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SEIU Local 1 Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR001735
The SEIU Local 1 Records document the history of Local 1 as well as three locals that were directly amalgamated into Local 1 beginning in 1989 through 1998: Local 11, Local 106, and Local 25. Also included are materials from locals that merged into those locals prior to their mergers into Local 1, the most prominent of which is Local 4 (which merged into Local 106 in 1987). Although the records span from 1913-1999, the first 30 or so years of Local 1’s history is scant. The majority of the material within the collection documents 1950-1989, covering the operations of these locals, particularly their contracts with various companies, correspondence, discussions during internal meetings, and photographs documenting a variety of events.

Specific records documenting the history of each local include governance materials such as correspondence, meeting minutes, constitutions and by-laws; agreements; subject files including leases, arbitrations, building surveys, mergers, and audits; communications and publications including form and quarterly letters sent to union members, flyers, and serials; historical documents such as clippings and local histories; and audiovisual materials, primarily encompassing photographs, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as several scrapbooks and an original charter.

Important Subjects: Collective labor agreements – Service industries Labor Labor unions Labor unions – Illinois – Chicago Labor unions – Mergers Labor unions – Records and correspondence Important Names: Barry, Miles E. Burke, Tom McFetridge, William Moats, Eugene Quesse, William Scalise, George Service Employees International Union

Series Description: Series 1: Local 1, 1913-1998 Subseries A: Governance Correspondence, constitutions and by-laws, and yearly financial statements.

Subseries B: Agreements Building agreements (fireproof, walk-up, hotel, etc.) between Local 1 and various organizations (primarily the Chicago Real Estate Board, Apartment Building Owners and Managers Association, and Chicago Residential Hotel Association).

Subseries C: Subject Files Assorted files and materials related to and created by Local 1 including leases, arbitration files, building surveys and inventories, analyses, and reports.

Subseries D: Communications and Publications Materials sent to Local 1 members such as quarterly letters, form letters, and materials published by Local 1 including instructions, yearbooks, souvenir journals, speeches, and serials.

Subseries E: History Clippings, both specific to William McFetridge’s presidential resignation and generally related to Local 1, and a history written about Local 1 during the 1950s.

Series 2: Local 106, 1943-1985 Subseries A: Governance Correspondence, Local 106 Cemetery Workers Executive Board Meeting and member meeting minutes, and Local 106 Dental Technicians and Specials Divisions Meeting Minutes.

Subseries B: History Clippings, both about Local 106 in general as well as specifically related to a 1953 strike, as well as a history of Local 106 written in 1979.

Series 3: Local 4, 1939-1981 Subseries A: Governance Executive Board Meeting and Regular Meeting Minutes.

Subseries B: Agreements Agreements from Local 4 Amalgamated Industrial, Production, Sales & Jewelry Workers Union (AIPSJWU) and Local 4 Hotel Service Employees Union.

Subseries C: History A history of Local 4 written in 1966.

Series 4: Local 25, 1935-1999 Subseries A: Governance Correspondence, Executive Board Meeting Minutes, General Membership Meeting Minutes, and constitution and by-laws.

Subseries B: Agreements Agreements from Cleaning Contractors, Elevator Operators, and Janitorial Employees, between Building Managers Association of Chicago, Independent Buildings, etc.

Subseries C: Subject Files Assorted files and materials related to and created by Local 25 including mergers, audits, and President Eugene Moats.

Subseries D: Communications and Publications Materials published by Local 25 including promotional flyers and serials.

Subseries E: History General clippings concerning Local 25 and SEIU at the international level.

Series 5: Audiovisual, 1938-1994 Photographic materials (prints, negatives, contact sheets), scrapbooks, banners, and an oversized charter.

Dates

  • 1935 - 2001
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1989

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.

Extent

14 Linear Feet (9 SB, 5 OS)

Abstract

As its name implies, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 of Chicago, Illinois is SEIU’s first local. Local 1 signed its initial agreement with the Chicago Real Estate Board in 1916, seven years before William Quesse officially founded SEIU in 1921 as a union of flat janitors. For much of its history, Local 1 focused its efforts on organizing and representing building employees, particularly janitors.

The SEIU Local 1 Records document the history of Local 1 as well as three locals that were directly amalgamated into Local 1 beginning in 1989 through 1998: Local 11, Local 106, and Local 25. Also included are materials from locals that merged into those locals prior to their mergers into Local 1, the most prominent of which is Local 4 (which merged into Local 106 in 1987). Although the records span from 1913-1999, the first 30 or so years of Local 1’s history is scant. The majority of the material within the collection documents 1950-1989, covering the operations of these locals, particularly their contracts with various companies, correspondence, discussions during internal meetings, and photographs documenting a variety of events.

Specific records documenting the history of each local include governance materials such as correspondence, meeting minutes, constitutions and by-laws; agreements; subject files including leases, arbitrations, building surveys, mergers, and audits; communications and publications including form and quarterly letters sent to union members, flyers, and serials; historical documents such as clippings and local histories; and audiovisual materials, primarily encompassing photographs, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as several scrapbooks and an original charter.

History

As its name implies, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 of Chicago, Illinois is SEIU’s first local. Local 1 signed its initial agreement with the Chicago Real Estate Board in 1916, seven years before William Quesse officially founded SEIU in 1921 as a union of flat janitors. For much of its history, Local 1 focused its efforts on organizing and representing building employees, particularly janitors.

During its early years, Local 1’s leadership often overlapped with SEIU’s International leadership. Thus, when the International was impacted by corruption in the late 1930s, so too was Local 1. This changed after William McFetridge assumed the Local 1 presidency in 1937, and even more so after his election as SEIU International President in 1940. McFetridge strengthened Local 1, a trend that continued over the next 50 years, during which Local organized and remained strong as a property services-oriented local. Local 1 primarily represented janitors, but also represented other service employees, for example, window washers, who became part of the local due to a merger in the 1950s.

By the late 1980s, SEIU had numerous, small locals, and began consolidating them, a trend which became more popular in the 1990s to centralize resources and capabilities. Local 1 was particularly immersed in this, with seven locals amalgamated into Local 1 by the end of the 1990s including locals 11 (January 1, 1989), 106 (January 1, 1993; Local 4 previously merged into 106 on November 1, 1987), 25 (January 2, 1998; Local 372 merged into Local 25 on June 1, 1987), 34 (1992), 151 (1992), 45 (1990), and 208 (1996). These mergers expanded the Local 1’s focus from primarily domestic and commercial janitorial work to include cemetery workers; dental technicians and specialists; and industrial, production, sales, and jewelry workers.

Local 1 has now grown far beyond its initial roots in Chicago, Illinois, and is organized by state: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, although its headquarters remains in Chicago. While Local 1 still represents janitors as it did when it was founded, today it also represents food service workers, and security officers.

Arrangement

Arranged in 5 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-4), Series 2 (Box 4), Series 3 (Boxes 4-5), Series 4 (Boxes 5-7), and Series 5 (Boxes 8-14). For series 1-4, within each subseries, folders are grouped by subject, and then arranged chronologically by date. For series 5, materials are arranged by local number, then grouped by subject, and finally folders are arrangedchronologically by date (or in the case of scrapbooks, in page number order).

Acquisition

The SEIU Local 1 Records were deposited by SEIU in four accessions from 1999-2004. The Reuther serves as the official repository for SEIU.

Related Materials

SEIU Historical Records, SEIU Executive Office: William McFetridge Records, and the SEIU Publications which contains much more complete runs of many of the serials found in this collection. Additionally, born digital materials, including photographs from a 2001 Justice for Janitors Rally, and materials related to SEIU Local 25’s governance are available in the Reuther Library’s digital repository.

Transfers

Original photographs of President Jimmy Carter and Eugene Moats (2 signed by Carter, 2 unsigned, all color from 8-98) and George Ryan and Eugene Moats (1 signed, black and white from 8-92) have been moved to the vault.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Alexandra A. A. Orchard on April 30, 2014.
Title
Guide to the SEIU Local 1 Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Alexandra A. A. Orchard.
Date
2014-04-30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA