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Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

J. William Belanger Papers

1932-1986
3 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 117

A leader in organized labor, William Belanger began as an organizer for the AFL’s United Textile Workers in 1932, eventually becoming the New England Regional Director and International Vice President of the TWUA and in 1958, the first President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

The Belanger Papers provide insight into the long career in labor activism, and include correspondence, writings, subject files, and printed materials. Of particular interest is a series of four oversized scrapbooks that cover Belanger’s career from 1934 through his final position as Director of the Massachusetts Department of Employment Security. These are especially enlightening on labor’s political activities, the CIO’s success in thwarting anti-labor referenda in 1948, and the efforts to expel Communists from the labor movement.

Subjects

  • Elections--Massachusetts--History--20th century
  • Labor leaders--New England--Biography
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts--Politics and government--1865-1950
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Textile Workers Organizing Committee
  • Textile Workers Union of America
  • Textile industry--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--New England

Contributors

  • Belanger, J. William, 1907-1986

Types of material

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 206

IUERMW Local 206 Records

1936-1986
30 boxes 14.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 132

Union that represented workers at the American Bosch plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, affiliated with the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers after 1949.

Records include by-laws, minutes of the Executive Board, General Council, and Membership meetings, correspondence, membership reports, grievance and arbitration records, contract negotiation proposals and counter-proposals, strike materials, and publications documenting the administration, activities, and membership of Local 206. Effects of changing national economy and international trade on workers and union affairs, through time, are evident.

Subjects

  • American Bosch--History
  • Collective bargaining--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • Industrial relations--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Machinists--Labor unions--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Metal-working machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • Plant shutdowns--Massachusetts--Springfield
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Economic conditions
  • Springfield (Mass.)--Industries
  • Strikes and lockouts--Machinery industry--Massachusetts --Springfield
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Local 206 (Springfield, Mass.)

Types of material

  • Letters (Correspondence)
Lipshires, Sidney

Sidney Lipshires Papers

1932-2012
7 boxes 3.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 730
Image of Sidney Lipshires
Sidney Lipshires

Born on April 15, 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland to David and Minnie Lipshires, Sidney was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts where his father owned two shoe stores, David Boot Shop and The Bootery. He attended the Massachusetts State College for one year before transferring to the University of Chicago and was awarded a BA in economics in 1940. His years at the University of Chicago were transformative, Lipshires became politically active there and joined the Communist Party in 1939. Following graduation in 1941, he married Shirley Dvorin, a student in early childhood education; together they had two sons, Ellis and Bernard. Lipshires returned to western Massachusetts with his young family in the early 1940s, working as a labor organizer. He served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946 working as a clerk and interpreter with a medical battalion in France for over a year. Returning home, he ran for city alderman in Springfield on the Communist Party ticket in 1947. Lipshires married his second wife, Joann Breen Klein, in 1951 and on May 29, 1956, the same day his daughter Lisa was born, he was arrested under the Smith Act for his Communist Party activities. Before his case was brought to trial, the Smith Act was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Disillusioned with the Communist Party, he severed his ties with it in 1957, but continued to remain active in organized labor for the rest of his life. Earning his masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1971, Lipshires taught history at Manchester Community College in Connecticut for thirty years. During that time he worked with other campus leaders to establish a statewide union for teachers and other community college professionals, an experience he wrote about in his book, Giving Them Hell: How a College Professor Organized and Led a Successful Statewide Union. Sidney Lipshires died on January 6, 2011 at the age of 91.

Ranging from an autobiographical account that outlines his development as an activist (prepared in anticipation of a trial for conspiracy charges under the Smith Act) to drafts and notes relating to his book Giving Them Hell, the Sidney Lipshires Papers offers an overview of his role in the Communist Party and as a labor organizer. The collection also contains his testimony in a 1955 public hearing before the Special Commission to Study and Investigate Communism and Subversive Activities, photographs, and biographical materials.

Subjects

  • Communism--United States--History
  • Communists--Massachusetts
  • Jews--Massachusetts--Northampton--History
  • Jews--Political activity--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor movement--United States--History--20th century
  • Labor unions--United States--Officials and employees--Biography

Contributors

  • Lipshires, David M
  • Lipshires, Joann B
  • Lipshires, Sidney

Types of material

  • Autobiographies
  • Photographs
  • Testimonies
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
Image 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 unions
  • Collective bargaining--Aeronautics--United States
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Washington, D.C.)
Robinson, Craig D.

Craig D. Robinson Papers

ca.1980-2007
4 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 739
Image 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 Union
  • Labor laws and legislation
  • Labor lawyers--Massachusetts
  • Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council

Contributors

  • Robinson, Craig D.
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--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • Textile Workers Union of America
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Springfield District Council

UBCJA Springfield District Council Records

1885-1973
40 boxes 23 linear feet
Call no.: MS 110

The first local of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners to be founded in western Massachusetts was chartered in 1885 as Springfield Local 96, followed in quick order by locals in Holyoke (390) and Chicopee (685). With the pace of unionization picking up at the turn of the century, the Springfield District Council was established in 1906 and played an immediate role in coordinating collective bargaining, apprenticeship, and work rules in the local construction industry. Although Holyoke carpenters formed their own District Council soon thereafter, the logic of consolidation and a unified voice eventually prevailed. The Springfield locals consolidated as Local 32 in 1968, which in turn merged with the Holyoke District Council in 1973 to form Local 108.

The records of the Springfield District Council of the UBCJA includes strong documentation of the rise of unionization among carpenters in the Connecticut River Valley from the 1880s through 1980s. The collection includes by-laws, correspondence, and subject files of the Springfield District Council along with minutes, membership records, financial records, contracts, agreements and trials, and some correspondence for Locals 96 (Springfield), 685 (Chicopee), 177 (Springfield), 222 (Westfield), and 32 (Springfield).

Subjects

  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Wilson, Rand

Rand Wilson Papers

1977-2004
15 boxes 22.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1026

A union organizer and labor communicator, Rand Wilson was recruited as a rank and file organizer for the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union and helped win the first-ever contract for workers at Clinical Assays in Cambridge, Mass., in 1982. He has since taken part in dozens of successful organizing and contract campaigns, both regionally and nationally, for the Communications Workers of America, the Paperworkers, Carpenters, Teamsters and Service Employees International Union other unions. His notable achievements include coordinating solidarity efforts with the CWA and IBEW during the massive NYNEX telephone workers’ strike in 1989; founding the Massachusetts branch of the community-labor coalition, Jobs With Justice; coordinating communications for the Teamsters in 1997 during the lengthy contract campaign and historic 15-day strike by the 185,000 workers at UPS; and thwarting the Bush administration’s efforts to privatize social security. Wilson served as national coordinator for Labor for Bernie during the presidential campaign on 2016, and currently works for SEIU Local 888 in Boston.

Documenting forty years of labor activism, the Wilson papers include important material from most of his major initiatives, including organizing campaigns with the CWA, files relating to the Justice at Work initiative, organizing high tech, health care and telephone workers, and Jobs with Justice. Nearly half of the collection is comprised of a comprehensive collection of source materials and documents from the UPS contract campaign and strike.

Subjects

  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • NYNEX Corporation
  • Strikes and lockouts
  • United Parcel Service

Contributors

  • Communications Workers of America
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Justice at Work
Labor, work, and industry

Picket line, New Bedford

Picket line, New Bedford, 195
“Teamsters crossed the Hathaway picket line”

Western Massachusetts was an early and important center of both industrialization and the development of organized labor, and in recent years, it has experienced many of traumatic effects of de-industrialization and economic transformation. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives seeks to document the history of organized labor, the experience of work, and business and industry in New England.

At the heart of the SCUA holdings is a suite of collections documenting the organized labor movement in New England. The official records of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, a large and important collection, is joined by records for trades ranging from clothing and textile workers to carpenters, electrical workers, and granite cutters.

Of particular note is the John W. Bennett Labor History Collection, a large assemblage of labor-related realia and ephemera, including hundreds of badges, pins, watch fobs, lighters, and other artifacts distributed to union members at annual conventions and other union events. The collection is a unique resource for study of the iconography of organized labor and includes items from representative unions and locals ranging from the Knights of Labor in the 1870s to the present. While centered on New England, the Bennett Collection extends nationally.

Notable collections

  • Organized Labor
    • From the records of the Massachusetts State AFL-CIO to the papers of union locals and labor leaders.
  • See all Business and industry
    • Manufacturing
      • The industrial heritage of New England is represented in collections ranging from the records of the Clement Co., Lamson and Goodnow, and the Northampton Cutlery Company (manufacturers of cutlery), the American Writing Paper Company, the Rodney Hunt Co. (a manufacturer of textile machinery and waterwheels), and Smith and Wesson. The most recent collection is the papers of Sidney Topol, CEO of Scientific-Atlanta, a corporation at the forefront of the growth of cable television in the United States.
    • Merchants and commerce
      • Account books and other business records for a number of New England merchants dating back to the eighteenth century, ranging from small scale traders to keepers of rural general stores to shipping merchants trading in the Atlantic economy.

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Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition

Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition Photograph Album

1930
88 images 0.25 linear feet
Call no.: PH 043
Image of Library exhibit
Library exhibit

To celebrate its tercentenary in 1930, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts organized over two thousand events in 253 communities, drawing over eleven million visitors. One of the most elaborate of these events was the Exposition of Governmental Activities held at the Commonwealth Armory in Boston between September 29 and October 11. A celebration more of contemporary governmental activity than the historical precedents, the exposition featured displays representing nearly every branch of government, from the Department of Education to the state police, mental and public health, public welfare, transportation, agriculture, labor, and industry.

P.E. (Paul) Genereux (1892-1977), a commercial photographer from East Lynn, was hired to document the exhibits and displays in the Exposition of Governmental Activities, producing commemorative albums containing silver gelatin prints, carefully numbered and backed on linen. This disbound album includes 88 of the original 175 prints, including interior and exterior shots, with an additional image by Hildebrand.

Subjects

  • Massachusetts Governmental Activities Exposition--Photographs
  • Massachusetts--Centennial celebrations, etc.

Contributors

  • Genereux, P. E.

Types of material

  • Photographs