Summary Information
Title: UE Publicity Department Files
Collection Number: UE.8.3
Creator: United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America. Publicity Department.

Collection Dates: 1938-1995
Extent: 8.75 linear feet (7 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
The publicity department of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) was responsible for creating press releases and a variety of pamphlets, often working closely with the research department, as well as fulfilling requests for these materials made by union members and other interested parties. This subgroup contains a wide range of records from the UE publicity department, including press releases, strike bulletins, educational materials to be used by union members, and requests for materials.
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 Sean Kilcoyne and Zachary Brodt.
History

The publicity department of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) was charged with a variety of functions within the international union. This department was responsible for creating press releases and a variety of pamphlets, often working closely with the research department, as well as fulfilling requests for these materials made by union members and other interested parties. Many important topics, such as McCarthyism, strikes, and automation, were addressed publicly by the UE through the work of the publicity department. Along with the UE News, these publications were the UE’s main facet of communication throughout the union and the country.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

This subgroup contains a wide range of records from the UE publicity department. Press releases and strike bulletins were created for dispersal to wire services, newspapers, radio stations, magazines, and UE local publications. These releases were written to communicate the UE’s perspective on strikes and current events, as well as to promote various publications and films. Other files encompass an array of educational materials collected for the purpose of running effective shop stewards workshops and leadership training sessions. Subject priorities include the history of the UE as well as the role of labor in a capitalist society. Pedagogical materials are further enhanced by the inclusion of a sizeable amount of UE historical documentation, of both internal and external nature. Finally, this collection includes requests for materials submitted by external agencies and individuals. More complete scope notes for each series are listed below.


Arrangement

Series 8.3.1. Press Releases, 1946-1987

Series 8.3.2. Educational Materials, 1940-1995

Series 8.3.3. Requests for Materials, 1938-1956


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- History
  • Industrial relations -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Labor laws and legislation -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Labor unions -- Organizing -- United States
  • Labor unions -- United States -- Officials and employees

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

Personal Names
  • Boyer, Richard Owen, 1903-1973
  • Higgins, James
  • Matles, James J.
  • Morais, Herbert M. (Herbert Montfort) , 1905-1970

Genres/Forms
  • Correspondence
  • Press releases
  • Publications

Category
  • Education
  • 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 1986.

Preferred Citation:

UE Publicity Department Files, 1938-1995, UE.8.3, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Sean Kilcoyne in December 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:

UE Publications, UE.8.1, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

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


Collection Inventory

Series 8.3.1. Press Releases 1946-1987

Scope and Content Notes:

This series encompasses a variety of press releases designed by the publicity department for dispersal to wire services, newspapers, radio stations, magazines, and UE local publications. The earliest examples include 1946 Strike Bulletins which provide both breaking news and contextual information about the UE-CIO strike against General Electric, Westinghouse, and the electrical division of General Motors. This strike involved a total of 200,000 blue collar and white collar workers stopping work on January 15, 1946 in demand of a $2 per day wage increase.

Later press releases promote a variety of events such as the 3rd and 4th Annual Women's Conferences in 1955 and 1956 and publications, such as the 1956 book Labors Untold Story, and the film Sister UE goes to Washington. A number of timely political statements issued in solidarity with the broader cause of labor can be found in this series, as well as evidence of the UE's continuing activism on behalf of racial equality in the workplace. Included in this series are press releases from the UE bulletin Shop Paper-Radio-News Service and Labor News, as well as statements of income and expense for the UE publicity department between the years 1952 and 1978.

Box 1 Strike Bulletins and Press Releases, 1946-1973
Box 2 Press Releases and Shop Paper-Radio-News Service Press Releases, 1963-1987
Box 3 Press Release, 1963-1969

Series 8.3.2. Educational Materials 1940-1995

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains a selection of materials employed by the UE for the purpose of educating shop stewards. As stewards were charged with being the official UE spokesperson and representative of a given local, their education was rather comprehensive. A diverse range of subjects were taught, including class consciousness, economics, labor, and the structure and history of the UE itself. Included are class outlines, lesson plans, shop steward guides detailing the responsibilities of the position, and samples of reading materials.

In addition, this series contains a wealth of primary and secondary source information chronicling the history of the UE. Convention bulletins, chronologies, newspaper clippings, and unpublished materials provide insight into the various stages of the organization's history. Further insight into the history of the UE is supplied by the manuscripts for two books: The Untold Story: Labor's Fight for a Better America by Richard O. Boyer, Herbert Morais, and Len De Caux (later published under the title Labor's Untold Story) and Them and Us: Struggles of a Rank and File Union by James J. Matles and James Higgins. In the case of Them and Ue, there is also documentation surrounding the details of publication, such as correspondence with the publisher and ISBN information.

Box 3 Class Outlines and Sample Leaflets, 1946-1983
Box 4 History of the UE, 1940-1967
Box 5 Book Manuscripts, 1954-1995

Series 8.3.3. Requests for Publications 1938-1956

Scope and Content Notes:

This series consists of requests for materials sent to the UE publicity department. Requesting parties represent a variety of interests, including corporations, governmental agencies, and educators. Requests are in both letter and postcard format. Sample publications from UE locals are also included.

Box 6 Requests for Publications, 1943-1953
Box 7 Requests for Publications, Correspondence, and UE Local Publications, 1939-1956