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UAW Region 3 Records

Identifier: LR000374

Scope and Content

The papers in this collection relate chiefly to the work of the Citizenship-Legislative Department and to COPE and to the political support given to pro-labor candidates and to opposition to right-to-work legislation and various right-wing groups active in Indiana and Kentucky. The files are, to a great extent, those of Donald R. Yeagley, the region's Citizenship Representative. Legislative files relating to Yeagley's work as a representative and senator in the Indiana General Assembly form a separate series.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Committee on Political Education (COPE); Indiana and Kentucky elections; Indiana General Assembly; Right-to-work legislation; Right-wing organizations

Important correspondents: Bayh, Birch; Bedell, Daniel S.; Berndt, Raymond H.; Ladd, Stanley A.; Sells, Dallas; Yeagley, Donald R

Series Description: Series 1: Regional Files, 1950-1971 Correspondence, reports and printed material from the UAW, the AFL-CIO and political campaigns. The largest part of this material relates to state and national elections. There is extensive documentation of efforts to combat right-wing legislation. In addition, there are files relating to administrative matters.

Series 2: Donald R. Yeagley Legislative Files, 1957-1971 Correspondence, reports and printed material relating to Yeagley's work as a representative from 1959 to 1962 and as a senator from 1963 to 1965 in the Indiana General Assembly.


  • 1950 - 1971


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.


UAW Region 3, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, can be traced back to the organizing efforts which began in the early 1930s in the Studebaker and Bendix plants in South Bend, Indiana. When the UAW-CIO was formed, workers at those plants transferred their allegiance from the ineffective AFL representation and were among the earliest UAW locals. The area was represented at the 1935 convention by Forrest G. Woods and by Russell J. Merrill at the 1936 convention. This convention was held in South Bend, which is an indication of the strength of the UAW in this area at an early date. In 1937 Region 3, comprising Indiana and southern Illinois, was established, with Merrill as its first director.

Arnold Atwood became director in 1940 until replaced by Raymond H. Berndt in 1947. By this time the region had been expanded to include Kentucky. In 1949 the UAW redrew its regional boundaries in an effort to have them conform more closely to state lines, and the southern Illinois segment was transferred to Region 4. Berndt was the longest serving Region 3 director, holding that office until 1972 when he became a special assistant to President Leonard Woodcock and was replaced by Dallas W. Sells.

Region 3 has some unique characteristics: the majority of locals in the region are small, often parts suppliers to major corporations, and have fewer than 200 members; none of the large corporations whose workers are represented by the UAW in Region 3 have their headquarters in the region; and in Elkhart, the UAW has long represented workers in the band instrument industry. Region 3 reached its peak membership at 110,000, but 7,000 members were lost with the closing of the large Studebaker plant in 1964, and further inroads have been made by automation.


6.5 Linear Feet (13 MB, 1 OS)


United Auto Workers Region 3 was established in 1937, with Russell J. Merrill as its first director, and comprised of locals in Indiana, southern Illinois (moved to Region 4 in 1949), and later Kentucky. Raymond H. Berndt was its longest serving director, holding that office from 1947-1972. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the region is unique in that it consists of a majority of small locals, often parts suppliers.


Arranged in 2 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-11, 1 large volume), and Series 2 (Boxes 11-13). Folders are arranged alphabetically.


The records of UAW Region 3 were received in December of 1969 from Carroll Hutton and in January of 1976 from Charles Landmesser of the UAW Education Department.

Related Materials

Refer to UAW collections.


Numerous photographs of Indiana and Kentucky political figures and of national candidates for office have been transferred to the Archives Audiovisual Collection together with a scrapbook of photographs of the Summer School held in Region 3 in 1962.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in May 1985.
Guide to the UAW Region 3 Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

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Detroit MI 48202 USA