Summary Information
Title: UE General Executive Board Special Committee Records
Collection Number: UE.2.2
Creator: United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. General Executive Board.

Collection Dates: 1944-1966
Extent: 10.0 linear feet (8 boxes)

Language: English

This collection contains correspondence, minutes, and research regarding three special committees set up by the General Executive Board of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE): the National Defense Committee, National Fair Practices Committee, and National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee.

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

May 2009

Finding aid prepared by Zachary Brodt.

The General Executive Board of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) is responsible for advising and monitoring the actions of the general officers, determining the wage paid to national officers, issuing and revoking charters, and handling the union’s financial arrangements. Beginning in the mid-1940s, the General Executive Board began to establish special committees to research specific problems posing an immediate threat to the union or its potential members. The National Servicemen’s and Veteran’s Welfare Committee investigated the readjustment of returning war veterans to civilian life and the workforce. The National Fair Practices Committee discussed racial discrimination in company policy and the work place. Lastly, the National Defense Committee advocated the plight of union officers who were held in contempt for citing the Fifth Amendment when refusing to answer questions by the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Collection Scope and Content Notes

This collection contains correspondence, minutes, and research regarding three special committees set up by the General Executive Board of the UE: the National Defense Committee, National Fair Practices Committee, and National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee. Research includes newspaper clippings and congressional legislation.


Series 2.2.1. National Defense Committee

Series 2.2.2. National Fair Practices Committee

Series 2.2.3. National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee

Subject Terms

  • African Americans -- Employment -- United States
  • Discrimination in employment -- United States
  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- History
  • Labor unions -- Organizing -- United States
  • Labor unions -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Labor unions and communism -- United States
  • Self-incrimination -- United States
  • Women -- Employment -- United States
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Veterans -- United States

Corporate Names
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. National Defense Committee.
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. National Fair Practices Committee.
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee.
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. -- History
  • United States. Committee on Fair Employment Practice.
  • United States. Congress. House. Committee on Un-American Activities.

Personal Names
  • Emspak, Julius, 1904-1962
  • Matles, James J.
  • Quinn, Thomas J.
  • Thompson, Ernest, 1907-1971

  • Labor
  • Social action

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No Restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Gift of the United Electrical, Radio, and Marchine Workers of America in 1975, 1976, and 1986.

Preferred Citation:

UE General Executive Board Special Committee Records, 1944-1966, UE.2.2, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Previous Citation:

The series in this subgroup were merged from three collections which have been previously cited as: Records of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) National Defense Committee, 1950-1951, UE:NO-NDC, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Records of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) National Fair Practices Committee, 1945-1966, UE:NO-NFPC, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Records of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee, 1944-1946, UE:NSVWC, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Archives Service Center staff and reprocessed by Zachary Brodt in August 2008.


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.

Collection Inventory

Series 2.2.1. National Defense Committee 1950-1951

Scope and Content Notes:

The UE established the National Defense Committee in 1950 to publicize the plight of its union officers held in contempt of Congress for citing the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer questions posed by the House Un-American Activities Committee. UE President Albert Fitzgerald chaired the Committee and UE International Representative Clifford McAvoy served as secretary. An additional five to seven representatives from various UE locals completed the Defense Committee. In an attempt to reverse the charges of contempt of Congress, the Defense Committee sent telegrams, postcards and letters to members of Congress and U.S. Attorney General Howard McGrath. The Committee also distributed informational leaflets and the UE publications “Why All the Frame Ups,” “Frame Ups,” and “Stop the Frame Ups Against Our Union.” Although seven members of the UE faced contempt of Congress charges, five members, including UE Director of Organization James Matles, were acquitted by the spring of 1951. Special attention was then placed on the cases of UE Secretary/Treasurer Julius Emspak and UE District Six officer Thomas Quinn, who were incarcerated and denied bail while awaiting the outcome of their cases. The Defense Committee files cease in June 1951 when Clifford McAvoy was removed as Committee secretary to pursue organizational campaigns.

The bulk of the files consist of correspondence between the National Defense Committee and district offices, which center on fundraising events and other district activities. Several files contain donations and positive responses from individuals outside the UE and concern the UE publications “Why All the Frame Ups,” “Frame Ups,” and “Stop the Frame Ups Against Our Union.” Also included are Defense Committee meeting minutes (national) and member lists (national and district level). The file entitled “Information” contains the Committee’s program and record of action. Finally, these files contain the reports of a union organizer who was one of the seven union members charged with contempt of Congress.

Box 1
Folder 1 Correspondence: District 1, 1950-1951
Folder 2 Correspondence: District 2, 1950-1951
Folder 3 Correspondence: District 3, 1950-1951
Folder 4 Correspondence: District 4, 1950-1951
Folder 5 Correspondence: District 5, 1950-1951
Folder 6 Correspondence: District 6, 1950-1951
Folder 7 Correspondence: District 7, 1950-1951
Folder 8 Correspondence: District 8, 1950-1951
Folder 9 Correspondence: District 9, 1950-1951
Folder 10 Correspondence: District 10, 1950-1951
Folder 11 Correspondence: District 11, 1950-1951
Folder 12 Correspondence: Outside UE, 1950-1951
Folder 13 Form Letter, undated
Folder 14 Information, 1951
Folder 15 Lists, 1950
Folder 16-17 Outside Responses to "Why the Frame Ups", 1950-1951
Folder 18 Tice, Esther, 1951

Series 2.2.2. National Fair Practices Committee 1949-1956

Scope and Content Notes:

In 1947, the UE National Convention passed a resolution “Against Discrimination,” which included a section calling for the establishment of Fair Practices Committees at every level of the union. These committees were intended to further the General Executive Board’s stated goal of eliminating discrimination in employment and within the union’s own ranks. The 1947 resolution also called into existence a National Fair Practices Committee (FPC) to provide guidance and direction to the various district and local committees. As part of its mission, the FPC published educational material and guides to action against discrimination, which were distributed to UE districts and locals, as well as outside organizations. Issues receiving particular emphasis in this literature were inequalities in access to better paying positions within the workforce and limited access to leadership positions within the union. The earnings gaps between black and white workers and between men and women were especially highlighted, as were discriminatory insurance policies.

The 1950 UE National Convention expanded the capabilities of the Fair Practices Committee by providing it with a full-time secretary. Ernest Thompson, an African-American UE staffer who had previously worked as a field organizer and as business agent for several New Jersey UE locals, served as Chair from 1951 to 1956. Around 1956, the FPC program expanded to include issues like improving minority education, desegregating union organizing in the South, electing candidates who endorsed desegregation, supporting the passage of federal and state fair employment legislation, and training minorities for leadership positions within the UE. Although the FPC decreased in prominence after 1956, fair practices resolutions continued to appear at UE National Conventions through 1958 and minority rights remained a matter of perennial concern to the union.

These records include correspondence, publications, newspaper articles, resolutions, congressional bills, reports, press releases, and conference proceedings and resolutions. The files address the need to end discrimination against minorities by increasing employment, eliminating wage differentials, and improving the general working conditions of all minorities. In an attempt to encourage activity at the local level, the FPC presented the Tiffin Award to locals that distinguished themselves in combating discrimination. The series also documents the union’s active interest in nationally publicized cases of discrimination against minorities, such as the Willie McGee and Harold Ward cases. Additional files on the Federal Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC) indicate actions taken by the union to encourage enforcement of federal anti-discrimination regulations at national and state levels. Extensive files exist for the UE National Conferences on the Problems of Working Women, which the Fair Practices Committee coordinated. Held annually between 1953 and 1956, the Women’s Conferences enabled delegates from UE locals across the country to exchange information and develop strategies to address problems facing women workers. Topics of interest included the problems of speed-up, rate differentials, maternity leave, the need for legislative action, and civil rights. These files include delegate correspondence, typescripts of speeches, resolutions, and conference summaries.

Box 2
Folder 1 Congressional Bills: Civil Liberties Violations, 1953
Folder 2 Congressional Bills: Discrimination in Employment, 1953-1955
Folder 3 Correspondence: General Electric, 1950
Folder 4 Correspondence: Government Officials, 1949-1956
Folder 05-06 Discrimination: Government Information, 1950-1955
Folder 7 Federal Fair Employment Practices Committee: UE Activity, 1945-1966
Folder 08-09 Federal Fair Employment Practices Committee: UE Publications, 1952-1965
Folder 10 Federal Fair Employment Practices Committee: UE Telegrams, 1953
Folder 11 Group Relations: Conferences, 1950-1954
Folder 12 Leaflets: UE Locals, 1953-1954
Folder 13 Mimeographed Material: Miscellaneous, 1950-1954
Folder 14 Miscellaneous, 1949-1955
Folder 15 Newspaper Clippings, 1955-1956
Folder 16 Press Releases, 1950-1955
Folder 17 Printed Material, 1950-1954
Folder 18 Statement and Drafts by the UE, 1953
Folder 19 Tiffin Award: Correspondence, 1955-1956
Folder 20 Tiffin Award: Miscellaneous, 1955
Folder 21 Reports: District 4, 1955
Folder 22 Reports: District 7, 1955
Folder 23 Reports: District 9, 1955
Folder 24 Reports: District 11, 1955
Folder 25 UE Fair Practices Committee: Districts 1, 1949-1954
Folder 26 UE Fair Practices Committee: District 2, 1951-1954
Folder 27-28 UE Fair Practices Committee: District 3, 1949-1956

Box 3
Folder 01-02 UE Fair Practices Committee: District 4, 1949-1956
Folder 3 UE Fair Practices Committee: Districts 6, 1950-1956
Folder 04-05 UE Fair Practices Committee: District 7, 1950-1956
Folder 6 UE Fair Practices Committee: District 8, 1950-1954
Folder 7 UE Fair Practices Committee: Districts 9, 1950-1956
Folder 8 UE Fair Practices Committee: Districts 10, 1950-1956
Folder 9 UE Fair Practices Committee: Districts 11, 1950-1956
Folder 10 UE Fair Practices Committee: Meeting Information, 1950-1956
Folder 11 UE Pamphlets: Listing and Number Sold, 1952
Folder 12 Correspondence: National and Local Trade Unions, 1951-1953
Folder 13 Council on African Affairs, 1952-1954
Folder 14 Gilbert, Leon: Discrimination in the Military, 1950-1951
Folder 15 Harlem Trade Union Council, 1950-1951
Folder 16 Martinsville Seven Case, 1950-1951
Folder 17 McGee, Willie, 1951
Folder 18 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1950-1953
Folder 19-20 National Negro Labor Council: Correspondence, 1951-1956
Folder 21 National Negro Labor Council: Organizational Report, 1953
Folder 22 Negro History Week, 1956
Folder 23 Negro Labor Councils, 1951-1954
Folder 24 Newspaper Clippings, 1951-1957
Folder 25 Pittsburgh Courier, 1954-1955
Folder 26 Puerto Rico: Minimum Wage, 1954-1955
Folder 27 Smith Act, undated
Folder 28 Special Material, 1950-1953
Folder 29 United Auto Workers: Local 600 Material, 1951-1953
Folder 30 Urban League, 1952-1956
Folder 31 Ward, Harold: Frame-Up Case, 1952

Box 4
Folder 01-03 1st UE National Conference on the Problems Of Working Women, New York City, 1953
Folder 04-06 2nd UE National Conference on the Problems Of Working Women, New York City, 1954
Folder 07-08 3rd UE National Conference on the Problems Of Working Women, Washington. D. C., 1955
Folder 09-12 4th UE National Conference on the Problems Of Working Women, New York City, 1956
Folder 13-14 Equal Pay, 1952-1954
Folder 15 General Electric, 1954-1955
Folder 16 Memos, Correspondence, Reports (UE), 1950-1955
Folder 17 Survey on Rates, 1953-1954
Folder 18 Unemployment Compensation Case, 1954
Folder 19 UE Fair Practices Committee Kit, 1953
Folder 20 Ward v. General Electric (Rate Differentials), 1954
Folder 21 Women’s Bureau: General Information, 1949-1951

Series 2.2.3. National Servicemen's and Veterans' Welfare Committee 1949-1956

Scope and Content Notes:

The UE predicted near the very beginning of the United States’ entry into World War II that veterans and servicemen would constitute approximately 20-30 percent of the workforce during the post-war period. The union believed that integrating returning servicemen into the UE was essential for its survival, since these returning servicemen and veterans would increase union membership and help maintain a cohesive union force in organized shops.

The origins of the UE National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee (SVWC) can be traced to January 14, 1944, when UE President Albert Fitzgerald gave an introductory address at a CIO Political Action Committee Conference devoted to a national program for veterans. On August 1, 1944, the National Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committee met and elected James McLeish chairman. At the same meeting, the committee decided the number of veterans committees at the local level needed to be increased. The SVWC worked in cooperation with veteran organizations such as the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars to help servicemen confront problems created by demobilization. In late 1944, the UE published the pamphlet “When You Come Back” to facilitate veteran’s readjustment to civilian life. On January 10, 1945, Thomas Neill was appointed executive secretary of the Committee. By June 9, 1945 every UE district had at least one local that was sending UE News to members in the armed services and selling the “UE Guide for Servicemen’s and Veterans’ Welfare Committees.” The Committee’s activities are not documented beyond 1946 and it was likely dissolved around that time.

This series includes: committee correspondence, reports, and publications; executive secretary’s correspondence with districts; CIO and veterans’ organizations correspondence and publications; and information on federal legislation and programs.

Box 5
Folder 1 Community Action, 1945
Folder 2 Cover Letter on Guide for S.V.W.C., 1945
Folder 3 Distribution of UE News to Servicemen, 1945
Folder 4 Guide to S.V.W.C., 1945
Folder 5 Hartwell, A.A., 1944-1945
Folder 6 Letter to Locals: Purchase of “W.Y.C.B”, 1945
Folder 7 Letter to Locals: Setting Up S.V.W.C., 1945
Folder 8 Local Welfare Committee, 1944
Folder 9 Maintenance of Membership: Escape Clause, 1945
Folder 10 Meeting Minutes/Reports: S.V.W.C., 1944-1945
Folder 11 Memorandum Action for Jobs, 1945
Folder 12 Miscellaneous, 1945
Folder 13-14 National S.V.W.C.: Activities , 1945-1946
Folder 15 Neill, Tom, 1945
Folder 16 News Releases: Veterans, 1944-1945
Folder 17-18 Program for Veterans, 1944-1946
Folder 19 Publications: Pamphlets, 1943-1945
Folder 20-21 Questionnaires: Activities of UE S.V.W.C., 1945
Folder 22 Releases: Poster and Questionnaire, 1945
Folder 23 Releases: To Local S.V.W.C., 1945
Folder 24 Report of S.V.W.C. to General Executive Board, 1945
Folder 25 State Legislation Pertaining to Veterans, 1945
Folder 26 Veterans’ Page in UE News, 1944-1945
Folder 27 Veterans’ Training Classes, Philadelphia-Chicago, 1945
Folder 28 Washington Office, 1944-1945
Folder 29 “When You Come Back” (W.Y.C.B.), 1944
Folder 30 Comments, 1945
Folder 31-34 Promotion, 1944-1945
Folder 35-36 World Federation of Democratic Youth, 1945-1946
Folder 37-40 Veterans: Correspondence: UE, 1944-1946
Folder 41-42 Veterans: Correspondence: Non-UE, 1944-1946
Folder 43-45 Pamphlets, 1944-1945
Folder 46-54 Press, 1944-1945
Folder 55-56 Soldier Vote, 1944

Box 6
Folder 01-02 District 1: Eastern Pennsylvania, 1944-1946
Folder 03-07 District 2: Massachusetts, Connecticut, 1944-1946
Folder 8 District 3: Upstate New York, 1944-1946
Folder 09-14 District 4: New York City, New Jersey, 1944-1946
Folder 15-17 District 5: Canada, 1944-1945
Folder 18-19 District 6: Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, 1944-1946
Folder 20-22 District 7: Ohio, Kentucky, 1945-1946
Folder 23-24 District 8: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, 1944-1946
Folder 25-26 District 9: Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, 1944-1946
Folder 27-28 District 10: California, Utah, Washington State, 1945-1946
Folder 29-30 District 11: Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, 1944-1945
Folder 31 Miscellaneous: A, 1944-1945
Folder 32 American Labor Party, 1945
Folder 33 Miscellaneous: B, 1944-1946
Folder 34 Miscellaneous: C, 1945
Folder 35 Miscellaneous: F, 1945
Folder 36 Miscellaneous: H, 1946
Folder 37 Miscellaneous: I, 1945
Folder 38 Miscellaneous: J, 1946
Folder 39 Military Clauses: General Electric Contract, 1945
Folder 40 Military Clauses: General Motors Contracts, undated
Folder 41-42 Westinghouse, 1944-1945
Folder 43 Miscellaneous: N, 1944-1945
Folder 44 Miscellaneous: R, 1945
Folder 45 Miscellaneous: S, 1945
Folder 46 Seniority Provision, 1944-1945
Folder 47 Servicewomen and Veterans, undated
Folder 48 Miscellaneous: T, 1945
Folder 49 United Auto Workers: Program for Veterans, 1944-1946
Folder 50 United Auto Workers: R.J. Thomas Bonus Proposal, 1945
Folder 51 Veterans Service Centers, 1944-1945

Box 7
Folder 1 CIO News: Servicemen’s Edition, 1945-1946
Folder 2 National CIO Veterans Committee, 1945-1946
Folder 3 CIO Program For Veterans, 1944
Folder 04-06 CIO: Veterans Programs, 1944-1946
Folder 7 CIO War Chest, 1945-1946
Folder 08-11 CIO War Relief, 1944-1946
Folder 12-14 CIO Veteran Organizations, 1945-1946
Folder 15 American Legion Auxiliary, 1945
Folder 16 American Legion Clippings, 1944-1945
Folder 17 American Legion Correspondence, 1945-1946
Folder 18-21 American Legion Labor Posts, 1944-1946
Folder 22-24 American Legion Legislative Committee Bulletins, 1945-1946
Folder 25 American Legion National Employment Committee “Employment Bulletin”, 1945-1946
Folder 26 American Legion Releases/Pamphlets, 1944-1946
Folder 27 American Veterans Committee Clippings, 1944-1945
Folder 28 American Veterans Committee Correspondence, 1944-1945
Folder 29 American Veterans Committee Releases/Pamphlets, 1945
Folder 30 American Veterans of WWII: Releases/Pamphlets, 1944-1945
Folder 31 Disabled American Veterans Clippings, 1944
Folder 32 Disabled American Veterans Correspondence, 1944-1945
Folder 33 Disabled American Veterans Releases/Pamphlets, 1944
Folder 34 Jewish War Veterans, 1944-1945
Folder 35 Servicemen’s and Veterans’ FEMS, 1944-1946
Folder 36 Veterans’ Committee Against Discrimination, 1945
Folder 37 Veterans of Foreign Wars Clippings, 1943-1946
Folder 38 Veterans of Foreign Wars Correspondence, 1945
Folder 39 Veterans of Foreign Wars Releases/Pamphlets, 1944

Box 8
Folder 1 Agencies, 1944-1945
Folder 2 Army Air Forces Personal Affairs School, 1945
Folder 3 Baruch Report on Program for Veterans, 1945
Folder 4 Bills: Miscellaneous, 1945
Folder 5 Amendments: National Service Life Insurance Act, 1945
Folder 6 Amendments: Dependents Allowance Act, 1945
Folder 7 Amendments: Readjustment Act of 1944, 1944
Folder 8 Bills: Bonuses, 1945
Folder 9 Bills: Compulsory Military Training, 1945
Folder 10 Bills: Demobilization, 1945
Folder 11 Bills: Disability Pension and Benefits, 1945
Folder 12 Bills: Education, 1945
Folder 13 Bills: Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 1945
Folder 14 Bills: Employment, 1945
Folder 15 Bills: Hatch-Ball-Burton Act, 1945
Folder 16 Bills: Housing, 1945
Folder 17 Bills: Legislation, 1945
Folder 18 Bills: Loans, 1945
Folder 19 Bills: Mustering-Out Pay, 1943-44
Folder 20 Bills: Pensions for Widows and Dependents, 1945
Folder 21 Bills: Protection of Re-employment Right of Veterans Temporarily Employed, 1945
Folder 22 Rankin Anti-Union Bill, 1945
Folder 23 Seniority Rights for Veterans, Knutson Bill, 1945
Folder 24 Bills: Tax Exemptions, Social Security Credits, 1945
Folder 25 Bills: Vocational Rehabilitation, 1945
Folder 26 Committee on Invalid Pensions, 1944
Folder 27 Committee on World War Veterans Legislation, 1944
Folder 28 Disabled, 1944-1945
Folder 29 Discharge, 1944
Folder 30 G.I. Bill of Rights: Readjustment Act of 1944, 1944
Folder 31 G.I. Bill of Rights: 9I Supplement, 1945
Folder 32 Legislative Bulletin, 1945
Folder 33 Military Posts, Camps and Stations, 1943
Folder 34 National War Labor Board Releases, 1944-1945
Folder 35 Navy Department: Correspondence, 1945
Folder 36 Selective Service Boards: Correspondence, 1945-1946
Folder 37 Selective Service Boards: Release Directives, 1945
Folder 38 Selective Service Memorandum 190-A, 1945
Folder 39-40 Selective Service System: Memorandum 190-A, 1944-1945
Folder 41 Subcommittees on Aid to Physically Handicapped, 1945
Folder 42 Subcommittee on Wartime Health and Education, 1945
Folder 43-45 United States Arrangement Committee, 1945-1946
Folder 46-47 United States Department of Labor, 1945-1946
Folder 48 United States Marine Corps, 1944
Folder 49 United States Maritime Commission: Surplus Property, 1945
Folder 50 Veterans Administration Correspondence, 1945
Folder 51 Veterans Administration Release Directives, 1944-1946
Folder 52 War Department Army Posts’ Correspondence, 1945
Folder 53 War Department Correspondence, 1945
Folder 54-55 War Department Releases, 1944-1945
Folder 56 War Manpower Commission Correspondence, 1945
Folder 57-58 War Manpower Commission Releases, 1943-1945