Skip to main content

NALC Office of the President: Vincent Sombrotto Records

Identifier: LR001915

Scope and Content

The Records of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) President’s Office document the presidency of Vincent R. Sombrotto. Beginning with his first term in 1979, the materials in the collection create a cohesive picture of his time in office, including correspondence that details the day-to-day activities and administration of the president. Also included in the collection are the documents and correspondence of his presidency concerning his dealings with organizations and entities such as the United States Postal Service (USPS), the AFL-CIO, Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International (PTTI), and other postal labor unions. An important aspect of the union has been its involvement in lobbying, legislation, and political action, evidenced in the collection through the correspondence with Congress and the White House, political affiliations, congressional testimony, and the political action fund (COLCPE).

Involvement and service in the community has led the NALC to develop numerous programs and charities documented in the records, including the Carrier Alert Program, Hero of the Year award, raising funds for research for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the creation of the nation’s largest annual one-day food collection, the NALC Food Drive. A commitment to service is also reflected through the involvement of Sombrotto in numerous committees and boards, such as the American Red Cross and United Way.

Furthermore, the operations of the union and headquarters, various departments, National Officers, National Business Agents (NBA) and staff are well documented. Additionally, as members are an integral part of the union, correspondence between Sombrotto and branches and individual members across the country can be found throughout the collection.

Important Subjects: AFL-CIO Defense Committee American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations American Postal Workers Union Annuity Trust Funds Bills, Legislative Carrier Alert Program Centennial, National Association of Letter Carriers Civil Service Retirement System Collective Bargaining Collective Labor Agreements Postal Service Combined Federal Campaign Contract Negotiations Conventions Employee Participation Employee Thrift Advisory Council Fair Labor Standards Act Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (U.S.) Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board Fund for Assuring an Independent Retirement (FAIR) Hatch Act Health Benefit Plans Letter Carriers Lobbying Muscular Dystrophy Association National Labor Relations Board Pensions Political Activists Political Participation Postal Service Postal Service Employees Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International Professional Air Traffic Controller’s Organization (PATCO) Strike Public Employees Department (AFL-CIO) Retirement Retirement Homes Social Security Reform Tax Reform United States Postal Service

Important Names: Andolsek, L. J.; Hill, Norman; Babbitt, J. Randolph; Hollings, Ernest F.; Bahr, Morton; Hooks, Benjamin; Bell, R. Steve; Hudson, Joseph L., Jr.; Bieber, Owen; Kennedy, Edward M.; Biller, Moe; Kirkland, Lane; Blaylock, Kenneth T.; Ledbetter, Donald N.; Bolger, William F.; Leland, Mickey; Bywater, William; Muskie, Edmund S.; Carter, Jimmy; Oakar, Mary Rose; Caudwell, Philip; Reagan, Ronald; Chavez, Cesar E.; Runyon, Marvin; Clay, William L.; Stevens, Ted; Cranston, Alan; Stoessel, Walter J., Jr.; DeConcini, John; Sweeney, John J.; Diehl, Walter F.; Trumka, Richard L.; Dole, Elizabeth H.; Weinberger, Caspar W.; Ford, William D.; Wilson, Charles H.
Part 1, Series I: Subject Files, 1978-1999 The series is arranged alphabetically, first with subjects that contain a significant amount of material to warrant individual headings, followed at the end by miscellaneous subjects A-Z. The Subject Files include correspondence, reports, records, and meeting minutes from entities and organizations that Sombrotto worked with, such as the AFL-CIO, the Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International (PTTI), the United States Postal Service (USPS), as well as other postal unions. Also included are committees and organizations that Sombrotto was a member, or member of the board, such as the American Red Cross and United Way, and political involvement and affiliations as well as legislative correspondence and testimony. A large component of the series involves committees, various departments, and activities of and within the union, including the Health Benefit Plan (HBP), Mutual Benefit Association (MBA), Legal Department, Annuity Trust Fund, and Conventions.

Series II: President’s Office Subseries A: Administration, 1979-1999 Calendar and appointment books, as well as telephone message books, inter-office memoranda, and both personal and presidential correspondence comprise this series that details Sombrotto’s time in office as National President.

Subseries B: Chronological Correspondence, 1981-1999 This series includes all correspondence that came out from the president’s office during Sombrotto’s tenure, arranged chronologically by month and year.

Series III: National Officers Subseries A: Assignments, 1983-1999 Travel, speaking, and meeting assignments that were assigned for National Officers and Headquarters staff during each year, arranged by individual.

Subseries B: Officers, 1979-1999 Correspondence, memos, and documents created for and by the National Officers during their time in office, arranged by Office Title: Executive Vice-President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and the Directors of City Delivery, Health Benefit Plan, Mutual Benefit Association, Retired Members, and Safety and Health, furthermore defined by Officer and dates in Office.

Subseries C: National Business Agents (NBA), 1979-1999 Correspondence, memos, and documents created for and by the National Business Agents during their time of appointment, arranged by NBA Region (#1-15) and NBA and tenure.

Subseries D: Staff Files, 1979-1999 Correspondence, memos, and documents created for and by the various departments of the NALC and the staff members. Departments include: Arbitration, Communications, Compensation, Comptroller, Contract Administration Unit, Education, Finance, Information Center, Legal, Legislation, President’s Office, and Public Relations.

Series IV: Geographical Files, 1979-1999 All correspondence, reports, documents, and membership information that originated from or sent to the various NALC Branches and members across the country, organized alphabetically by state.
Part 2 of this collection contains five series: Subject Files, AFL-CIO, Chronological Files, Geographical Files, and Audiovisual. The Subject Files series consists primarily of acknowledgements, correspondence, and biographical materials, as well as numerous business reports and dealings. The AFL-CIO series consists primarily of materials related to the AFL-CIO, including correspondence, newsletters, and meeting minutes. The Chronological Files series includes correspondence and reports given in a rough timeline. The Geographical Files series consists of correspondence and reports relating to local and state branches of NALC. The Audiovisual series include large audiotapes and photographs. Series 1: Subject Files, 1971-2003. Series 2: AFL-CIO, 1999-2002. Series 3: Chronological Files, 2000-2002. Series 4: Geographical Files, 1996-2002. Series 5: Audiovisual, 2001


  • 1971 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1979 - 1999
  • Majority of material found within 1996 - 2002


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: Copyright to the materials is held by National Association of Letter Carriers. No material in this collection may be photographed or otherwise copied/digitized without written permission from the copyright holder. 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.


Vincent R. Sombrotto was elected the 16th president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in 1978, serving nearly 24 years until his retirement in December 2002.

Sombrotto was born in New York City of Italian and Irish ancestry. He served with distinction in the Navy in World War II before becoming a letter carrier in 1947. Unable to support his growing family, he knew firsthand how letter carriers suffered due to low pay and harsh working conditions—issues that led him to take a leadership role during the 1970 Wildcat Postal Strike.

Following the strike, Sombrotto and the “rank and file movement” that coalesced around him pushed to maintain the momentum. Taking over the leadership of the New York City Branch, they rallied support with a pledge to give individual letter carriers a political voice in their own union. Installed as Branch 36 President in 1971, Sombrotto worked to fulfill the promises of the rank and file platform—moving their focus to the national NALC arena and introducing a number of national convention resolutions to make the union leadership more responsive to the members, including replacing the old proxy system with one man, one vote democracy. By 1978, those reforms had been adopted, and that fall Sombrotto was overwhelmingly elected National President.

President Sombrotto’s accomplishments for letter carriers and for the union include seven highly productive rounds of collective bargaining that provided basic wage increases in every contract, preserved uncapped cost-of-living adjustments, and improved working conditions. Furthermore, in 1993 the NALC played a critical role in winning reform of the Hatch Act, and Sombrotto’s bargaining exploits were highlighted by the historic 1999 Grade 6 upgrade.

A sense of civic responsibility prompted President Sombrotto to promote the letter carrier tradition of assisting those in need. From raising money for charities, volunteering time and resources to community projects, and offering a helping hand to the less fortunate, the union’s active support has raised millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the annual NALC Food Drive has become the world’s largest one-day food collection.

In addition to NALC’s activities, throughout his career, Sombrotto has also contributed his expertise and guidance to numerous governmental, national non-profit and charitable boards. But wherever the battlefield—negotiations, arbitration, the courts, or Capitol Hill—President Sombrotto’s efforts have made the letter carrier’s job more rewarding and the NALC a stronger union.


229.25 Linear Feet (229 SB, 1 MB)


Vincent R. Sombrotto was elected the 16th president of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in 1978, serving nearly 24 years until his retirement in December 2002. Bolstered by the rank and file movement in the early 1970s, Sombrotto was overwhelmingly elected president following the adoption of reforms he advocated to make the union leadership more responsive to its members. His accomplishments included wage increases, improving working conditions, passing reform of the Hatch Act, and actively promoting community service and charity fund raising including the annual NALC Food Drive.

The records of NALC President’s Office: Vincent R. Sombrotto document his presidency, beginning with his first term in 1979. The materials in the collection create a cohesive picture of his time in office, detailing day-to-day activities and administration, organizational affiliations, political action, community service, and interaction with the union membership.


Part 1: Arranged in four series: Series I (Boxes 1-107), Series II (Boxes 108-123), Series III (Boxes 123-151), and Series IV (Boxes 151-200). Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject and then chronologically by calendar year, unless otherwise noted.

Series II: President’s Office is further subdivided into two subseries, Administration and Chronological Correspondence. Series III: National Officers is divided into four subseries, Assignments, Officers, National Business Agents (NBA), and Staff Files.
Part 2: Arranged in five series: Series 1 (Boxes 201-219), Series 2 (Boxes 219-222), Series 3 (Boxes 222-223), Series 4 (Boxes 223-229) and Series 5 (Audiovisual). Folders in series are listed by their location within the box. They are semi-arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed within the series.


The records of NALC Office of the President: Vincent R. Sombrotto were first deposited at the Reuther Library in 2007. The Reuther Library continues to serve as the official repository for NALC National Records.

Related Materials

NALC Office of the President: James H. Rademacher, NALC Office of the President: J. Joseph Vacca, NALC Office of the Executive Vice President: F. J. Conners and Tony Huerta, NALC Office of the Vice President: F. J. Conners, NALC Office of the Secretary-Treasurer, NALC Executive Assistant to the President: F. John Miller, NALC Auxiliary, NALC Department of Research and Education, NALC Information Center, NALC Comptroller’s Office, NALC City Delivery Director, NALC Public Relations Department


The photographs and tapes were transferred to the Reuther Library's Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Finding aid written by Kathryn Dowgiewicz, December 2009. Part 2 of the finding aid written by Mark Prindiville, June 27, 2018.
Guide to the NALC Office of the President: Vincent Sombrotto Records
Part 1 Processed by Kathryn Dowgiewicz. Part 2 Processed by Mark Prindiville.
Part 1: 2009-12; Part 2: 2018-06-27
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