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SEIU International Jewelry Workers' Union Records

Identifier: LR001542_IJWU

Scope and Content

This collection contains records pertaining to the IJWU and its merger with SEIU.

Important Correspondents: Crumpton, Thomas Filliung, Oscar Fischer, Lloyd H. Green, Frank Hinman, Luke Kennedy, Ralph McKay, A.N. Meacham, Stewart Oergel, Frank D. Sverdlove , Leon Sweeney, John Vetterlein, Ray Wilson, Joseph

Important Subjects: Arbitration--industrial laws and legislation Collective labor agreements Financial statements Grievance procedures Industrial relations International Jewelry Workers’ Union Labor laws and legislation Labor union locals Labor unions -- organizing Meetings -- labor Mergers National Labor Relations Board Picketing -- laws and legislation Service Employees International Union Strikes and lockouts -- laws and legislation Unfair labor practices Wage bargaining Wages -- law and legislation

Series Description: Series I, Employers’ Records, 1939-72: This series contains correspondence, signed and unsigned collective bargaining agreements, legal briefs, petitions and telegrams regarding the various jewelry, dental and optical employers. This series demonstrates the relationships between employers and the IJWU.

Series II, Local Union Series, 1944-81: Documents in this series consist of correspondence, contracts, pamphlets, clippings, articles, financial statements, reports, meeting minutes, constitutions, National Labor Relations Board records and the merger/ affiliation agreement. The materials here document the relationship between various locals and the IJWU/SEIU.

Series III, Financial Series, 1963-80: The records here are comprised of audit reports, annual reports, correspondence, Canadian and American tax return material, salary and insurance coverage reports, expense sheets and pension information. This series documents the financial side of the IJWU/ SEIU.

Series IV, General Series, 1936-90L: This series contains general material related to IJWU and SEIU. Reports, membership cards and signs, educational booklets, contracts, collective bargaining agreements, meeting minutes, fliers, correspondence, federal reports (NLRB), copies of legislation, price lists, legal briefs, articles, constitutions and rosters of officers. This series also contains material regarding the merger agreement.


  • 1936 - 1991


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. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The IJWU merged with SEIU because the two organizations shared common objectives in representing their respective workers, all of which worked in some area of he service industry. The IJWU also benefited from the vast resources of SEIU and, thus, would have increased bargaining power. The merger between the two unions was consummated on July 1, 1980. The IJWU was founded in the late 19th century. It was chartered by the AFL as the International Jewelry Workers’ Union of America on September 17, 1900. The union dissolved in 1913 as employers throughout the United States sought to create open shop conditions. It regained its AFL charter as an industrial union in 1916 as the International Jewelry Workers Union. The IJWU fell out of favor with the AFL again in 1918 over jurisdictional issues when it sought to organize the Diamond Workers’ Protective Union of America and the Metal Polishers International Union. It rescinded its control of these two organizations and was reinstated by the AFL on May 11, 1922. The IJWU was a service-oriented union. Its members included those employed in the retail jewelry trade as diamond cutters, watchmakers, crystal and dial repair professionals, optical technicians and dental assistants. Although the IJWU was comprised of many locals, there were two in particular that negotiated employees’ rights regardless of occupation: locals 114 (the Southern California Optical Technicians and Allied Crafts Union) and 115 (the Amalgamated Watchmakers’ Union) that were under the leadership of Frank Green.


3.25 Linear Feet (3 SB, 1 MB)


The IJWU was founded in the late 19th century and chartered by the AFL as the International Jewelry Workers' Union of America on September 17, 1900. Its members include those employed in the retail jewelry trade as diamond cutters, watchmakers, crystal and dial repair professionals, optical technicians and dental assistants. In 1980, the IJWU merged with the SEIU. The collection includes materials relating to the IJWU's relationships with employers and locals, financial issues, and the merger with SEIU.


Arranged in 4 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Box 2), Series 3 (Box 3), and Series 4 (Box 4). Folders are arranged alphabetically or numerically, depending on the series.


The organizational records of the Service Employees International Union/International Jewelry Workers’ Union were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs on February 28, 1994 by the Secretary-Treasurer’s Office of the Service Employees International Union.

Related Materials

SEIU Collections


This collection contains five photographs, which have been transferred to the Archives’ Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Louis Jones in April 2003.
Guide to the SEIU International Jewelry Workers' Union Records
Processed by Louis Jones.
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

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA