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AFSCME Education and Leadership Training Department Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR002636
Part One: Part one contains materials produced during the union's efforts to organize local organizations into AFSCME, including member education on matters of negotiating and enforcing a contract. Records were created between 1970 and 1973, and illustrate the functions of the Education and Leadership Training Department as an entity that worked closely with the Organizing Department and the Office of the President. Much of the material in part one of this collection makes the case for organizations to affiliate with AFSCME, both through policy and legislation as well as training for individual workers on matters of organizing, contract negotiations, and contract enforcement. A majority of the material in part one was produced in relation to the organizing work of Al Bilik, who served as AFSCME Assistant to the President for a period of time.

Series Description: Series 1: Leadership, 1970-1973 (Box 1) This series contains material related specifically to AFSCME leadership, especially Al Bilik and President Jerry Wurf. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, notes, meeting minutes, and speeches.

Series 2: Affiliation Campaigns and Organizing, 1950, 1969-1974 (Boxes 1-2) This series contains material related to AFSCME's efforts to affiliate smaller organizations in several states. These groups include the All City Employees Association in Los Angeles, United Public Workers/Hawaii Government Employees Association, the Illinois Union of Social Service Employees, and others. Files include correspondence, memoranda, reports, AFL-CIO Article XX records, surveys, and promotional material.

Series 3: Education, 1970-1972 (Box 2) This series contains material specifically designed to help educate union members on how to negotiate and interpret a contract as well as how to administer that contract through the steward system. Academics also studied the role of public employees in collective bargaining, and their work is represented in this series. Materials include instructional material, conference proceedings, and articles.

Series 4: Legislation, 1969-1973 (Box 2) This series consists of material related to shifting legislation related to public employment in various states, such as communication with AFSCME’s Legislation Department, AFSCME- produced legislative policy statements, and academic articles related to public employees and collective bargaining.

Series 5: Other Public Employee Organizations, 1963-1971 (Box 2) In some cases, AFSCME partnered with other organizations such as the American Federation of Teachers or National Association of Internal Revenue Employees in an effort to affect legislation or organize workers. This series contains files related to communication with those groups. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, notes, and legislation.
Part Two: Part two contains material related to the operation of the education department as well as specific programs, such as the AFSCME Staff Intern Program. Includes field education staff reports, correspondence, staff and member training materials, and meeting notes.

Series Description: Series 6: Administrative Files, 1975-1986 (Boxes 3-8) Includes field staff reports, correspondence, field and headquarters staff development and training materials, meeting notes. Correspondence regarding education programs with different states as well as other countries including Panama, Australia, Jamaica, Great Britain, and Canada.

Series 7: Program Files, 1967-1986 (Boxes 8-11) Education programs created and run by AFSCME. A significant portion of this series consists of files related to the AFSCME Staff Intern Program (ASIP), which recruited members of AFSCME locals for staff training. Participants attended classes in Washington, DC, and then worked in the field. Some successful participants were offered staff positions at headquarters, councils, or locals at the conclusion of the internship. Three separate programs ran in 1971.

Dates

  • 1950 - 1986
  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 1986

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

11 Linear Feet (11 SB)

Abstract

The 1960s began a period of significant growth for AFSCME, which meant an increased need for knowledgeable members and staff. AFSCME began an education program around 1962, and by 1966 the International Union had established the Education and Leadership Training Department, later known simply as the Education Department.

This collection contains records of the Education Department, particularly in regards to the department's collaboration with the AFSCME Organizing Department, and training programs like the AFSCME Staff Intern Program.

History

Throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, many states enacted new legislation supporting public employees' right to organize, triggering rapid growth in public employee unions. Before these legal changes, public employees in many locations belonged to local associations without ties to a national union and with limited power to negotiate on behalf of workers. Joining AFSCME meant that local associations would become affiliates of the national union. AFSCME, among other unions, worked to affiliate these smaller associations as new laws granted many workers full collective bargaining rights for the first time. Hawaii and California enacted collective bargaining rights for most public employees in 1968 (in California, state employees were excluded from this rule until 1978).

AFSCME began an education program around 1962, and by 1966 the International Union had established the Education and Leadership Training Department, later known simply as the Education Department.

In the early 1970s AFSCME undertook affiliation campaigns with organizations such as the United Public Workers/Hawaii Government Employees Association and the All-City Employees Association of Los Angeles, California. AFSCME’s Education and Leadership Training Department worked closely with the Organizing Department to educate workers and train shop stewards. The department also offered assistance to local unions negotiating contracts through policy statements and sample contract language used in other locals.

With the expansion of the union, AFSCME also sought to hire well-qualified staff members. President Jerry Wurf initially announced a new staff training program at the 1966 Convention. The AFSCME Staff Intern Program was approved by the International Executive Board in January 1967 and began two months later. The first ASIP class consisted of 15 interns selected from 175 applicants. The program required each participant to have been a member of an AFSCME local for at least six months. Interns took classes on all aspects of unions, including labor history, collective bargaining, grievance procedures, and organizing, as well as economics, politics, and law. Following the intensive education programs, participants then spent time in the field on various assignments. Betty Miller, an assistant to President Wurf, was an administrator of the ASIP program. Eleven participants completed the pilot program. Of those, ten individuals took positions with the International, a Council, or Local. At the 1970 Convention, AFSCME passed resolution 16, which expanded the Education Department, including the ASIP program. A per capita increase, which also passed at that convention, helped to fund the program. Several ASIP participants went on the have long careers with AFSCME.

Arrangement

Arranged in two parts. Part one is arranged into 5 series. Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.

Note: This segment of the Education and Leadership Training Department Records was originally treated as a distinct collection and partially arranged at that time. The folders in this collection do not retain their original order as received from AFSCME in 1976.

Series 1: Leadership, 1970-1973 (Box 1) Series 2: Affiliation Campaigns and Organizing, 1950, 1969-1974 (Boxes 1-2) Series 3: Education, 1970-1972 (Box 2) Series 4: Legislation, 1969-1973 (Box 2) Series 5: Other Public Employee Organizations, 1963-1971 (Box 2)
Part two is arranged in 2 series. Folders in each series are simply listed by their location within each box. They are not arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout several boxes within each series.

Series 6: Administrative Files, 1975-1986 (Boxes 3-8) Series 7: Program Files, 1967-1986 (Boxes 8-11)

Acquisition

Part one of AFSCME’s Leadership Training and Education Department Records were placed at the Reuther Library in June 1976.
Part two of the AFSCME Education Department Records were place at the Reuther Library in 1980, 1987, and 1988. The Reuther is the official repository for AFSCME International records.

Related Materials

The AFSCME Organizing Department Records AFSCME Office of the President: Jerry Wurf Records

Researchers with an interest in Al Bilik’s roles at AFSCME should consult the Al Bilik Papers for additional information about his work at AFSCME in the 1960s.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Meghan Courtney on April 29, 2015.
Part two processed and finding aid written by Stefanie Caloia on December 5, 2016.

Creator

Title
Guide to the AFSCME Education and Leadership Training Department Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Meghan Courtney.
Date
2016-04-29
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2016-12-05: Part two added by Stefanie Caloia

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA