Summary Information
Title: UE Communism Collection
Collection Number: UE.10.2.1
Creator: United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Collection Dates: 1935-1968
Extent: 46.25 linear feet (37 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
Beginning with the ratification of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, which forced union leaders to sign affidavits attesting that they were not members of the Communist Party, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) was accused of Communist activity. The union’s research department spent much of their time collecting information on McCarthyism and congressional committees investigating the threat of Communism in the United States. This series contains correspondence, transcripts, and reports regarding allegations of communist activities within the UE during the 1940s through the 1960s.
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

Beginning with the ratification of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947, which forced union leaders to sign affidavits attesting that they were not members of the Communist Party, the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) was accused of Communist activity. Initially UE officers were united in their noncompliance, resulting in the union's expulsion from the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1949. Then, at the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, many UE officers, including Director of Organization James Matles, were subpoenaed to appear before the United States Congress’ House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Many of these members were also brought before the Subversive Activities Control Board (SACB), which was formed in 1950 to investigate an alleged Communist infiltration of American society, or threatened with deportation or denaturalization.

The UE took a firm stand against McCarthyism and many members refused to testify at HUAC and SACB trials, often pleading their Fifth Amendment right to not name themselves as members of the Communist Party. The union’s research department spent much of their time during the 1950s collecting information on the testimonies of UE members and informants who claimed that members were active Communists. By the mid 1960s, the union was not pursued as aggressively by HUAC, but the UE continued to gather information regarding their activities and remained an outspoken opponent to the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the various committees investigating the alleged Communist infiltration of the United States.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

This series contains correspondence and reports regarding allegations of communist activities within the UE during the 1940s through the 1960s. Included are transcripts from HUAC and SACB testimonies given by or concerning UE members. Newspaper clippings about HUAC and SACB proceedings are present, as well as Taft-Hartley affidavits of several UE officers. Several files contain information on the red-baiting of the union and some of its more prominent members.


Arrangement

Files are grouped together by topic.


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States
  • Labor unions and communism -- United States

Corporate Names
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. Research Department.
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities.
  • United States. Labor Management Relations Act, 1947.
  • United States. Subversive Activities Control Board.

Genres/Forms
  • Correspondence
  • Transcripts

Category
  • Labor
  • Politics

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America in 1986 and 1997.

Preferred Citation:

UE Communism Collection, 1935-1968, UE.10.2.1, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Zachary Brodt in September 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

Congress of Industrial Organizations Collection, 1938-1982, UE.10.2.2, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Hymen Schlesinger Papers, 1927-1990, AIS.1977.33, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Steve Nelson Oral History Project Records, AIS.1978.24, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 601 Records, UE.16.601, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Charles Newell Papers, 1940-1959, AIS.2005.07, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Thomas J. Quinn Papers, 1947-92, AIS.1973.09, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Evelyn O. Darin Papers, 1954-1960, AIS.1988.19, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh


Collection Inventory
Box 1-4 Taft-Hartley Correspondence, Clippings, and Reports, 1947-1968
Box 5 Taft-Hartley Compliance Affidavits, 1947-1959
Box 6 Publications and Correspondence regarding Taft-Hartley, undated
Box 7-8 Material on SACB and HUAC Hearings, undated
Box 9-10 Brownell v. UE, SACB Case, 1950-1962
Box 11 SACB Correspondence and Publications, 1935-1956
Box 12 SACB Clippings on Companies and Organizations, 1947-1950
Box 13 Information on UE Members in SACB Hearing Transcripts, undated
Box 14-15 Files on SACB Investigations and Cases against UE, undated
Box 16-17 Subversive Activities Control Board Hearing Testimony, 1938-1956
Box 18 Research on the Subversive Activities Control Act, 1939-1957
Box 19-20 Research Files on HUAC/McCarthyism, undated
Box 21-25 HUAC Hearings and Reports, undated
Box 26-27 Hearing Transcripts and Reports on Communist Activities, undated
Box 28 Interrogations of Alleged Communist, 1947-1950
Box 29-31 Red-Baiting and Communist Domination of Unions, undated
Box 32 Anti-Radical Groups, undated
Box 33 Kersten Subcommittee and McCarthyism, undated
Box 34 McCarthyism, undated
Box 35-37 McCarthyite Research Cards, undated