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.

Background on Craig Robinson

Craig D. Robinson (1952-2007) worked as a labor lawyer for several decades, primarily representing postal workers in court cases. Cases of labor abuse, and personal experiences working in laborer jobs drove Robinson to pursue a career in labor law. He was especially motivated by work as a postal clerk first in the U.S. Postal Service in Stafford Springs, Conn. (1974), and later, in the Springfield Bulk Mail Center (1975) where he witnessed cases of abuse and negligence. Prior to his employment at the mail center, he worked as a draft counselor in Voluntown, Conn., a day laborer picking fruit on migrant farms in 32 different states, a cloth miller, and roofer while attending Manchester Community College (Manchester, Conn.). Robinson was previously enrolled in the University of Connecticut, but was forced to drop-out due to exorbitant tuition costs by the state’s governor in 1971. His organizing activities, and labor activism, began in 1980 when he led a slowdown against the post office during which trailers of mail had to be parked in the employees’ parking lot. He quickly became actively involved in organizing, and was an active member of the Taft-Hartley Repeal Committee (circa 1980), as well as being involved in the American Postal Workers Defense Committee (1980) at the end of college. Along with representing the local American Postal Workers Union as the General Counsel, Robinson represented the local Amalgamated Transit Unions (bus drivers and other transit employees), the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council, and the United Roofers’ Union Local 248. His firm also represented the U.S. Mail Handlers Union, Local 301, the local Teamsters Union (Local 404), and the American Federation of Government Employees for Westover Air Force Base between 2001-2003.Robinson participated, and won, prominent cases in relation to the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), and the American Disability Act (ADA) during the late 1980s, and 1990s. He also served as a National Arbitration Advocate for the American Postal Workers Union, taking court cases to national panels before federal judges in Washington D.C.

Robinson obtained a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1980. He obtained a J.D. from Western New England School of Law in 1984 after which he began to practice law. Robinson was admitted to the U.S. District Court Bar for Massachusetts in 1988. He continued to work for the U.S. Postal Service on the work-room floor until 1991 when he turned to focusing solely on his legal career. Along with this career, Robinson was very active in numerous union and local organizations.

Robinson sat on the board of numerous organizations, and served as an advisor for many others with a social, and economic justice focus. He served as the President of the American Postal Workers’ Union in 1977, and again in 1985 when it merged with the Local 497. Some such boards include the Western Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), the Union Community Fund of Western Massachusetts, and the Town Finance Committee. He advised and was a member of Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.

Contents of Collection

This collection contains three series related to legal cases and actions, personal materials generated by Craig Robinson, and publications accumulated by Robinson primarily relating to law and labor in the United States. The bulk of the collection consists of civil actions such as court cases and proceedings from Robinson’s time as an attorney, primarily spanning the late 1980s to the early 2000s which deal with issues of workers’ discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and primarily, disability or health issues which led to worker suspension or termination by the U.S. Postal Service. Court files contain original grievance against employer filed, trial hearings along with testimonies or evidence, and/or resolutions by court such as awards. It also includes a file of testimonies related to the American Postal Workers Defense Committee (1980) which sought to represent and build support for postal workers who went on strike due to unfair conditions. The collection further consists of personal materials related to Robinson’s activities as a law student, and undergraduate, taking courses in history, ethics, and law. Materials from Robinson’s time as a student during the mid-1980s exhibit an interest in correcting unfair labor practices in the United States towards blue-collar workers, as well as socio-economic history. Other files and publications in the collection depict Robinson’s investment in improving unionized workers’ bargaining power through coalitions, and networks, as well as labor unions. Publications in the collection primarily relate to labor unions such as the American Postal Workers Union, labor abuses by the U.S. Postal Service primarily, monopoly capitalism, and labor law practice.

Series descriptions

1976-2005

This series contains court cases, contracts, local impasse (grievances), proceedings, and summary orders for court related to Robinson’s legal work, primarily representing individuals for the American Postal Workers Union, as well as a file of testimonies from the American Postal Workers Defense Committee (1980) with which Robinson was involved. The cases span the 1980s-90s, and primarily deal with issues of work-related discrimination towards blue-collar workers, especially women, and minorities. Some of the cases, and grievances, mention racism, sexism, and discrimination against disability or health issues arising in the U.S. Postal Service such as Nelligan v. U.S. Postal Service, Ross v. U.S. Postal Service, Smith v. U.S. Postal Service, and Suprenant v. U.S. Postal Service respectively. A number of cases were won by Robinson, and involve arbitration on the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which sought to remediate unfair practices in the U.S. Postal Service among other agencies. A few cases deal with the topic of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity during which postal workers developed allergies to chemicals circulating while handling the mail, making work intolerable as in the case of M. Masse v. U.S. Postal Service. Other cases mention potentially unfair hiring practices, and disciplinary actions towards employees in the postal service. The series is organized alphabetically by material type, and court cases are organized by last name.

Series descriptions

1954-2007

The series includes personal materials such as awards/certificates, correspondence, diplomas, a number of files, and organizational fliers related to American Postal Workers Union elections circa 1980, and major union issues, as well as educational materials from coursework, papers, and seminars attended. Some of the files and a paper relate to the Taft-Hartley Act (Labor Management Relations Act, 1947); a piece of legislation passed to restrict power of labor unions in the workplace known as the “slave labor” bill among union representatives. The series includes a file related to the Coalition to Save Jobs; a prominent labor movement that sought to return jobs being moved overseas or replaced by automation to the United States. Papers written by Robinson during his undergraduate and law school education are also present on such themes as undocumented workers (1980), and the working class (1974), as well as the movement to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act which would give more rights to labor unions (1980). Also included in the series is a single photograph of Robinson with Cesar Chavez; an American labor leader and civil rights activist, representing the National Farm Workers Association. The series is organized alphabetically by type of material.

Series descriptions

1964-2002

This series contains publications relating primarily to labor, as well as some related to law such as informal publications including pamphlets, and handbooks, journals, magazine, news files, newsletters, and newspapers. Several news files document rising inflation, the Anti-Nuclear Coalition, and the death of Michael McDermott; a post office employee who was killed in a bulk mail sorter accident at a mail center in New York City in 1978 which led to the American Postal Workers’ Union encouraging strikes, and calling for tighter OSHA regulations and safety reforms in the wake of the accident. Informal publications deal with the issues of labor union organizing during the era of Reaganomics, alternatives to monopoly capitalism, as well as labor law and general law practice in the United States with a focus on economic justice and equality. Series is arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Collection inventory

Series 1.
1976-2005
Arbitration Panels: American Postal Workers Union/ National Association of Letter Carriers (U.S.) and U.S. Postal Service
1990 Aug
Box 1: 1
Cases: Aldaco v. U.S. Postal Service
1981 June
Box 1: 2
Cases: Allard v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Jan
Box 1: 3
Cases: Allen v. U.S. Postal Service
1997 Mar
Box 1: 4
Cases: Amalgamated Transit Union v. Springfield Transit Management Inc.
1996-2001
Box 1: 5
Cases: American Federation of Government Employees (Local 3707) v. 439th Airlift Wing, Westover Air Force Base
1996 June
Box 1: 6
Cases: American Postal Workers Union/ Class Action Awards v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Oct-1996 Oct
Box 1: 7
Cases: American Postal Workers Union (Local 497) v. U.S. Postal Service
1990
Box 1: 8
Cases: American Postal Workers Union (Local 497) v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Jul
Box 1: 9
Cases: Bailey v. U.S. Postal Service
1991 Mar
Box 1: 10
Cases: Balding v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 June
Box 1: 11
Cases: Ballerini, Belange, Vincent v. U.S. Postal Service
1985 Apr
Box 1: 12
Cases: Bessee v. U.S. Postal Service
1976 Jul
Box 1: 13
Cases: Birman v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Feb
Box 1: 14
Cases: Bocko v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Feb
Box 1: 15
Cases: Boh v. U.S. Postal Service
1987 Jul
Box 1: 16
Cases: Boots v. U.S. Postal Service
2005 June
Box 1: 17
Cases: Borelli (P.) v. U.S. Postal Service
2000 Mar
Box 1: 18
Cases: Borelli (T.C.) v. Office of Personnel Management Agency
2001 June
Box 1: 19
Cases: Boxold v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Dec
Box 1: 20
Cases: Briggs v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Sept
Box 1: 21
Cases: Broadbent v. U.S. Postal Service
1991 Nov
Box 1: 22
Cases: Brown v. Chicopee Firefighters (Local 1710)
1992-1993
Box 1: 23
Cases: Brusso v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Apr
Box 1: 24
Cases: Bucchino v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 May
Box 1: 25
Cases: Burgard v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Jul
Box 1: 26
Cases: Burgess v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Apr
Box 1: 27
Cases: Burrough v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Dec
Box 1: 28
Cases: Butler v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Nov
Box 1: 29
Cases: Carithers v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Feb
Box 1: 30
Cases: Clark v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Nov
Box 1: 31
Cases: Clinger v. U.S. Postal Service
2004
Box 1: 32
Cases: Combs v. U.S. Postal Service
1976 Jul
Box 1: 33
Cases: Congleton v. United States. Department of Justice
2002 Mar
Box 1: 34
Cases: Cross v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 June
Box 1: 35
Cases: Dennehy v. U.S. Postal Service
1983 Feb
Box 1: 36
Cases: DiPleco v. U.S. Postal Service
1995 Apr
Box 1: 37
Cases: Doherty v. U.S. Postal Service
1992 Nov
Box 1: 38
Cases: Dominique v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 June
Box 1: 39
Cases: Durocker v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Oct
Box 1: 40
Cases: Evanski v. U.S. Postal Service
1988 Jan
Box 1: 41
Cases: Falcon v. U.S. Postal Service
1976 June
Box 1: 42
Cases: Gross v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Jan
Box 1: 43
Cases: Hague v. U.S. Postal Service
1984 Nov
Box 1: 44
Cases: Harris v. U.S. Postal Service
1992 Dec
Box 1: 45
Cases: Henn v. U.S. Postal Service
1999 Jan
Box 1: 46
Cases: Hernandez v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Dec
Box 1: 47
Cases: Hogue v. U.S. Postal Service
1987 Sept
Box 1: 48
Cases: Hoomis v. U.S. Postal Service
2004 Apr
Box 1: 49
Cases: International Union of Operating Engineers (Local 98) v. Town of Springfield (Vt.)
1996 Mar
Box 1: 50
Cases: Jenkins v. U.S. Postal Service
1995 Apr
Box 1: 51
Cases: Jones (C.L.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Nov
Box 1: 52
Cases: Jones (D.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1983 Mar
Box 1: 53
Cases: Kozik v. U.S. Postal Service
1987 Dec
Box 1: 54
Cases: Lalla v. U.S. Postal Service
1995 June
Box 1: 55
Cases: Lane and Son, Inc. v. I. U. O. E., Local 98
1996 Feb
Box 1: 56
Cases: Lewis v. U.S. Postal Service
2005 Mar
Box 1: 57
Cases: Lumpkin v. U.S. Postal Service
1978 Nov
Box 1: 58
Cases: MacSwain v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Dec
Box 1: 59
Cases: Magno v. U.S. Postal Service
1991-1993
Box 1: 60
Cases: Marniak v. First National Supermarkets, Inc.
1993 Apr
Box 1: 61
Cases: Marrero v. U.S. Postal Service
2004 June
Box 1: 62
Cases: Martin v. U.S. Postal Service
1986 Feb
Box 1: 63
Cases: Masse v. U.S. Postal Service
1999 Nov
Box 1: 64
Cases: McCann v. U.S. Postal Service
1987 May
Box 1: 65
Cases: McClain v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 June
Box 1: 66
Cases: McRae v. U.S. Postal Service
2002 Mar
Box 1: 67
Cases: Meacham v. U.S. Postal Service
1995 June
Box 1: 68
Cases: Medina v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Apr
Box 1: 69
Cases: Mitchell v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 June-1996 Aug
Box 1: 70
Cases: Moe v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Nov
Box 1: 71
Cases: Murphy v. U.S. Postal Service
1982 Dec
Box 1: 72
Cases: Nacci v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Jul
Box 1: 73
Cases: Nartowicz v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Dec
Box 1: 74
Cases: Nash v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Feb
Box 1: 75
Cases: National Post Office Mail Handlers Union/LIUNA v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Mar
Box 1: 76
Cases: Nelligan v. U.S. Postal Service
2001 June
Box 1: 77
Cases: Palmer v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Nov
Box 1: 78
Cases: Parker v. U.S. Postal Service
1981 Nov
Box 1: 79
Cases: Puerto Rican Cultural Center Inc. v. Rivera and Rodriquez
1999 Dec
Box 1: 80
Cases: Quintano v. U.S. Postal Service
1999 Dec
Box 1: 81
Cases: Rebman v. U.S. Postal Service
1995 Mar
Box 1: 82
Cases: Reyna v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Aug
Box 1: 83
Cases: Rivera v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Sept
Box 1: 84
Cases: Romine v. U.S. Postal Service
1984 Dec
Box 1: 85
Cases: Ross v. U.S. Postal Service
1992 Apr
Box 1: 86
Cases: Samuel v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Jan
Box 1: 87
Cases: Santaniello v. U.S. Postal Service
2004 June
Box 1: 88
Cases: Secretary of Labor v. American Postal Workers Union
1999 Jan
Box 1: 89-90
Cases: Shea v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Nov
Box 1: 91
Cases: Smith (B.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Oct
Box 1: 92
Cases: Smith (W.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1987 Jan
Box 1: 93
Cases: Snider v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 May
Box 1: 94
Cases: Spencer v. U.S. Postal Service
1990 Sept
Box 1: 95
Cases: Spooner v. U.S. Postal Service
1998 Oct
Box 1: 96
Cases: Strong v. U.S. Postal Service
1997 Jul
Box 1: 97
Cases: Suprenant v. U.S. Postal Service
1999
Box 1: 98
Cases: Switzer v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Sept
Box 1: 99
Cases: Thompson (E.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 June
Box 1: 100
Cases: Thompson (R.) v. U.S. Postal Service
1984 Nov
Box 1: 101
Cases: Tooker v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 May
Box 1: 102
Cases: Troie v. U.S. Postal Service
1991 Dec
Box 1: 103
Cases: Tutson v. U.S. Postal Service
1993 Aug
Box 1: 104
Cases: United Government Security Officers of America (Local 14) v. The Wackenhut Corporation
1996 Oct
Box 1: 105
Cases: U.S.P.S. Data Centers v. U.S. Postal Service
1992 Aug
Box 1: 106
Cases: Vaughn v. La Bonte
1990 Mar
Box 2: 1
Cases: Watley v. U.S. Postal Service
1981 Aug
Box 2: 2
Cases: West v. U.S. Postal Service
1996 Oct
Box 2: 3
Cases: Whitaker v. U.S. Postal Service
1994 Sept
Box 2: 4
Cases: White v. U.S. Postal Service
1976 Apr
Box 2: 5
Cases: Zizza v. U.S. Postal Service
1989 Sept
Box 2: 6
Contract Proposals: American Postal Workers Union (CT Area)
2005 Jan
Box 2: 7
Court Proceedings: National Labor Relations Board
2005 May
Box 2: 8
Local Impasse (Grievances)
1988-1989
Box 2: 9
Summary Orders
2001 Dec
Box 2: 10
Testimonies: K. Leiner, Postal Workers Defense Committee
1980 Jan
Box 2: 11
Series 2.
1954-2007
Awards: Law
1977-1985
Box 2: 12
Awards: Who’s Who in America
1998
Box 4: 1
Biographical Materials
1998-2007
Box 2: 13
Certificates
1999-2003
Box 5: 1
Correspondence
1977-1992
Box 2: 14
Coursework: Anthropology 317CE-1, Economics 181, Ethics
1974-1975
Box 2: 15
Coursework: Rhetoric 110C
1980
Box 2: 16
Coursework: Social History
1976 May
Box 2: 17
Coursework: U.S. History 202
1973
Box 2: 18
Diplomas: High School
1970
Box 2: 19
Diplomas: University of Massachusetts-Amherst, B.A. of General Studies
1980
Box 4: 2
Ephemera: Elections (American Postal Workers Union)
ca. 1990
Box 2: 20
Files: American Postal Workers Union
1977-1989
Box 2: 21-23
Files: Coalition to Save Jobs
1980
Box 2: 24
Files: Taft-Hartley Repeal Act
1954-1980
Box 2: 25-26
Fliers: American Postal Workers Union, Citizens’ Party, Commercial Workers Union
1979
Box 2: 27
Fliers (Oversize): American Postal Workers Union Elections
ca 1980
Box 5: 2
Fliers (Oversize): New England Student Conference for a Nuclear Free Future
1980 Feb
Box 5: 3
Papers: Taft-Hartley Act
1980 Sept
Box 2: 28
Papers: Undocumented Workers
1980
Box 2: 29
Papers: Working People of Fall River
1974 Sept
Box 2: 30
Photographs: Craig Robinson and Cesar Chavez (United Farm Workers)
undated
Box 2: 31
Seminars: “Representing Claimants before OWCP”
2003 June
Box 2: 32
White Papers: Reagan Labor Board, edited by Paul Alan Levy
1984 June
Box 2: 33
Tassles
Box 4
Series 3.
1964-2002
Informal Publications: American Arbitration Association
1964-1972
Box 2: 34
Informal Publications: American Bar Association
1983 Mar
Box 2: 35
Informal Publications: American Federation of Labor
1974-2002
Box 2: 36
Informal Publications: American Postal Workers Union
1978-1984
Box 2: 37
Informal Publications:Bureau of National Affairs, Coalition to Save Jobs, Daily News
1961-1990
Box 2: 38
Informal Publications: International Socialists
1975
Box 2: 39
Informal Publications: Labor Center, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
1999
Box 2: 40
Informal Publications: Labor Education Center, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
1985
Box 2: 41
Informal Publications: Labor and Education Project
1985
Box 2: 42
Informal Publications: Legal Rights of Union Stewards, Lynd Staughton
1988
Box 2: 43
Informal Publications: National Lawyers’ Guild
1981-1990
Box 2: 44
Informal Publications: National Labor Relations Board
1965
Box 2: 45
Informal Publications: New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
undated
Box 2: 46
Informal Publications: People’s Tribune, Progressive
1979
Box 2: 47
Informal Publications: Rural America
1977 Dec
Box 2: 48
Informal Publications: Textile Workers Union of America
ca 1974
Box 2: 49
Informal Publications: Union for Radical Political Economics
1975
Box 2: 50
Informal Publications: United Autoworkers Union, U.S. Department of Labor
1975-1982
Box 2: 51
Journals: American Sociological Review
1970 Aug
Box 2: 52
Journals: Anthropology of Warfare
1974
Box 2: 53
Journals: Antioch Review
1970 Jul
Box 2: 54
Journals: Insurgent Sociologist
1976 Jul
Box 2: 55
Journals: Journal of the Cooperative Movement
1977 Sept
Box 2: 56
Journals: Journal of Social Issues
1971
Box 2: 57
Journals: Law and Society Review
1966-1971
Box 2: 58
Journals: Warner Modular Publications Inc.
1973
Box 2: 59
Magazines: AFL-CIO American Federationist
1979 Sept
Box 3: 1
Magazines: American Postal Worker
1977 Oct-1980 Sept
Box 3: 2
News Files: Anti-Nuclear Coalition
1979
Box 3: 3
News Files: Inflation
ca 1980
Box 3: 4
News Files (Oversize): American Postal Service Strikes
1978-1980
Box 5: 4
Newsletters: American Postal Workers Union; Bay Breeze, Garden State Postal Union News, IPWU Dispatch
1980
Box 3: 5
Newsletters: American Postal Workers Union; Springfield Rifle
1979-2001
Box 3: 6
Newsletters: American Postal Workers Union; Terre Haute Area Local A.P.W.U., Union Flash, Union Worker
1978
Box 3: 7
Newsletters: Association for Union Democracy, CSRA, Labor Education and Research Project, National Lawyers’ Guild
1979-2001
Box 3: 8
Newsletters: Postal Employees News Digest Inc., Postal Workers Contract Committee News, Western MassCOSH
1980-2001
Box 3: 9
Newsletters (Oversize): American Postal Workers Unions
1978-1980
Box 5: 5
Newspapers: AFL-CIO News
1979 Aug-1992 June
Box 3: 10
Newspapers: Detroit Postal Worker
1980 Aug
Box 3: 11
Newspapers: Lex Breuis
1983 Oct
Box 3: 12
Newspapers: The Militant
1978 Aug
Box 3: 13
Newspapers: P.O.W. (Post Office Worker)
1978 May-1980 Mar
Box 3: 14
Newspapers: Union Mail
1980 Apr-Aug
Box 3: 15

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Gift of Linda J. Tonoli, 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Michelle C. Sigiel, January 2018.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Craig D. Robinson Papers (MS 739). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

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.

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