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UAW Foundry and Forge Departments Records

Identifier: LR001425

Scope and Content

The UAW Foundry and Forge Departments Collection consists of correspondence, reports, minutes, publications, wage rate schedules, and other material pertaining to foundry and forge workers and the foundry and forge industries and to non-UAW organizations in which Nelson Jack Edwards participated.

Important subjects in the collection include: African American Autoworkers National Safety Council Automation South African Politics & Economy Detroit Labor Action Committee UAW Eaton Council Forge Industry Workplace Health & Safety Issues Foundry Industry Metropolitan Detroit Labor and Community Association

Important correspondents: Nelson Jack Edwards, Emil Mazey, Douglas Fraser, Marc Stepp, William Humphreys, Horace Sheffield, Paul Kiel, Walter Reuther


  • 1946 - 1985


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.


Emerging from the Foundry Council established in 1946, the UAW Foundry Department was organized in 1949 to provide industry wage data and other technical information to local unions representing foundry workers and their servicing representatives and to address health and safety issues of special concern to foundry workers, whose jobs exposed them to more danger than other autoworkers. The department also sought to improve working conditions through support of federal legislation and civil rights initiatives.

In 1970, the Forge Department, which addressed similar concerns for forge workers, was set up under the direction of Nelson Jack Edwards, the UAW’s first African-American vice president, who had become head of the Foundry Department in 1962. He was succeeded by Marc Stepp in the mid-seventies, and the two departments merged in 1991.


14 Linear Feet (14 SB)


African-American autoworkers; automation; Detroit Labor Action Committee; National Safety Council; South African politics and economy; UAW Eaton Council; health and safety issues


Folders are listed by their location within each box. They are not necessarily arranged, so any given subject may be dispersed throughout the entire collection.


The records of the UAW Forge/Foundry Departments were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in January 1990.


A number of photographs and audio tapes documenting Foundry and Forge Department conferences and Council meetings as well as events in the civil rights movement have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection. Contracts and serial publications pertinent to foundry work have been transferred to the Archives Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Mike Murphy on April 26, 1994.
Guide to the UAW Foundry and Forge Departments Records
Processed by M. Murphy.
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