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New England Telephone Workers’ Strike

New England Telephone Workers Strike Collection

1989
1 folder 0.15 linear feet
Call no.: MS 323

In 1989, almost 60,000 telephone workers in New England and New York waged a successful fifteen week strike against Nynex to protest a new contract that threatened cuts to medical benefits.

This small collection includes three handouts and a bulletin documenting the four-month labor strike carried out by New England telephone workers (represented by the Communications Workers of America and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers unions) against the NYNEX corporation.

Subjects

  • NYNEX Corporation
  • New England--Economic conditions--20th century
  • Strikes and lockouts--Telephone companies--New England --History
  • Telephone companies--Employees--Labor unions--New England--History

Contributors

  • Communications Workers of America
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Types of material

  • Handbills
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.)
Richardson, Charley

Charley Richardson Papers

ca.1985-2012
32 boxes 48 linear feet
Call no.: MS 862

A shipfitter and union activist, Charley Richardson was a visonary labor educator. After working for a time in a machine shop and driving a school bus, Richardson hired on as a shipfitter at Sun Ship in Philadelphia in 1976, and grew active in the labor movement as a steward for the United Steelworkers. After relocating to the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy seven years later, he sustained a workplace injury that ended his career, but he remained active in the workers’ cause. Helping served as director of the Labor Extension Program at UMass Lowell and helped to create the Technology and Work Program where he and his wife Nancy Lessin developed educational programs to aid unions in countering harmful workplace changes and build strength and solidarity for the union. An advocate for social and economic justice, he became a vocal opponent of the U.S. war in Iraq in 2002, and was co-founder of Military Families Speak Out. After a long battle with cancer, Richardson passed away in May 2013.

The Richardson papers document over thirty years of work as a labor educator and United Steelworkers activist. At the heart of the collection are materials relating to Richardson’s research and instruction at UMass Lowell, teaching “continuous bargaining” and other techniques for unions coping with economic and political change. The collection is informed throughout by Richardson’s concerns for workplace safety and health and the impact of technology, downsizing, deregulation, and globalization.

Gift of Susan Winning, Apr. 2015

Subjects

  • Industrial safety
  • Labor unions and education
  • United Steelworkers of America
  • University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Labor Education Prograss

Contributors

  • Lessin, Nancy
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.
Soler, José A.

José A. Soler Papers

1972-2014
20 boxes 26.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 864
Image of José Soler (center) at District 65 rally
José Soler (center) at District 65 rally

A scholar of labor studies and activist, José Soler was born in New York City to a Dominican mother and Puerto Rican father and has been an activist in the cause of Puerto Rican independence and human rights since the 1970s. While a student at the University of New Mexico (BA 1972), Soler emerged as a leader in the Chicano rights organization, the Brown Berets, and while living in Puerto Rico in the late 1970s, he joined the Puerto Rican Socialist Party. Soler has subsequently worked in the labor movement as a shop steward, union organizer with UAW District 65, and labor journalist. As a committed Marxist and prolific writer and editor, he has taken part in causes ranging from anti-imperialist work in the Caribbean and Central America to the anti-apartheid struggle, and he has served on the Executive Board of the US Peace Council. From 1993 until his retirement in 2015, Soler worked as Director of the Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center at UMass Dartmouth where he has continued to work on behalf of public education and human rights and national self-determination.

The Soler Papers chronicle over forty years of a life-long activist’s interests and participation in left-wing political, labor, and social justice movements. There is a particular focus on topics relating to socialism and the pro-independence movement in Puerto Rico, anti-imperialist movements in South and Central America and Africa, and issues affecting Puerto Rican and Hispanic workers in the United States, New England, and the New York City area. Published and promotional materials such as periodicals, magazines, newsletters, and pamphlets make up the bulk of the collection, with extensive coverage of the concerns of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño, PSP), the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), as well as New Jersey chapters of the unions Communications Workers of America (CWA) and District 65, which eventually joined the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW). An additional seven boxes were added to the collection in June 2016, which remain unprocessed. The new materials offer additional documentation from the Dubin Labor Education Center and Soler’s work and interests in education (testing, privatization, and unions), labor, Marxist-Leninism, and various events in the United States and Latin America.

Gift of Jose Soler, 2015, 2016

Subjects

  • Communications Workers of America
  • Labor unions--New York (State)--New York
  • Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño
  • United Automobile, Aircraft, and Vehicle Workers of America. District 65

Types of material

  • Photographs
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. Massachusetts State Council

UBCJA Massachusetts State Council Records

1892-1980
2 boxes 1 linear feet
Call no.: MS 015

One of the largest building trade unions in the U.S., the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America was established in 1881 by a convention of carpenters’ unions. An early member of the American Federation of Labor, the Brotherhood began as a radical organization, but beginning in the 1930s, were typically aligned with the conservative wing of the labor movement.

The records of the Massachusetts State Council of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America contain reports and other information generated during the union’s annual conventions as well as copies of the constitution and by-laws, handbooks, and histories of the union.

Subjects

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

Contributors

  • United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners 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 became 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, and other unions. Wilson’s 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 organizing an AFL-CIO-led effort focused on financial institutions’ conflicts of interest that helped to thwart the Bush administration’s efforts to privatize social security. He 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/Just Cause for All initiatives, 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 Teamsters’ 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
Yarn Finishers Union (Fall River, Mass.)

Yarn Finishers Union (Fall River, Mass.) Records

1919-1922
1 flat box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 006

The Yarn Finishers Union was one of several autonomous craft bodies affiliated with the Fall River-based American Federation of Textile Operatives (originally known as the National Amalgamation of Textile Workers). Active in several shops — including Durfee Mills, Tecumseh Mills, Union Belt Co., O.B. Wetherell and Son, and Troy Cotton and Woolen Manufactory — the Yarn Finishers included membership from different segments of the work force, including rollers, quillers, and harness markers.

This slender collection documents two years of labor activism by the Yarn Finishers Union in Fall River, Mass. The minutebook begins in May 1919 as the Yarn Finishers voted to strike over low and unequal wages, particularly those to “girls,” and includes references to elections, financial issues such as the proposition to institute a minimum wage scale, and to settling disputes. The minutes continue through the end of a much quieter year, 1922. The second volume consists of a record of union dues collected, arranged loosely by craft.

Subjects

  • Fall River (Mass.)--History
  • Labor unions--Massachusetts
  • Textile workers--Labor unions--Massachusetts

Contributors

  • American Federation of Textile Operatives

Types of material

  • Minutebooks