Skip to main content

Association for Union Democracy Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR001085
The papers of the Association for Union Democracy reflect Herman Benson's interest in the struggles for union democracy waged within unions, particularly the painters', seamen's and steelworker's unions. To a lesser degree, the papers reflect his interest in general labor concerns.

Important subjects covered in this collection are: Landrum-Griffin Act, 1959; James Morrissey election campaign, 1973; Edward Sadlowski election and dispute, 1974 ; Frank Schonfeld election campaign, 1967; United Steelworkers of America elections, 1973, 1977; Union democracy; Steelworkers Fight Back, 1975

Among the important correspondents are: I.W. Abel; James Morrissey; Herman Benson; Joseph L. Rauh; Walter J. Burke; Edward Sadlowski; Penny Burroughs; Frank Schonfeld; Samuel C.; Evett Ray Marshall
Part I: Series Description: Series I, Union Democracy in Action, 1937-1981:

Subseries A: Union Democracy in Action, 1959-1972: Correspondence and other records relating to the funding and interests of Union Democracy in Action. Subseries B: Union Democracy in Action, General Files, 1937-1981: Correspondence, court records, and other documents relating to Herman Benson's interest in union democracy within various labor unions.

Series II, Painter's Unions, 1939-1980: Particularly well documented are the correspondence, clippings, and other documents relating to District Council (New York City) and the Bay Area Painters Union (San Francisco) of the Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators, and Paperhangers of America, AFL-CIO.

Series III, Seaman's Unions, 1946-1981: Correspondence, court records, and related documents, primarily from the National Maritime Union. Among other unions represented are the Masters, Mates, and Pilots, the Seafarer's International Union, and the International Union of Operating Engineers.
Part II: Series Description: Series IV, United Steelworkers of America Union, 1964-1985: Legal documents, court records and related documents, primarily from the elections of 1973 of the United Steelworkers, District 31 (Chicago-Northwest Indiana), and other represented districts involved in the election. Among other unions represented are the Maritime, Ladies Garment, International Union of Operating Engineers and the Electrical Radio and Machine Workers.

Series V, United Steelworkers of America Union, 1956-1987: Correspondence, clippings and other related documents, including the Observer Report Forms of the United Steelworkers of America elections. Among other unions represented are the International Brotherhood of Painters, Letter Carriers, the Federation of Post Office Clerks, Musicians Voice, and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers.

Dates

  • 1937 - 1982
  • Majority of material found within 1960 - 1980

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

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.

Extent

20 Linear Feet (41 MB)

Abstract

The Association for Union Democracy grew out of the publication of Union Democracy in Action, a newsletter created by Herman Benson in 1959 to promote democracy within unions. The records of the Association for Union Democracy reflect Herman Benson's interest in the struggles for democracy within unions, particularly the painters', seamen's and steelworkers' unions. To a lesser degree, the papers reflect his interest in general labor concerns.

History

In 1959, Herman Benson began publication of a newsletter entitled Union Democracy in Action. This newsletter was written to support the efforts of reformers promoting democracy within unions. Union Democracy in Action was funded through the aid of grants from organizations and donations from individuals. The Association for Union Democracy was incorporated into Union Democracy in Action in 1969. In 1971, the Association for Union Democracy received tax exemption, and by 1972 a second newsletter entitled Union Democracy Review began publication. Union Democracy in Action ceased publication at the end of 1972. Throughout the 1970's, the Association for Union Democracy continued publication of Union Democracy Review and provided legal assistance for those involved in union democracy court cases.

Arrangement

Part 1: Arranged in 3 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-10), Series 2 (Boxes 10-20), and Series 3 (Boxes 20-26). Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Series 1 is further divided into two subseries.
Part II: Arranged in 2 series - Series 4 (Boxes 27-34), and Series 5 (Boxes 35-41). Folders are arranged alphabetically.

Acquisition

The papers of the Association for Union Democracy were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in May 1982 by Mr. Herman Benson.
Part II: Additional papers were placed in the archives by Mr. Herman Benson in November of 1987.

Related Materials

Herman Benson Papers

Transfers

Approximately 30 photographs relating to District Council 9 have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collections. Numerous books, newspapers, and pamphlets relating to union reform from this collection are available in the Archives library.

Processing History

Part I: Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in May 1983.
Part II: Part 2 processed and finding aid updated by Walter P. Reuther Library in April 1988.
Title
Guide to the Association for Union Democracy Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1983-05
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 1988-04: Additional papers opened for research.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA