Guide to the Congress of Industrial Organizations Collection, 1938-1982 UE.10.2.2

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Congress of Industrial Organizations Collection
Creator
Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.).
Collection Number
UE.10.2.2
Date
1938-1982
Extent
11.25 linear feet (9 boxes)
Abstract
The United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE) formed in 1936 and was one of the first labor unions to affiliate with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1938. This series contains correspondence documenting the conflict between the UE and CIO beginning in 1949, as well as research files on CIO policy.

Preferred Citation

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

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History

In 1932, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) was first proposed as a group within the American Federation of Labor (AFL). While the AFL almost exclusively focused on craft unionism, the CIO would be devoted to the organization of industrial workers. The AFL opposed the formation of the CIO from the beginning, forcing the CIO to break from the AFL and become a rival labor federation in 1938. The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) was the first major industrial union to charter with the CIO.

When the Taft-Hartley Act was drafted in 1947, requiring union leaders to swear that they were not Communists, UE officers and CIO leaders were initially united in their noncompliance. Then one CIO union, the United Auto Workers, agreed to sign the affidavits and other CIO unions followed suit. In 1949 the CIO further complied with Taft-Hartley by cutting ties with any union suspected of Communist activities, including the UE. In response, the UE boycotted the CIO's national convention in 1949 and stopped paying member dues. The CIO retaliated by expelling the UE and creating a rival union, the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE), headed by ex-UE President James Carey.

By 1952, the CIO was weakened and its leaders considered re-uniting with the AFL which had since included industrial unions into their membership. In 1955 the two officially merged to become the AFL-CIO. Although the much smaller and weaker CIO essentially disappeared in the merger, many of its chartered unions thrived under the new arrangement. Today, the AFL-CIO is the largest federation of unions in the United States, consisting of 56 unions representing more than 10 million workers. Its primary purpose is to lobby on behalf of organized labor and settle disputes between its member unions and their employers.

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Scope and Content Notes

This series includes documents regarding the CIO collected by the UE. The bulk of the material prior to 1949 is correspondence between the CIO and UE National Officers such as President Albert Fitzgerald, Director of Organization James Matles, and Secretary-Treasurer Julius Emspak. Beginning in 1949, files document the separation of the UE and CIO and their subsequent battle for members. Of particular interest are letters between UE officers and CIO President Philip Murray regarding the "raiding" of UE locals by other CIO unions in the wake of the Taft-Hartley Act. UE research files include CIO foreign policy documents and records of the CIO-AFL merger.

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Arrangement

Files are arranged chronologically.

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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 1976, 1986, and 1997.

Processing Information

This collection was processed and the finding aid was written by Meredith Johnson in November 2008.

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Related Materials

Related Material

UE International Officers Correspondence, 1936-1956, UE.4.2, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

UE Research Department Personnel Papers, 1937-1977, UE.10.1, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • American Federation of Labor.
  • Congress of Industrial Organizations (U.S.).
  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence

Personal Name(s)

  • Bittner, Haywood
  • Brophy, John, 1883-1963
  • De Caux, Len, b. 1899
  • Murray, Philip, 1886-1952

Subject(s)

  • Electric industry workers -- Labor unions -- United States -- History
  • Labor
  • Labor unions -- United States -- History -- 20th century
  • Labor unions -- United States -- Officials and employees
  • Work councils -- United States

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Previous Citation

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

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Collection Inventory

  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1938-1942 1

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1943-1946 2

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1946-1947 3

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1947-1948 4

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1949-1950 5

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1951-1955 6

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1956-1963 7

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1964-1967 8

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  Box
Correspondence and Research, 1967-1982 9

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