Summary Information
Title: UE General Officers Records
Collection Number: UE.1
Creator: United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Collection Dates: 1936-1990
Extent: 43.2 linear feet (43 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) is led by three national officers: the General President, General Secretary Treasurer, and the Director of Organization. This record group contains the records of several prominent national officers of the UE. Included are correspondence, legal papers, and publications regarding the officers and some of the concerns faced during their terms of office.
Publisher:

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-3232
archives-ref@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

March 2009
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Zachary Brodt.
History

The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) is led by three national officers: the General President, General Secretary Treasurer, and the Director of Organization. These officers are elected at the union’s national convention. James Carey, Albert Fitzgerald, James Kane, and John Hovis all served as General President. Julius Emspak, James Matles, Boris Block, and Amy Newell have served as General Secretary Treasurer. Matles and Hovis have also served as Director of Organization, as did Robert Kirkwood, Hugh Harley, and Ed Bruno.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

This record group contains the records of several prominent national officers of the UE. Included are correspondence, legal papers, and publications regarding the officers and some of the concerns faced during their terms of office, such as strikes, organizing efforts, and McCarthyism.


Arrangement

Subgroup 1.1. James Carey

Subgroup 1.2. Albert Fitzgerald

Subgroup 1.3. Julius Emspak

Subgroup 1.4. James Matles

Subgroup 1.5. Hugh Harley

Subgroup 1.6. Boris Block

Subgroup 1.7. James Kane

Subgroup 1.8. John Hovis

Subgroup 1.9. Ed Bruno

Subgroup 1.10. Charles and Amy Newell

Subgroup 1.11. Robert Kirkwood


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- History
  • Labor unions -- United States -- Officials and employees
  • Labor unions -- United States -- Records and correspondence

Personal Names
  • Block, Boris
  • Bruno, Edmund
  • Carey, James B.
  • Emspak, Julius, 1904-1962
  • Fitzgerald, Albert J.
  • Harley, Hugh
  • Hovis, John
  • Kane, James
  • Kirkwood, Robert C., 1904-
  • Matles, James J.
  • Newell, Amy

Genres/Forms
  • Court records

Category
  • Labor

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

The records of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America are closed for a period of twenty-five years after their creation.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America in 1975, 1986, and 2004.

Preferred Citation:

UE General Officers Records, 1936-1990, UE.1, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Zachary Brodt in August 2008.

Copyright:

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Related Material:

Federal Bureau of Investigation on the UE Records, 1940-1985, UE.9.5, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

International Officers Correspondence, 1936-1956, UE.4.2, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.


Collection Inventory

Subgroup 1.1. James Carey

Scope and Content Notes:

James Carey was president of the UE from its inception in March 1936 to October 1941. After being defeated in the 1941 UE presidential election, he helped found the competing International Union of Electric Radio and Machine Workers (IUE) which replaced the UE as part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

This subgroup contains correspondence regarding the early development of the UE and Carey’s term as president of the union. Also included is correspondence during his time as Secretary of the CIO. Several speeches given by Carey on labor issues and unions are present, as well as personal correspondence with friends.

Box 1-2 James Carey, 1936-1941

Subgroup 1.2. Albert Fitzgerald

Scope and Content Notes:

Albert Fitzgerald served as president of the UE from November 1941 to October of 1978. This subgroup contains correspondence with James Carey regarding the competing electrical union, the IUE. Other letters discuss claims of Communism within the UE. Also included is personal correspondence from UE officers and members, as well as various organizations. Several speeches given by Fitzgerald regarding union issues are present.

Box 3-4 Albert Fitzgerald, 1941-1979

Subgroup 1.3. Julius Emspak

Scope and Content Notes:

Julius Emspak was the UE General Secretary Treasurer from the union’s inception in March 1936 to April 1962. This subgroup contains correspondence regarding Emspak’s work as UE Secretary Treasurer and on the CIO Executive Board. Also included are articles written by Emspak for the UE News.

Box 5-6 Julius Emspak, 1936-1962

Subgroup 1.4. James Matles

Scope and Content Notes:

James Matles served as the UE Director of Organization from September 1937 to October 1962. After the death of Julius Emspak, Matles succeeded him as General Secretary Treasurer from November 1962 to October 1975. In addition to correspondence regarding Matles’s service as UE Secretary Treasurer and on the CIO Appeals Committee, this subgroup also contains a variety of court documents detailing his trials. Matles was accused of being a Communist and was threatened with denaturalization by the government. These troubles are documented in witness testimony and court decisions published from his case. Letters of condolence after Matles' death are also present.

Box 7-9 James Matles, 1937-1975
Box 10-13 Matles Court Documents
Box 14 Matles Death and Memorial

Subgroup 1.5. Hugh Harley

Scope and Content Notes:

Hugh Harley served as the UE Director of Organization from November 1971 to October 1984. This subgroup contains organizational memos and reports distributed to officers and the general membership of the UE. These reports discuss the organizing activities of the union between 1966 and 1983.

Box 15 Hugh Harley, 1960-1983

Subgroup 1.6. Boris Block

Scope and Content Notes:

Boris Block succeeded Matles as General Secretary Treasurer of the UE from November 1975 to October 1985. This subgroup contains correspondence regarding Block’s term as Secretary Treasurer.

Box 16 Boris Block, 1975-1985

Subgroup 1.7. James Kane

Scope and Content Notes:

James Kane served as president of the UE from November 1981 to October 1987. The correspondence in this subgroup dates from 1984 to 1986 and contains information regarding other unions, conferences, and strikes.

Box 17 James Kane, 1984-1986

Subgroup 1.8. John Hovis

Scope and Content Notes:

John Hovis served as the UE Director of Organization from November 1984 to October 1987. In November 1987, he was elected president of the UE. This subgroup contains correspondence from 1984 to 1985. Included are organizational memos, as well as letters that discuss meetings with companies.

Box 18-19 John Hovis, 1984-1985

Subgroup 1.9. Ed Bruno

Scope and Content Notes:

Ed Bruno was the UE Director of Organization from November 1987 to October 1992. The correspondence in this subgroup dates from 1970 to 1999 and covers a variety of topics. Included are UE organizer memos and reports, publications, and information on Local 610. Also present are records concerning the Labor Party, the group Athol People’s Action, and several publications regarding other unions.

Box 20-35 Ed Bruno, 1970-2001

Subgroup 1.10. Charles and Amy Newell

Scope and Content Notes:

Amy Newell served as the UE General Secretary Treasurer from November 1985 to October 1994. Her father, Charles Newell, served as a UE organizer in 1937 before being assigned to Local 601 at the Westinghouse plant in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There he served as Business Agent for the local and as a member of the UE National Westinghouse Conference Board until the mid-1950s.

This subgroup contains a variety of documents collected by Amy Newell dating from the 1940s to 1990. These records contain correspondence and records relating to UE field staff, districts, locals, and contributions made to the union. Also included are daily updates regarding the James Matles court cases, articles on her election as Secretary Treasurer of the UE, and an oral history on Julius Emspak. In addition, lantern slides on the Ludlow Mine Massacre are present.

Box 36-42 Charles and Amy Newell, 1940s-1994

Subgroup 1.11. Robert Kirkwood

Scope and Content Notes:

Robert Kirkwood replaced Matles as UE Director of Organization in November 1963 and served until October 1971. This series includes organizational reports, correspondence, and remarks made by Kirkwood while serving his term in office.

Box 43 Robert Kirkwood