Guide to the UE Communism Collection, 1935-1968 UE.10.2.1

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
UE Communism Collection
Creator
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
Collection Number
UE.10.2.1
Date
1935-1968
Extent
46.25 linear feet (37 boxes)
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.

Preferred Citation

UE Communism Collection, 1935-1968, UE.10.2.1, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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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.

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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.

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Arrangement

Files are grouped together by topic.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, March 2009

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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.

Acquisition Information

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

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Zachary Brodt in September 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Federal Bureau of Investigation on the UE Records, 1940-1985, UE.9.5, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Congress of Industrial Organizations Collection, 1938-1982, UE.10.2.2, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Hymen Schlesinger Papers, 1927-1990, AIS.1977.33, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Steve Nelson Oral History Project Records, AIS.1978.24, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 601 Records, UE.16.601, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Charles Newell Papers, 1940-1959, AIS.2005.07, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Thomas J. Quinn Papers, 1947-92, AIS.1973.09, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

Evelyn O. Darin Papers, 1954-1960, AIS.1988.19, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • 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.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Transcripts

Subject(s)

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

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Previous Citation

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

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Collection Inventory

  Box
Taft-Hartley Correspondence, Clippings, and Reports, 1947-1968 1-4

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  Box
Taft-Hartley Compliance Affidavits, 1947-1959 5

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  Box
Publications and Correspondence regarding Taft-Hartley, undated 6

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  Box
Material on SACB and HUAC Hearings, undated 7-8

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  Box
Brownell v. UE, SACB Case, 1950-1962 9-10

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  Box
SACB Correspondence and Publications, 1935-1956 11

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  Box
SACB Clippings on Companies and Organizations, 1947-1950 12

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  Box
Information on UE Members in SACB Hearing Transcripts, undated 13

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  Box
Files on SACB Investigations and Cases against UE, undated 14-15

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  Box
Subversive Activities Control Board Hearing Testimony, 1938-1956 16-17

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  Box
Research on the Subversive Activities Control Act, 1939-1957 18

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  Box
Research Files on HUAC/McCarthyism, undated 19-20

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  Box
HUAC Hearings and Reports, undated 21-25

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  Box
Hearing Transcripts and Reports on Communist Activities, undated 26-27

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  Box
Interrogations of Alleged Communist, 1947-1950 28

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  Box
Red-Baiting and Communist Domination of Unions, undated 29-31

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  Box
Anti-Radical Groups, undated 32

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  Box
Kersten Subcommittee and McCarthyism, undated 33

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  Box
McCarthyism, undated 34

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  Box
McCarthyite Research Cards, undated 35-37

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