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Susan Holleran Papers

Identifier: LP001389

Scope and Content

Susan Holleran's papers reflect her work with AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, CLUW, and the National Committee on Pay Equity. They also reflect her interest and involvement with other unions, and in subject areas directly affecting and relating to working women.

Important subjects covered in the collection are occupational segregation, sexual harassment, pay equity, and workers' health and safety

Part 1, General Office Files, 1974-1988, Boxes 1-7: Clippings, pamphlets, fact sheets and other materials relating to the professional and personal interests of Ms. Holleran.
Part 2, 1973-1995, Boxes 8-15 Include conference packets from CLUW, NOW, and other organizations, the first National Women’s Conference in 1978, membership forms and other information from the DC-area chapter of CLUW, articles on Karen Silkwood, various pamphlets, brochures, and fliers on issues surrounding women and particularly women in the workplace, including in regards to sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, equal pay/comparable worth, HIV/AIDS, and health and safety. Interspersed throughout these documents are Holleran’s notes, testimonies/speeches, and some correspondence. Also includes buttons, pins, stickers, and patches related to variety of labor, political, and other issues.


  • 1973 - 1995


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.


Susan Ellen Holleran was born on March 29, 1941 into a trade unionist family in Philadelphia. She worked in the Public Affairs (now Communications) Department of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) from 1982-2005.

Holleran was a founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in 1974 and was elected to its original National Executive Board. She served as CLUW's first Mid-Atlantic Regional Vice President, chaired its Education Committee, and served as Chapter President and Vice President for the Washington D.C. area.

A member of the National Organization of Women (NOW), she co-chaired NOW's National Labor Task Force -- later the NOW Labor Committee -- which worked on several levels to inform feminist activists of the value of unions for working women and to help develop and maintain coalitions between organized labor and the women's rights community on issues of mutual concern. She also coordinated the first national conference on pay equity which resulted in the founding of the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1979.

Holleran was a steward for AFSCME's professional staff in the United Staff Union. She served as a delegate from the Office and Professional Employees International Union #2 to the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils, and to conventions of the Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO. A trained union counselor and an AFL-CIO COPE award recipient, Holleran was chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO's Community Service Committee.

Holleran was the founding director of the United Labor Agency, a labor social service agency specializing in providing information and referral services and developing needed programs for Washington D.C. area union members and their families.

Holleran co-authored (with Jehane Dyllan) SILKWOOD, a one-woman play based on the life of OCAW (Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union) health and safety activist Karen Silkwood.

Holleran retired from AFSCME in 2005. In December of 2007 she died following a battle with cancer.


8 Linear Feet (7 MB, 2 SB, 6 OS)


Susan E. Holleran was a labor journalist for AFSCME's national headquarters and its international magazine. Additionally, she was a founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), a member of the National Organization of Women (NOW), active in community service activities of the Washington, D.C. AFL-CIO, and coordinator of the first national conference on pay equity which resulted in the founding of the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1979. Holleran died of cancer on December 15, 2007. Holleran's papers reflect her work with AFSCME, the AFL-CIO, CLUW, and the National Committee on Pay Equity, as well as her interest and involvement with working women.


Arranged in 2 Parts:

Part 1 (Boxes 1-7): Folders are arranged alphabetically by organization, subject, or type of material.
Part 2 (Boxes 8-15) is unarranged. Folders are simply listed by their location within each box. Any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within the collection.


Part 1 of the Susan E. Holleran Papers were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in January and July of 1989, with additional material added in April of 1990.
Part 2 came to the Reuther in two shipments in 1991, and one in 1995.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in April 1992.
Part 2 processed and finding aid written by Stefanie Caloia on October 6, 2016. Box 15 added and findning aid updated July 27, 2021.
Guide to the Susan Holleran Papers
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