Skip to main content

AFSCME Communications Department Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR002204
The AFSCME Communications Department Records document the public activities of the Department, AFSCME International, and AFSCME officials. Records include speech transcripts; press releases; surveys and polls; documents related to AFSCME biennial conventions such as transcripts of proceedings, correspondence, and planning documents; correspondence; publications; meeting minutes; clippings; photographs, slides, and negatives; audio and video recordings; and posters.

The records in this collection primarily pre-date the web and were created during the production of AFSCME publications (the photographs in Series X: Subseries A were largely used in the AFSCME magazine), publicity, events, video and audio, and during the everyday operations of the Department.

Important Subjects: AFL-CIO AFL-CIO. Public Employee Dept. AFSCME. International Convention Americans for Democratic Action Apartheid—Africa, Southern Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (U.S.) Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.) Democratic National Convention Equal rights amendments Health care reform Labor unions—organizing Medical care Pay equity Political campaigns Presidents—Election Public Services International Sanitation Workers Strike, Memphis, Tenn., 1968 Sex discrimination against women—Law and legislation Strikes and lockouts United States. Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Important Names: Ames, Joseph Lynn, 1925- Caoile, Gloria Carter, Jimmy, 1924- Chapman, Gordon Warner, 1907- Chavez-Thompson, Linda, 1944- Ciampa, P.J. Clinton, Bill, 1946- Clinton, Hillary Rodham Fauntroy, Walter E. Gore, Albert, 1948- Gotbaum, Victor Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978 Jackson, Jesse, 1941- Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932-2009 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 King, Coretta Scott, 1927-2006 Kirkland, Lane Kramer, Leo Kubista, Roy Lucy, William Mandela, Nelson, 1918- McEntee, Gerald W. McEntee, William J. (William Joseph), 1903- McGovern, George S. (George Stanley), 1922- Meany, George, 1894-1980 Mondale, Walter F., 1928- Newman, Winn Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994 Reagan, Ronald Rewolinski, Ernest Roberts, Lillian Saunders, Lee Watkins, Vernon Wurf, Jerry, 1919- Zander, Arnold S. (Arnold Scheuer), 1901-1975

Series Description: Series 1: Speeches, 1967-2002; undated This series contains transcripts of speeches delivered by, articles written by, testimony delivered by, and interviews conducted with AFSCME officials. Especially prominent are addresses from and interviews with Presidents Jerry Wurf and Gerald McEntee and Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy. Speeches from a handful of other AFSCME officials also appear.

Series 2: Press Releases, 1971-2002 This series contains press releases promoting a variety of AFSCME events, as well as press releases that give AFSCME’s official response to a variety of current events.

Series 3: Surveys and Polls, 1977-2002 This series contains surveys and polls conducted by polling companies hired by AFSCME. Some ask questions about the union itself, and some ask questions about politics and elections. Mostly, both the questions and the results appear, and occasionally included are correspondence about conducting the survey, methodology information, and information on training the pollsters.

Series 4: Biennial Convention, 1980-2000 This series contains information on AFSCME’s biennial conventions, including scripts, speeches, correspondence, schedules, clippings, and planning documentation.

Series 5: Chronological Correspondence Files, 1994-1999 This series contains correspondence from AFSCME Communications Department officials and staff to other AFSCME departments and to outside organizations.

Series 6: State Files, 1968-2000 This series contains files on the activities of AFSCME Councils and Locals around the country. Files include correspondence, publications, information on organizing campaigns, and information on strikes.

Series 7: Subject/Association Files, 1977-1999 This series contains information on outside organizations with which the AFSCME Communications Department had interactions. Files also appear that contain information on events, organizing campaigns, and strikes. Files primarily contain correspondence and clippings.

Series 8: AFSCME Internal Department Files, 1992-1999 This series contains correspondence and documents created by the Communications Department related to their internal workings and projects.

Series 9: Historical Clippings Subject Files, 1980-2000 This series contains clippings kept on a variety of subjects of importance to AFSCME. These subject files were likely referenced when preparing speeches and other publications.

Series 10: Audiovisual Materials (*Please note, some audiovisual material may be unreadable depending on format, condition, and equipment, especially certain audio and video recordings.) Subseries A: Photographs, Slides, and Negatives, 1946-2002 This series contains photographs, slides, and negatives taken at a variety of AFSCME events over its history. Many of the images were published in the AFSCME magazine. Events include meetings, conventions, workshops, training sessions, strikes, rallies, campaign efforts, and speeches. Biographical files are also included with images of individuals important in AFSCME and labor history. Images of AFSCME staff also appear. Subseries B: Audio recordings, 1965-1981 This series contains audio recordings of AFSCME radio spots, interviews with AFSCME officials, speeches, AFSCME biennial conventions, meetings, conferences, seminars, press conferences, and other events. Subseries C: Video recordings, 1972-2002 This series contains video recordings of AFSCME Conventions, events, and interviews. It also contains videos produced by AFSCME to highlight organizing campaigns and other union issues. Of particular note is a series of oral history interviews with people involved in the campaign and legal battle for pay equity for members of Washington Council 28 in the early 1980s. Subseries D: Posters, 1968-2002 This series contains posters created for a variety of AFSCME organizing campaigns, as well as posters advertising AFSCME’s political messages.

Dates

  • 1967 - 2002

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Records are open for research. Items in vault are available at the discretion of the archives. Some audiovisual material may be unreadable depending on format, condition, and equipment, especially certain audio and video recordings.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.

Extent

100.5 Linear Feet ((100 SB, 1 MB), 34 posters. 37 videos)

Abstract

AFSCME has produced a regularly published magazine since its inception. Publication duties for this organ and other materials were accomplished by the Education and Publications Department for the first twenty years of AFSCME’s existence. The 1954 Convention, however, passed Resolution 14, establishing a Publications and Public Relations Department. This new department would continue to publish the AFSCME magazine and other materials and would also take on new media public relations duties both at headquarters, and importantly, in the field. Recognizing that current field staff’s duties did not include crafting AFSCME’s message during organizing campaigns and strikes, it was hoped that the new department would provide skilled public relations professionals on the ground. The new department was created on April 1, 1956. The Publications and Public Relations Department existed until 1971 when the name was changed to the Public Affairs Department. This existed until 2011 when the name was changed again to the Communications Department.

The AFSCME Communications Department Records document the public activities of the Department, AFSCME International, and AFSCME officials. Records include speech transcripts; press releases; surveys and polls; documents related to AFSCME biennial conventions such as transcripts of proceedings, correspondence, and planning documents; correspondence; publications; meeting minutes; clippings; photographs, slides, and negatives; audio and video recordings; and posters.

History

AFSCME has produced a regularly published magazine since its inception. Publication duties for this organ and other materials were accomplished by the Education and Publications Department for the first twenty years of AFSCME’s existence. The 1954 Convention, however, passed Resolution 14, establishing a Publications and Public Relations Department. This new department would continue to publish the AFSCME magazine and other materials and would also take on new media public relations duties both at headquarters, and importantly, in the field. Recognizing that current field staff’s duties did not include crafting AFSCME’s message during organizing campaigns and strikes, it was hoped that the new department would provide skilled public relations professionals on the ground. The new department was created on April 1, 1956. The Publications and Public Relations Department existed until 1971 when the name was changed to the Public Affairs Department. This existed until 2011 when the name was changed again to the Communications Department.

According to the 1968 departmental report, “The Department originates and produces publications for the membership and material to be used in organizing activities, prepares news releases and other publicity matter for use by the various communications media— the press, television, and radio.” The department also writes speeches for AFSCME officials and helps orchestrate the biennial conventions and other meetings and conferences. Also, as might be expected, in more recent years, AFSCME web initiatives have become a major focus for the department as AFSCME outreach and communication has moved into the digital world.

Arrangement

Arranged in ten series – Series I (Boxes 1-22), Series II (Boxes 22-25), Series III (Boxes 25-31), Series IV (Boxes 31-32), Series V (Boxes 32-33), Series VI (Boxes 33-35), Series VII (Boxes 35-38), Series VIII (Boxes 38-39), Series IX (Boxes 39-44; 101), Series X (Boxes 45-100).

Series I: Speeches is arranged chronologically by year. During the years of Jerry Wurf’s presidency (1964-1981), speeches are arranged purely chronologically within each year. Beginning with Gerald McEntee’s presidency (1981-2012), speeches are arranged by speech giver, and then chronologically within, for instance: McEntee speeches for 1986, followed by Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy speeches for 1986, finally followed by speeches given by other AFSCME officials arranged chronologically within 1986.

Series II: Press Releases, Series III: Surveys and Polls, Series IV: Biennial Convention, and Series V: Chronological Correspondence Files are arranged chronologically. Series VI: State Files is arranged chronologically, and then alphabetically by state within each time period. Series VII: Subject/Association Files is arranged roughly chronologically, and then alphabetically by subject or association within each time period. Series VIII: AFSCME Internal Department Files is arranged alphabetically. Series IX: Historical Clippings Subject Files is arranged alphabetically by subject, with Box 101 out of order.

Series X: Audiovisual Materials is further divided into four subseries: Subseries A (Boxes 45-89 and drawers listed), Subseries B (Boxes 90-94), Subseries C (Boxes 95-100 and shelves listed), and Subseries D (drawers listed).

Subseries A: Photographs, Slides, and Negatives is arranged roughly chronologically, roughly by decade or five-year period. Within each time period, folders are further arranged by different original schema including numerically by Local and Council number, alphabetically by last name of subject, alphabetically by state, alphabetically by event, and chronologically by meeting or convention.

Subseries B: Audio Recordings is arranged roughly chronologically, and essentially in the order in which it arrived from AFSCME. Those videos from Subseries C: Video Recordings in Boxes 95-100 are arranged chronologically. Videos on the shelves and Subseries D: Posters have no strict arrangement.

Acquisition

The AFSCME Communications Department Records were first deposited at the Reuther Library in 1974. Subsequent deposits have occurred, and the Reuther Library continues to serve as the official repository for AFSCME International records.

Other Copies

Portions of the photographic and audio recordings subseries have been digitized and are available on the Reuther Library’s website.

Related Materials

Many other records from the AFSCME collections relate to the material found here, including AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records, AFSCME Office of the President: Gerald McEntee Records, AFSCME Office of the Secretary-Treasurer: William Lucy Records, AFSCME Office of the Secretary- Treasurer: Gordon Chapman/Joseph Ames Records, AFSCME Program Development Department Records, and AFSCME International Executive Board Records. The AFSCME magazine has been published under three different names over the years: Journal of State and Local Government Employees (1937-1946), Public Employee (1947-2007), and AFSCME Works (2007-present). The AFSCME Communications Department is responsible for producing this magazine. A full run of the publication can be found in the Library collection. Likewise, the Communications Department is responsible for publication of the biennial convention proceedings and officers’ reports. These also reside in the Library collection. The Reuther Library holds a handful of AFSCME-produced videos from the 1980s as part of its UAW collection, and these are available for research.

Transfers

Two photographs were removed from this collection and are stored in the Reuther Library vault. Photocopies of these images appear in the original folders. The first, in 55-95, has the signature of Lyndon B. Johnson, and the second, in 70-22, has the signature of North Dakota Governor George Sinner. Two posters (PC-272 and PC-273) used during the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike are also stored in the Reuther Library vault. Digital files related to the 1998 Convention are accessible on site at the Reuther Library. Digital images from the 2002 University of Maryland organizing campaign, and a 2001-2002 Powerpoint presentation from the AFSCME Education Department are also available. Series X: Audiovisual Materials, Boxes 45-100, are stored in the Reuther Library Audio Visual Department stacks.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Johanna Russ on June 11, 2012.

Creator

Title
Guide to the AFSCME Communications Department Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Johanna Russ.
Date
2012-06-11
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