Tax Equity Alliance of Massachusetts (TEAM), 1988-1994
- Subseries F. United Way, 1984-1992
- Subseries G. University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees 1988-1991
- Subseries H. Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, 1986-1992
- Series 5. Non-textual and oversized material, 1956-1993
- Subseries A. Films, ca.1960s – ca.1970s
- Subseries B. Memorabilia, n.d.
- Subseries C. Oversized Material, 1956-1992
- Subseries D. Photographs, 1981-1993
- Subseries E. Sound Recordings, 1985-1993
- Subseries F. Video Recordings, 1989-1993
More detailed descriptions of the subseries can be found below.
With the exception of the Convention Files, minutes of the Executive Council Meeting, and Subject Files, the records were received from the office of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO with little or no discernible arrangement. While the file headings were maintained where possible, the arrangement of this collection was created by the processor. Series 1 reflects the hierarchical structure of the organization, as set forth in the 1987 edition of the constitution, the most recent year included in the collection. Series 2 and 3 are arranged chronologically, while Series 4 and 5 are arranged alphabetically by organization name and type of material, respectively. Nontextual and oversized material was removed from the normal series locations, and can be found in Series 5.
Series 1 reflects the hierarchical structure of the organization, as set forth in the 1987 edition of the constitution, the most recent year included in the collection. Series 2 and 3 are arranged chronologically, while Series 4 and 5 are arranged alphabetically by organization name and type of material, respectively.
The collection is open for research.
Cite as: Massachusetts AFL-CIO Records (MS 369). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Acquired from Robert Haynes, Secretary-Treasurer, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, 1994.
Processed by Brian Kuhl, November 1995.
The number following the index term refers to the folder in which the photograph(s) can be found.
- Labor unions--Massachusetts
- Massachusetts AFL-CIO