A Preliminary Guide to Historical Records Sources On Latinos In New York State
New York State Repositories
70 Washington Sq. South
New York, NY 10012-1091
Phone: (212) 998-2646
Student group records, including:
- Panorama LASS (Latin American Student Society Newsletter, 1967-1968)
- Concienca ("NYUs First Latino Magazine", '92, '95-'98)
- Sangria Espaniola (A club newsletter, '96)
- LUCHA (League of Unified and Cooperative Hispanic Americans--two program bulletins; one journal, 'Impacto Latino' 95-96, and one newsletter, 'Ritmos', 1982; and a folder of photographs)
- NYU Hispanic Quarterly, 1979
70 Washington Sq. South
New York, NY 10012-1091
Phone: (212) 998-2500
- Hispanic apparel union officers oral history collection, 1983-1984
The Hispanic Apparel Union Officers Oral History Collection was donated to the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives by Geoffrey Fox in 1984. The interviews were conducted by Fox as part of a study entitled "Hispanic Organizers and Business Agents," published as an occasional paper of New York University's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies in 1984. The study explores how Hispanic immigrants are assimilated into labor organizations and how they, in the process, adapt and reform these organizations for themselves.
The collection consists of interviews in English and Spanish with 26 organizers, most of whom work for the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union. Except for four New York born Puerto Ricans, all interviewees are immigrants from Latin America: Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, and Honduras. They discuss their careers, experiences in the industry and unions, organizing methods, and views of the labor movement.
Some of the interviews are restricted. Partial transcriptions available, shelf list available. Hispanic Apparel Union Officers Oral History Collection Project cataloged 03/31/86 G. Solomon.
- New York City Central Labor Council
Photographs, 1948-1986. 1959-1986 (bulk)
8 linear feet.
. . . The Council is an organization comprised of over 500 local union affiliates. Its purpose, according to its constitution, is to further the rights of workers to organize in unions and bargain collectively; to advocate legislation which is beneficial to workers and oppose that which is not; and to correct abuses and to insure the workers their just rights. It also has more social and political purposes: to help all people who work for a living improve their working conditions and raise their standard of living; preserve their rights to act together for mutual aid and advancement; further the cause of unions; strengthen civil rights; and promote the democratic process. It acts as the central force, providing assistance and education through its various committees and councils, and of course, taking on the advocacy role.
Harry Van Arsdale was elected the president of the Central Trades and Labor Council of the AFL in 1957. With the merger in 1959 he became the President of the Central Labor Council. During his presidency (1957-1986), the council established many diverse committees and programs such as Rehabilitation Council (1963), Hispanic Labor Committee (1970), and the Black Trade Unionist Leadership Committee (1972). The "Labor College" (1971), the Center for Labor Studies of Empire State College, State University of New York was founded to further Labor Education.
This collection of the New York City Central Labor Council photographs consists of approximately 7,000 8 x 10 black and white glossy prints, although there are some contact sheets and one small box of negatives. In general they were shot for potential use in the Labor Chronicle. All of the photographs, being fairly new, are in good condition.
These photographs span the dates 1947-1986, although the bulk of the images are from 1959-1986. The major groups within this photoprint collection include: Black Trade Unionist Leadership Committee, (1/2 in.); Community Service Institute, (1 1/2 in.); Conferences, (3 in.); Conventions, (1/2 in.); Delegates Meetings, (1 1/2 in.); Demonstrations, (1 lin. ft.); Executive Board Meetings, (4 1/2 in.); Group Photographs, (5 in.); Hispanic Labor Committee, (1/2 in.); Labor College, (1/2 in.); Labor Day Activities, (9 1/2 in.); Lincoln Birthday Dinner, (1 linear ft.); Portraits, (8 in.). All of the subjects not mentioned have only one folder of prints per topic.
- United Hatters, Cap, and Millinery Workers International Union. Headwear
and Allied Workers Joint Board (New York, N.Y.)
Records, 1926-1984. 1940-1960 (bulk)
9 linear feet.
The New York Headwear Joint Board of the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers International Union was formed in 1980 as a merger of Millinery Locals 24 and 42 and five other headwear locals (New Jersey Hat & Cap Makers Local 13; Hat, Cap and Leatherworkers Local 70; Cap Fronts Industry & Lining Makers, Tip Printers Local 80; Novelty Hat Workers Local 102; and Baby Bonnet Local 110). In 1982, the UHCMW merged with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
The joint board's parent body, the United Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers, was itself a merger of remnants of 19th century cap makers unions, the Millinery & Ladies Straw Hat Workers Union, and the United Hatters of North America (ending a bitter jurisidictional war with the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers with a merger in 1924). The UHCMU survived the 1920s despite an open shop offensive, a decade-long depression in the cloth cap industry, and a bitter intra-union struggle between Communists and moderates for control of the union. Taking advantage of New Deal labor policies, the union conducted militant organizing drives during the Depression. The numbers of organized millinery workers mushroomed from 3,987 in 1929 to 12,647 in 1934. A spirit of cooperation characterized labor relations in the headwear industry during the 1930s and 40s to protect the health and stability of the industry, including advertising campaigns, technological assistance to employers, loans to manufacturers. Nevertheless, both the industry and the union, highly susceptible to fashion trends, have gradually waned following World War II. In New York in 1985, there were approximately 3,000 hat and millinery workers. Ethnic composition of the work force, as in the other needle trades, has shifted from Eastern European to Hispanic and Caribbean.
In English and Yiddish.
- International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Nassau-Suffolk County
District Council (N.Y.)
Records, papers, and minutes, 1976-1989.
86 linear ft.+
Membership information has been kept on computer since October 1982.
The District Council, founded in 1976, merged three Long Island locals: Coat Local 129, chartered originally in Long Island City June 1, 1949; "miscellaneous" Local 107, chartered in Ozone Park in 1933 and transferred out to Suffolk County in 1933; and Dressmakers Local 57, chartered in Jamaica December 15, 1933. Today one of three International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) district councils in the state of New York, the Nassau-Suffolk District Council represents a membership that has shrunk in the last eight years from approximately 5,000 members, with three organizers and five officers, down to approximately 2,000 members and three staff people today, reflecting the flight of clothing manufacturers offshore.
District Council today represents dress makers, makers of coats and suits, bathing suits, sweaters, and one belt shop. The biggest shop in the unit includes 200 workers, the smallest shop approximately ten.Membership today is Hispanic, Italian, Greek, and Chinese in addition to members who are many generations in this country. Business agents for the district speak Spanish and Italian. And a great deal of the activity of the District Council centers around retirees, home visits, and securing medical assistance for elderly members.
The collection included financial records, organizing records, and materials pertaining to social service (visiting service and social worker), political action, retirees, disability, optical plan, Blue Cross, retirement, and death benefits. Also, membership cards, quarterly reports on members' earnings, initiation cards, active shop reports, out of business shop reports, Local 57 grievances, dues sheets, dues receipts, check vouchers, minutes of the Executive Board, 1981-1989; Local 57 Executive Board minutes, 1978-1989; and Local 107 Executive Board minutes, 1972-1981.
Pamphlets/leaflets printed in Spanish, Italian, and Chinese. Membership records are kept in English.
- International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Iron
Workers. Local 46 (New York, N.Y.)
Records, 1907-1986, 1948-1986 (bulk)
ca. 3 linear ft.
Local 46 Metal Lathers was chartered in 1907 as a Metallic Lathers local of the Wood, Wire and Metal Lathers International (WWML). When the WWML dissolved in 1979, the Local voted unanimously to affiliate with the Iron Workers. (Smaller locals, particularly out West, went with or were raided by the Carpenters who claimed the drywall work.) Today the inside work is installing metal lath and black iron for dropped ceilings and walls. Sixty percent of the work is outside: setting reinforcing steel for building and highway construction.
. . . There are now about 1,200 members of whom 120 or so show up twice a month for meetings. Special meetings have a turn out of about 300. Twenty-eight to thirty-two percent of the local is now black and Hispanic, as a result of the 1968-1969 National Labor Relations Board and court order. The prevailing wage is more than $22 per hour. The work is less seasonal than in the past, due in part to the technological advances in the chemistry of concrete.
The Local's apprenticeship program, through which all applicants now enter the local, is held down the block at the Robert F. Wagner Junior High School. Placements are made by lottery with forty percent black and minority enrollment guaranteed. There are now about eight to ten women journeymen.
Seven major contracting associations plus independent contractors sign to the same agreements.
. . . Copies of the local constitution and amendments, pension and trustees reports and hiring hall records, 1969-1971; two binders of minutes for "Regular and Special Meetings, 1948-1963," and "Executive Board, 1948-1967." These include correspondence and written reports, and a speech by Walter Matthews opposing national constitutional changes that would dilute local authority; and case files for the anti-discrimination suit awarding back pay to 165 minority workers, 1970-1971, and trust fund/welfare fund minutes, 1951-1958. Names prominent in the collection include Walter, Matthews, Willim McSorley, and John Taggert. Organiations include the Wood, Wire, and Metal Lathers' International Union.
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Local 2947 (New York,
Records and minutes of Local 2947 and personal papers of Dr. Charles Bois De Chesne, 1941-1986, 1968-1986 (bulk)
110 linear ft. (2 trunks, 27 boxes, 7 file cabinets, vault)
In 1941, the Carpenters District Council general agent Charles W. Hanson organized hollow metal door and buck manufacturing workers into Local 2947. He received commitments from the Teamsters and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) Local 66, Professional Engineers to not work with CIO-organized buck shops. Agreements were then signed with the employers' Metal Hollow Door and Buck Association. Now contracts include metal ship furniture, hollow metal door (in spite of the industry's decline), and general metal shops. During the war a shop also made hatch covers.
The Local has always been comprised of recent immigrants, at first Europeans, now mostly black and Hispanic, with many Haitians and Indians. Membership reached 2,800 in the late 1960s, currently about 2,000. There are about sixty women, working side by side with men . . . .
- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Local 174
(New York, N.Y.)
Records and minutes, 1903-1986, 1962-1986 (bulk)
6 linear ft.
Membership and financial records on microfiche in part. Membership and financial records on a computer in part.
Local 174 was first organized as a Butchers Union in 1902. In 1921, 1923, and 1937 it went through various mergers to become the Butchers Union of Greater New York, bringing bologna workers from Brooklyn and New Jersey under the direction of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workers of North America. In 1979 the Meat Cutters nationally merged with retail workers to become the United Food and Commercial Workers. Additional local mergers took place in 1983 and 1986. Locals which have been amalgamated into Local 174 include Local 211 (New Jersey), 234, 400 (retail meatcutters), 640 (beef, veal, and lamb industry), 653P, and 5.
The Local began primarily with workers in the pork and beef bologna industry. In the early 1900s, the Local's members were all German bologna makers ("still the best bologna makers," says Robert Wilson, president of Local 174). Jewish members then became very active, along with Irish workers who were predominant in the beef industry (perhaps because of the physical strength required to handle beef carcasses). During World War II, Blacks began to move up from the "dirty jobs" to become butchers. Latinos came into the industry after the war, especially as the industry moved more to fabrication instead of primarily cutting in the 1960s. They were also [believed to be] very skilled with veal which requires smaller more delicate work. Women have always worked in the bologna industry, articulating, linking. During World War II they came into packaging. Ironically, equal pay for equal work was interpreted by the employers to hire more men in packaging because they could both pack and lift, reducing the number of women to 25 percent . . . .
- Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen. District Council of New
Records, 1868-1984, 1951-1984 (bulk)
The young National Union of Bricklayers of the U.S.A., organized Oct. 16, 1865, granted a charter to Local No. 1, in the City of Brooklyn, on Oct. 17, 1868, making Local 1 one of the oldest continually-existing locals in New York City. A reorganized charter was granted in 1910 when the international became Bricklayers, Masons, and Plasterers International Union of America.
From the early record book one sees the dominance of Irish members, with qualifying new members described as "son of a bricklayer." In the 1930s and 1940s there were big political clashes between Italian and Irish members with the Irish membership dwindling, and the Italian members bringing in more family members. "Now everything is run on the District and International level so local politics and power are less important." Since World War II when the District was first formed, negotiations, ratification of contracts, and arbitrations are handled by the District. Today the local has 447 members and the composition is half black and Latino with the remainder largely of Italian origin.
The international runs the federally-funded Job Corps for Disadvantaged Youth. Nick Brando taught this program for seven years before becoming a union officer. Under his tutelage, 29 men and one woman became apprentices in Local 1. The program, though severely cut by the Reagan administration, continues to function at Fort Bennett Airfield in Brooklyn. The District Council also runs an apprentice school with ten students entering every six weeks, along with a new regional apprenticeship program run by the international, designed to meet the boom in brick-work . . . .
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Industrial
Local 2819 (New York, N.Y.)
As part of the new Industrial Council, Local 2819 was chartered July 1, 1984, to primarily organize carpenters' helpers. Most of its current 700 members come from the Timbermen Local 1536. Jose Rivera, business representative, was with the Timbermen from 1968 until 1984. The local has a large contingent of Black and Latino members along with others from Italy, the Caribbean, Poland, etc. As helpers, they earn about $9.20 per hour. They work in shops doing metal work, flush doors, carpet warehouses, and other industrial settings. At present, there is only one woman member (Mr. Rivera speculates that women entering the trade prefer the higher paying skills). Unlike "outside" locals, the union organizes by the shop, not by the job, which allows greater stability for the workers, if not also somewhat less direct interest in daily affairs at the union.
No records have been accumulated except: 1) minutes maintained at the recording secretary's home, 2) shop contracts going back nine years along with Rivera's negotiation notes, and 3) the new charter.