Guide to the Bakery and Confectionery International Union Local 44 Records, 1917-1937 AIS.1978.21

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Bakery and Confectionery International Union Local 44 Records
Creator
Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union of America. Local 44 (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Collection Number
AIS.1978.21
Date
1917-1937
Extent
0.88 linear feet (2 boxes)
Abstract
Local 44 of the Bakery and Confectionery International Union was chartered in Pittsburgh in 1909. It included workers in the city's Jewish bakeries. The collection consists primarily of copies of correspondence, 1917-1919, in English; and a series of Minutes of Executive Committee, Membership and Special Meetings, 1927-1937, in handwritten Yiddish.

Preferred Citation

Bakery and Confectionery International Union Local 44 Records, 1917-1937, AIS.1978.21, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System

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History

A general local for the city's bakers, Local 12 of the Bakery and Confectionery International Union, already existed in Pittsburgh when an organizing drive was put on foot in the early 1900's to unionize the workers in the city's specifically Jewish bakeries. Bakeshops specializing in Jewish bread and rolls were sprinkled around the city, but especially concentrated in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh. A Jewish bakeries local was first chartered in 1905, but was unable to organize Caplan Baking Company, the largest of the Jewish bakeries in the city. In 1909, however, a new charter was issued to Local 44 of the BCIU, and after a six weeks' strike Caplan's was successfully organized.

The development of standard hours and wages, the abolition of night work, and preventing the substitution of lower paid apprentices for regular workmen were some of the important objectives of the Local's contracts with the "bosses". The Local's relationship with the Bread Salesmen's Local 242 was another preoccupation.

As with the Bakers union generally, left wing politics was a staple of Local 44. The Local contained both socialists and communists and strike notices accordingly were posted in the Forward (socialist) and the  Freiheit (communist) Yiddish papers. The signing of the annual contract in the 1910's was set for May Day and took place in a building, the Jewish Labor Lyceum, which had been built with funds from the local Socialist Party.

Local 44 was often referred to as the Jewish Bakers' Local. The adjective however referred to the type of bakery not to the membership per se, for whom there was no religious qualification. There was a period in the 1940's, when the faltering Polish Bakers local was merged with Local 44 and thereafter, according to one veteran, meetings were conducted either in Yiddish or Polish.

Local 44 functioned as a separate local until 1975 when it was merged into the larger Pittsburgh Bakers Local 12.

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Scope and Content Notes

The earliest records in this collection date from 1917, eight years after the chartering of the Local. There are three bound volumes as follows: Volume 1 - The front of this volume, pp. 1-87, consists of a Secretary's Letterpress Book, in which Adolf Kebernik, the Local's longtime Secretary, posted copies of incoming and outgoing English language correspondence, January 2, 1917 - June 17, 1919. The back of Volume 1, pp. 212-298 contains handwritten Yiddish language minutes of the Executive Committee, 1927-1932. Volume 2 contains Yiddish language minutes of "regular" (i.e. membership) and "special" meetings, 1927 and 1933-1934. Volume 3 contains Yiddish language minutes of regular and special meetings, 1934-1937.

In addition to the bound volumes, there are several other documents: a boycott leaflet in Yiddish, c. 1930; a copy of the 1938-39 contract between Local 44 and the United Baking Company (in English); a printed ballot for election of local officers, n.d. (English and Yiddish).

Note to Researcher: The Yiddish script employed in the minutes naturally makes use of Hebrew letters, which are read from right to left. There is considerable variation in the spelling of words; and the handwriting varies from secretary to secretary. There are many American English words, which are taken over or adapted into the Yiddish thesaurus, example "mitink" or "miting" (meeting); "striyk," (strike) "baus" (boss); "minis" (minutes), etc. The sequence of the minutes can be confusing, since the secretaries sometimes used a different book than the usual when the latter may not have been handy. This accounts for the fact that two meetings from 1927 appear in a book otherwise consecrated to 1933-34 and certain other anomalies.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, May 2004

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

Revision Description

 Converted from EAD Version 1.0 to EAD Version 2002 July 1, 2006

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Saul Birnkrant,August 3, 1978.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by ASC Staff in 1979. The finding aid was written by David Rosenberg.

Revision and rearrangement for the encoded version of the finding aid provided by Dan Horvath on May 5, 2004. Information about the collection title and the controlled access terms was extracted from the MARC record in the University of Pittsburgh catalog Voyager ID number: 1407072

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bakery and Confectionery Workers' International Union of America. Local 44 (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Pittsburgh Hebrew Bakers Union.

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- History

Subject(s)

  • Bakery employees -- Labor unions -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Bakery employees -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Confectioners -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Ethnic groups
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Labor

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Previous Citation

Bakery and Confectionery International Union Local 44 Records, 1917-1937, AIS.1978.21, Archives Service Center, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

Records of Bakery and Confectionery International Union, Local 44, 1917-1937, AIS 78:21, Archives Service Center, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh; and, Records of Bakery and Confectionery International Union, Local 44, 1917-1937, UE/Labor 78:21, Archives Service Center, University Library System, University of Pittsburgh

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Collection Inventory

  BoxVolume
Secretary's Letterpress Book, 1917-1919 11

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  Volume
Minutes of Executive Committee Meetings, 1927-1932 1a

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  Volume
Minutes of Regular and Special Meetings, 1927, 1933-1934 2

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  Volume
Minutes of Regular and Special Meetings, 1934-1937 3

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  Volume
Related Documents, 1930-1939 4

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  Map-caseDrawer
Contract between United Baking Co. & Bakery and Confectionary Workers International Union, Local No. 44, 1938 311

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