Summary Information
Title: UE News Records
Collection Number: UE.12
Creator: United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Collection Dates: 1936-1997
Extent: 18.75 linear feet (15 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
The People’s Press was the official newspaper of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) from 1936 to 1938 and was replaced by the UE News as the official paper in 1939. This record group contains research and correspondence documenting subscription information and articles within both UE newspapers. Digital reproductions of selected images are available online.
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:

April 2009
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Emily Hatcher, Meredith Johnson, Daniel Carthew, and Zachary Brodt.
History

The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) formed as an independent union in 1936 and then was incorporated as the first major addition to the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1938. The People’s Press served as the union’s primary publication from 1936 to 1938. The People’s Press printed several editions for various organizations around the country with the UER&MW edition standing for United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. In 1939, just three years after its formation, the UE created the UE News to replace the People’s Press as the union’s primary publication. The UE News focused on labor history and informing subscribers of current events affecting the working class. Throughout its history the paper covered pertinent topics such as McCarthyism, war, strikes, and other issues pertaining to the labor movement, often reflecting the union’s rank and file mentality in that the members make all decisions regarding the UE. In addition to a variety of articles, the paper included editorial and political cartoons by staff cartoonist Fred Wright, who worked for the UE from 1949 until his death in 1984. He has since been succeeded by Gary Huck, who maintains the union’s tradition of utilizing humor to illustrate various issues. The UE News serves as an outreach tool used by the union to communicate not only with its members, but with anyone seeking information regarding the union’s activities.

Tom Wright was named the first managing editor of the UE News in 1939 and was responsible for establishing the newspaper not only within the union, but the entire labor community. In 1967, Wright retired from the UE News and James Lerner, a reporter and photographer for the paper, became the new managing editor. Under Lerner, the UE News created a close affiliation with the workers in factories, foundries, and offices organized by the UE. Lerner was succeeded by Peter Gilmore as editor of the UE News sometime in the late 1970s. In addition to continuing Lerner's communication with other international labor organizations, Gilmore focused the paper on labor issues in the Soviet Union and Scotland. Alan Hart succeeded Peter Gilmore in 2006 as managing editor of the newspaper. The UE News is still in circulation today, signifying the strength and unity of the union while informing members of issues involving the working class. Issues of the newspaper are printed eight times a year and can now be found online.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

This record group contains research and correspondence regarding the People’s Press and UE News. Research includes newsletters and clippings from a variety of sources concerning union locals and companies. There is information regarding plant closings and strikes, particularly in the 1970s. Also present are notes taken at several UE Political Action Conferences, which include information regarding legislation and labor issues in the mid 1990s. The correspondence contains subscription information, as well as letters received by UE News editors concerning articles and photographs published in the paper. Press releases are also present in this record group. Although records in the collection date from 1936 to 1997, there are several gaps within the documentation.


Arrangement

These files are arranged chronologically by topic.

Subgroup 12.1. Plant Closings and Strikes

Subgroup 12.2. Clippings and Convention Notes

Subgroup 12.3. Correspondence

Subgroup 12.4. Mimeograph Plates


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- Periodicals
  • Electric industry workers -- United States -- Periodicals

Corporate Names
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Personal Names
  • Gilmore, Peter
  • Lerner, James
  • Lewis, Robert Z.

Genres/Forms
  • Correspondence
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Press releases

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 the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America in 1976 and 2004.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically at http://images.library.pitt.edu/u/ue/.

Preferred Citation:

UE News Records, 1936-1997, UE.12, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Emily Hatcher, Meredith Johnson, and Daniel Carthew in October 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:

Fred Wright Papers, 1953-1986, UE.13, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

UE News Photograph Collection, 1933-1998, UE.14.1, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Separated Material:
Individual issues of the People’s Press and the UE News, both on paper and microfilm, have been cataloged and are housed at the Archives Service Center. Audio cassettes containing news broadcasts regarding labor struggles can be found with other cassettes from labor collections in the audio cabinet.


Collection Inventory

Subgroup 12.1. Plant Closings and Strikes

Scope and Content Notes:

These files contain information on various strikes and plant closings from 1979 through 1996. Records contain information on individual strikes; newsletters and pamphlets authored by the striking locals; information about the negotiations between strikers and the companies; UE reporters' notes on the events; and some clippings of published news stories pertaining to the strike. General Electric (GE) and Westinghouse strikes in New York, California, Florida, and Indiana are among those covered.


Box 1
Folder 1 Westinghouse Electric Negotiations, 1976
Folder 2 Soviet Trade Union Delegation Visits, 1978
Folder 3 WBCN-FM Radio Strike, 1979
Folder 4 Connecticut Flyers, 1979-1981
Folder 5 Runaway Shops and Plant Closings UE, 1980-1983
Folder 06-07 GE Plant Elmira, NY, 1980-1983
Folder 8 Steward Warner Strike Local 1154, 1980
Folder 09-12 GE Plant Closing Ontario, CA, 1981
Folder 13 Paragon Gears Plant Closing, 1981
Folder 14 Plant Closings, 1981-1983
Folder 15-18 Morse Strike and Plant Closing, 1982-1983
Folder 19 UE-GE Negotiations, 1982
Folder 20 Timex Plant Closing Dundee, Scotland, 1983
Folder 21 Dura-Vent Plant Closes, 1983

Box 2
Folder 1 Litton Co. Microwave Cooking Products, 1984
Folder 2 Litton’s United Twist Drill (UTD) Plant, 1985
Folder 3 GE/Collective Bargaining Committee Negotiations, 1985
Folder 04-05 “Why Bryant Electric Should Stay in Bridgeport” Essay Contests, 1986
Folder 6 Closing of Bryant Electric Plant, 1987
Folder 7 GE plant Closings in Tampa, FL and Decatur, IN, 1988
Folder 8 Cox Creek Copper Refinery, UE Local 125 Baltimore, 1989
Folder 9 Circuit-Wise, 1989-1990
Folder 10-11 Erie Plastics Campaign, 1990
Folder 12 Dynapert Sale, 1993
Folder 13 UE Local 214 Prince Pasta Organizing, 1994
Folder 14 University of Iowa Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, 1996

Subgroup 12.2. Clippings and Convention Notes

Scope and Content Notes:

These records contain clippings from various labor publications and newspapers with a special emphasis on "Legally Speaking," a column in the UE News written by Robert Z. Lewis, and the Shop Paper News Service. "Legally Speaking" discussed the decisions made by arbitrators and the negative legal ramifications they had on the workers. The Shop Paper News Service, another UE publication, was a quick summary of labor stories the national office sent out for individual locals to put in their shop papers. Stories were only a few lines long and covered issues like legal decisions, unemployment rates, and strike updates. This subgroup also contains reporters' notes on conventions and copies of speeches made there.


Box 3
Folder 01-08 UE News “Legally Speaking”, 1963-1982
Folder 09-16 Shop Paper News Service, 1977-1989
Folder 17 UE Sample Contract and Guide to Hazards in the Workplace, 1958, 1975
Folder 18 Questionnaire on UE News, 1963
Folder 19 UE Local 209 Workforce Statistics, 1982-1985
Folder 20 UE Steward Clippings, 1983
Folder 21 Salvadoran Electrical Workers’ Union, 1985-1988
Folder 22 UE Local 610 – Westinghouse Air Brake Co., 1986-1990
Folder 23 John H. Hovis Speech, 1988
Folder 24 Labor Newspapers, 1989
Folder 25 Political Action Anti-Reagan Leaflets, 1984
Folder 26 UE-GE Conference, 1992
Folder 27 UE Political Action Conference, 1994
Folder 28 UE Political Action Conference Washington D.C., 1995
Folder 29 UE Political Action Conference Iowa, 1996
Folder 30 UE Political Action Conference, 1997

Subgroup 12.3. Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

This subgroup contains records of correspondence between the UE News and various other groups and individuals. Several files are devoted to individual subscribers' correspondence, such as requests for change of address or subscription service and claims of faulty paper delivery. There is also communication between various districts from 1938 to 1941 concerning subscription information. The exchange of ideas and mutual admiration between the editor of the UE News, Peter Gilmore, and other labor activists and union publication editors, both overseas and in the United States, is extensively documented in personal letters and news stories from 1977 to 1996. Also included are posters used for organizational meetings and displaying industry statistics.


Box 4
Folder 01-02 People’s Press Subscriptions, 1938
Folder 03-07 District 1, 1938-1940
Folder 08-13 District 2, 1938-1940
Folder 14-17 District 3, 1938-1940
Folder 18-22 District 4, 1938-1940
Folder 23-27 District 5, 1938-1941
Folder 28-32 District 6, 1938-1941
Folder 33-37 District 7, 1938-1941
Folder 38-42 District 8, 1938-1941
Folder 43-47 District 9, 1938-1941
Folder 48-52 District 10, 1938-1941
Folder 53-57 District 11, 1938-1941
Folder 58-60 District 12, 1938-1940

Box 5
Folder 1 Correspondence with Heidi Steffens, 1974-1978
Folder 2 Correspondence with Washington D.C. Office, 1974-1979
Folder 03-04 Correspondence with Edna Farkas, 1981-1982
Folder 05-07 Requests for Add, Change, or Delete from UE News Mailing List, 1958-1981
Folder 08-11 Correspondence with Washington D.C. Office, 1974-1979
Folder 12-14 Mailing List Correspondence with Locals, 1983-1986
Folder 15-19 Subscription Correspondence, 1980-1986

Box 6
Folder 1 People’s Press Subscription Breakdowns, 1936-1937
Folder 02-04 UE News Memos, 1977-1983
Folder 5 Letters from Donors, 1979
Folder 06-08 Publicity Education Correspondence, 1976-1985
Folder 09-28 Peter Gilmore Correspondence, 1977-1996

Box 7
Folder 01-26 UE News Correspondence, 1938-1986

Box 8
Folder 1 Michael Funke Correspondence, 1981-1987
Folder 2 Consumer Correspondence
Folder 3 GE Press Clippings, 1973
Folder 4 Newspaper Clippings, 1916, 1932, 1989, 1992
Folder 05-06 News Clippings regarding Square D, 1948-1954
Folder 07-10 Press Clippings, 1977-1988
Folder 11 Officers Tour Clippings, 1982
Folder 12-13 Newspaper Clippings, 1989-1996
Folder 14-16 Press Releases, 1988-1995
Folder 17-23 UE News Bulletin (Canada), 1990-1992
Folder 24-28 Film Catalogs
Box 9 Posters and Graphs

Subgroup 12.4. Mimeograph Plates

Scope and Content Notes:

This subgroup contains mimeograph plates of individual head shots of hundreds of union rank and file members. Pictures portray members of union locals as well as national UE leaders, such as Secretary Treasurer Julius Emspak; Director of Organization James Matles; General Presidents Albert Fitzgerald and James Carey, who later became president of the CIO-IUE; and labor cartoonist Fred Wright. These plates are artifacts of the printing process used by the UE News and were typically used repeatedly by the paper to depict union officials and other important people.

Box 10-15 Mimeograph Plates