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SEIU Local 79 Records

Identifier: LR001728

Scope and Content

The SEIU Local 79 Collection comprise files of Richard Cordtz, Paul Policicchio, staff, contract negotiations, employers, organizing drives, various Local 79 units, other labor organizations, amongst other people and subjects. With a history dating back to 1971, many records documenting Hampton’s tenure with the local are in the collection as well. Embodied within this collection are correspondences, staff activity reports, agreements, clippings, meeting agenda and minutes, bulletins, internal reports, wage classifications and scales, pleadings, NLRB material, clippings, employee policy manuals, membership surveys, leaflets/flyers, newsletters, membership/seniority lists, meeting notes, local constitutions and by-laws, local union publications, financial statements, contract proposals, speeches, and meeting attendance lists, amongst other material.
Important Correspondents in the Collection Asher, Les; Brown, Lovella; Cadwell, Leo; Childs, Fay; Connell, Edward; Cordtz, Richard; Croxton, Doris; Davis, Ken; Dingell, John; Esch, Marvin L.; Ewart, Dale; Fishman, Samuel; Ford, William D.; Franklin, Lee; Haggerty, James; Haggerty, Michael; Hampton, Willie; Hardy, George; Hearn, Albert; Heller, Jan; Keys, Charles, Jr.; Lane, Bryce; Lathrop, Robert “Bob”; Marshall, William; Miller, Bruce; Moats, Eugene; Murphy, Joseph E.; Oliver, William; Policicchio, Paul; Przybylowicz, Norbert; Sweeney, John; Turner, Tom; Wasnuk, Donovan H.

Important Subjects in the Colleciton: Arbitration, industrial Collective labor agreements Discrimination in employment – Law and legislation Employee fringe benefits Employee rights Employee rules Grievance procedures Health care facilities Health care facilities – Administration Health care facilities – Employees Health care reform Hospitals – Staff – Labor unions – Law and legislation Industrial laws and legislation Industrial relations Labor bureaus Labor courts Labor disputes Labor laws and legislation Labor lawyers Labor movement Labor union democracy Labor union locals Labor union meetings Labor union members Labor unions – Elections Labor unions – Jurisdictional disputes Labor unions – Law and legislation Labor unions – Officials and employees Labor unions – Organizing Labor unions – Political activity Labor unions – Recognition Labor unions – Recognition – Elections Labor unions – Rules and practice Labor unions and health insurance Labor unions and public health Labor-management committees Picketing Strikes and lockouts Unfair labor practices Wages – Law and legislation
Series Description: Series I, Richard Cordtz Files, 1978-1987, Boxes 1-2 This series is comprised of material that Richard Cordtz, a former president of Local 79, kept within his files. He served as president of this local from 1953 to 1988. The series includes memos, correspondence legal files, meeting minutes, grievances, and complaints about the local and its representation of Local 79 members. The material generally concerns those internal and often contentious matters in which the local was involved, with many of these matters coming before the courts or other judicial/regulatory bodies. However, other material (e.g., re: organizing) is also found in this series.

Series II, Paul Policicchio Files, 1965-1989, Boxes 2-7 Policicchio served as Local 79 President from 1988 to 1999.The records within this series reflect his various union-related interests and concerns, including those dealing with issues of negotiations, strikes, organizing campaigns, political campaigns, public health issues, state and city agencies and task forces, conferences and other labor organizations. More specifically, the series includes correspondence, agreements, affidavits, NLRB material, contract demands, clippings, flyers, reports, brochures, meeting minutes, Beverly Enterprises briefing books, bulletins, campaign literature, membership lists, policies, agenda, testimonies and speeches, organizational charts, surveys, picket rosters, photos, meeting notes, negotiation files, newsletters, union officer slates, grievances and related material, wage and classification lists, bargaining committee slate, press releases, meeting attendance lists, legal documents, union officer lists, seniority lists, contract proposals and demands, by-laws, convention material, employee policies, and local union publications. It appears that Policicchio either inherited many of the files within this series from his predecessor, Richard Cordtz and/or used them in connection with his work at Local 79 prior to when he became its president, as many of the files predate his tenure as local president.

Series III, Staff Files, 1981-1992, Boxes 7-13 The Staff Files concern individual staff members and matters regarding the local’s staff at large.

Subseries A: Staff Activity Reports, etc., 1981-1992, Boxes 7-12 This subseries primarily comprise projected weekly work schedules, weekly logs, and activity reports of the professional staff of Local 79 for the general period of 1989 and 1991-1992. However, correspondence, resumes, bargaining unit assessments, member complaints, organizing reports, performance reports, clippings, bargaining unit activity reports, are also located within the files of Local 79 staff members. These staff members primarily include business agents and various directors and codirectors of units within Local 79. These records provide a sense of the day-to-day work of the above-referenced Local 79 Staff.

Subseries B: General Files Regarding SEIU Local 79 Staff, 1981-1992, Boxes 12-13 This subseries comprise staff memos and correspondences as well as files of staff meetings, contract negotiations with the Organization of Professional Employees International Union, which represent many Local 79 staff members, amongst other files regarding Local 79 staff.

Series IV, Organizing Files, 1977-1989, Boxes 13-14 This series comprise correspondence, memos, telegrams, authorization for representation cards, bulletins, house call record cards, affidavits, NLRB decisions, contract proposal ideas, NLRB charges, meeting notices, employee policy manuals, brochures re: benefits of Local 79, employee lists, agreements, employee manuals and policies, clippings, surveys, wage scales and classifications, representational election results, leaflets, unfair labor practice charges, grievances, flyers, election ballot tallies. With few exceptions, these files concern health care facilities that employ Local 79 members. It appears that those health care facilities whose names begin with A through K are missing, as the first file in the series is the Livonia Nursing Home.

Series V, Contract Negotiations, 1980-1992, Boxes 15-20 This series comprise correspondences, agreements and proposed agreements, various NLRB notices, grievances, contract ratification material, employee/seniority lists, wage schedules, election ballots, protest petitions, Local 79 bulletins, meeting attendance lists, contract demands, employee handbook, wage/classification schedules/rates, meeting notes, employer and employee contract proposals, petitions for improved health benefits, strike sanctions, membership surveys of contracts, benefit plans, clippings, financial statements, personnel guidelines, and completed contract proposal questionnaires. Researchers should note that the file marked, “Provincial House Cass City – Beverly Enterprises” is the last file in the series, suggesting that there are files of companies beginning with the letter “R” and extending further into the alphabet, that are missing from this body of material.

Series VI, Monroe Mercy Hospital, 1964-1974, Boxes 20-21 This series primarily concerns the often-contentious relationship between Monroe Mercy Hospital and Local 79 who represented many of the hospital’s employees in the early to mid 1970s. In addition to issues of working conditions and wages, issues of representation, contract negotiations, good faith bargaining, trespassing, employees who struck versus those who did not, are reflected in the documents that comprise this series. This series is broken down into two subseries. With few exceptions, the contents of this series are the oldest documents in this collection, a fact that results from a 1980 fire that destroyed most of the other Local 79 records documenting its history. Subseries A: General Files, 1964-1973, Boxes 20-21 Correspondence, wage classifications, employee handbooks, strike bulletins, agreements, hospital and union newsletters, election notices and results, clippings, picket line lists, NLRB pleadings, reports, and strike donations and acknowledgements comprise the contents of this subseries.

Subseries B: Pleadings, 1972-1974, Box 21 This subseries comprise pleadings (i.e., decisions, orders, motions, briefs, etc.) concerning the conflicts between Local 79 and Monroe Mercy Hospital. Unlike other series and subseries, which follow an alphabetical arrangement, the file titles herein are arranged chronologically.

Series VII, Michigan Health Care Associates, District 1199, 1964-1974, Boxes 21-23 The records that comprise this series involve the Michigan Health Care Associates, District 1199, which merged with SEIU in 1989. With the exception of some agreements, which span back to ca. 1986, most of the records are correspondences between MHCA, 1199 and the various hospitals whose employees are represented by 1199. This entity within SEIU represents a variety of health care workers in Michigan, including licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, clerical staff and others. The first few files concern the Michigan Health Care Associates as it existed before its affiliation with SEIU and the merger between the MHCA, District 1199 and SEIU. Subsequent folders, which are arranged alphabetically, primarily concern the relationship between MHCA, District 1199 as an affiliate of SEIU and the various Michigan-based health care facilities with which the new merged organization had members.

Series VIII, General Files, 1952-1991, Boxes 23-28 This series comprise a range of material that did not appear to have been a part of other series. They are the files of labor organizations, including other SEIU affiliates, meetings, seminars, conventions and conferences, individuals with close ties to the local, health care reform and health care facilities. These files contain correspondences, conference programs, clippings, meeting announcements, press releases, bulletins, bargaining unit lists, patient care surveys, legislation, reports, agreements, contract proposals, handwritten notes, meeting attendance lists, slates of endorsed candidates, flyers, meeting agenda, layoff notices, company newsletters, brochures, testimony, contract offers, seniority lists/wage rates/classifications, speeches/remarks, unfair labor practice charges, NRLB charges and hearing notices, disciplinary policies, ballots, organizational charts, raffle ticket solicitations, conference registration sheets, local 79 property description and building appraisal report and Local 79 constitution and by-laws.


  • 1952 - 1992
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 1990


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Researchers in this collection are expected to complete and sign a Restrictive Use Statement, which prohibits researchers from using the names of people found in the collection in their research, using any information that might allow others to identify those people or sharing those names with others without the signed written approval of the Archives or donor.
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.


With a history spanning from 1937 to the present, Local 79 is the second oldest and longest running SEIU local in Michigan. The local organizes a range of health care employees, maintenance workers, and stadium employees, amongst others. It is based in Detroit, but has members throughout the state.

Its prominence is evidenced by its size and the role it has played within SEIU and the labor movement more generally. With a membership of 1,651 in 1951, the local reached 12,524 members in 1970 and 17,826 in 1984. With 41,000 home health care workers added in 2005, the local continues to build upon its preexisting power base. Local 79s last three presidents, moreover, have served in important capacities within the larger SEIU framework. In addition to serving as Local 79 president from 1953 until 1988, Richard Cordtz has also held an office as international vice president, secretary-treasurer and, for a short period, as international president. Subsequent Local 79 leaders Paul Policicchio (1988-1999) and Willie Hampton (1999-present) have held important SEIU posts as well. Because of its importance within the Detroit and Michigan labor movement, these officers and others have received appointments to various city and state commissions and task forces. In these various capacities they have advanced the causes of the local and its members.


28 Linear Feet (28 SB)


With a history spanning from 1937 to the present, Local 79 is the second oldest and longest running SEIU local in Michigan. The local organizes a range of health care employees, maintenance workers, and stadium employees, amongst others. It is based in Detroit, but has members throughout the state. The SEIU Local 79 Records comprise files of Richard Cordtz, Paul Policicchio, staff, contract negotiations, employers, organizing drives, various Local 79 units, other labor organizations, amongst other people and subjects.


Arranged in 8 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-2), Series 2 (Boxes 2-7), Series 3 (Boxes 7-13), Series 4 (Boxes 13-14), Series 5 (Boxes 15-20), Series 6 (Boxes 20-21), Series 7 (Boxes 21-23) and Series 8 (Boxes 23-28). Folders are primarily arranged alphabetically, with some arranged chronologically.

Series 3 and 6 are each further subdivided into two subseries.


The Service Employees International Union Local 79 deposited its records with the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in 1999.

Related Materials

SEIU collections


Photographs related to SEIU Local 79 are available in the audiovisual section of the Archives.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in December 2005.
Guide to the SEIU Local 79 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

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA