Guide to the UE News Records,1936-1997 UE.12

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
UE News Records
Creator
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
Collection Number
UE.12
Date
1936-1997
Extent
18.75 linear feet (15 boxes)
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.

Preferred Citation

UE News Records, 1936-1997, UE.12, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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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.

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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.

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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

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, April 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

The records of the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America are closed for a period of twenty-five years after their creation.

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 and 2004.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Emily Hatcher, Meredith Johnson, and Daniel Carthew in October 2008.

Existence and Location of Copies

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

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Related Materials

Related Material

Fred Wright Papers, 1953-1986, UE.13, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

UE News Photograph Collection, 1933-1998, UE.14.1, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Press releases

Personal Name(s)

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

Subject(s)

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

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Previous Citation

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

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Collection Inventory

Subgrp  12.1. Plant Closings and Strikes 

Scope and Contents note

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.

  BoxFolder
Westinghouse Electric Negotiations, 1976 11
  Folder
Soviet Trade Union Delegation Visits, 1978 2
  Folder
WBCN-FM Radio Strike, 1979 3
  Folder
Connecticut Flyers, 1979-1981 4
  Folder
Runaway Shops and Plant Closings UE, 1980-1983 5
  Folder
GE Plant Elmira, NY, 1980-1983 06-07
  Folder
Steward Warner Strike Local 1154, 1980 8
  Folder
GE Plant Closing Ontario, CA, 1981 09-12
  Folder
Paragon Gears Plant Closing, 1981 13
  Folder
Plant Closings, 1981-1983 14
  Folder
Morse Strike and Plant Closing, 1982-1983 15-18
  Folder
UE-GE Negotiations, 1982 19
  Folder
Timex Plant Closing Dundee, Scotland, 1983 20
  Folder
Dura-Vent Plant Closes, 1983 21
  BoxFolder
Litton Co. Microwave Cooking Products, 1984 21
  Folder
Litton’s United Twist Drill (UTD) Plant, 1985 2
  Folder
GE/Collective Bargaining Committee Negotiations, 1985 3
  Folder
“Why Bryant Electric Should Stay in Bridgeport” Essay Contests, 1986 04-05
  Folder
Closing of Bryant Electric Plant, 1987 6
  Folder
GE plant Closings in Tampa, FL and Decatur, IN, 1988 7
  Folder
Cox Creek Copper Refinery, UE Local 125 Baltimore, 1989 8
  Folder
Circuit-Wise, 1989-1990 9
  Folder
Erie Plastics Campaign, 1990 10-11
  Folder
Dynapert Sale, 1993 12
  Folder
UE Local 214 Prince Pasta Organizing, 1994 13
  Folder
University of Iowa Campaign to Organize Graduate Students, 1996 14

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Subgrp  12.2. Clippings and Convention Notes 

Scope and Contents note

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.

  BoxFolder
UE News “Legally Speaking”, 1963-1982 301-08
  Folder
Shop Paper News Service, 1977-1989 09-16
  Folder
UE Sample Contract and Guide to Hazards in the Workplace, 1958, 1975 17
  Folder
Questionnaire on UE News, 1963 18
  Folder
UE Local 209 Workforce Statistics, 1982-1985 19
  Folder
UE Steward Clippings, 1983 20
  Folder
Salvadoran Electrical Workers’ Union, 1985-1988 21
  Folder
UE Local 610 – Westinghouse Air Brake Co., 1986-1990 22
  Folder
John H. Hovis Speech, 1988 23
  Folder
Labor Newspapers, 1989 24
  Folder
Political Action Anti-Reagan Leaflets, 1984 25
  Folder
UE-GE Conference, 1992 26
  Folder
UE Political Action Conference, 1994 27
  Folder
UE Political Action Conference Washington D.C., 1995 28
  Folder
UE Political Action Conference Iowa, 1996 29
  Folder
UE Political Action Conference, 1997 30

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Subgrp  12.3. Correspondence 

Scope and Contents note

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.

  BoxFolder
People’s Press Subscriptions, 1938 401-02
  Folder
District 1, 1938-1940 03-07
  Folder
District 2, 1938-1940 08-13
  Folder
District 3, 1938-1940 14-17
  Folder
District 4, 1938-1940 18-22
  Folder
District 5, 1938-1941 23-27
  Folder
District 6, 1938-1941 28-32
  Folder
District 7, 1938-1941 33-37
  Folder
District 8, 1938-1941 38-42
  Folder
District 9, 1938-1941 43-47
  Folder
District 10, 1938-1941 48-52
  Folder
District 11, 1938-1941 53-57
  Folder
District 12, 1938-1940 58-60
  BoxFolder
Correspondence with Heidi Steffens, 1974-1978 51
  Folder
Correspondence with Washington D.C. Office, 1974-1979 2
  Folder
Correspondence with Edna Farkas, 1981-1982 03-04
  Folder
Requests for Add, Change, or Delete from UE News Mailing List, 1958-1981 05-07
  Folder
Correspondence with Washington D.C. Office, 1974-1979 08-11
  Folder
Mailing List Correspondence with Locals, 1983-1986 12-14
  Folder
Subscription Correspondence, 1980-1986 15-19
  BoxFolder
People’s Press Subscription Breakdowns, 1936-1937 61
  Folder
UE News Memos, 1977-1983 02-04
  Folder
Letters from Donors, 1979 5
  Folder
Publicity Education Correspondence, 1976-1985 06-08
  Folder
Peter Gilmore Correspondence, 1977-1996 09-28
  BoxFolder
UE News Correspondence, 1938-1986 701-26
  BoxFolder
Michael Funke Correspondence, 1981-1987 81
  Folder
Consumer Correspondence 2
  Folder
GE Press Clippings, 1973 3
  Folder
Newspaper Clippings, 1916, 1932, 1989, 1992 4
  Folder
News Clippings regarding Square D, 1948-1954 05-06
  Folder
Press Clippings, 1977-1988 07-10
  Folder
Officers Tour Clippings, 1982 11
  Folder
Newspaper Clippings, 1989-1996 12-13
  Folder
Press Releases, 1988-1995 14-16
  Folder
UE News Bulletin (Canada), 1990-1992 17-23
  Folder
Film Catalogs 24-28
  Box
Posters and Graphs 9

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Subgrp  12.4. Mimeograph Plates 

Scope and Contents note

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
Mimeograph Plates 10-15

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