Skip to main content

UAW Local 600 Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR000176
The collection covers various aspects of the union’s operations. The majority of the collection consists of personal papers of union leaders, meeting minutes of the General Council and Executive Board, along with photographs of union events and from Local 600’s Ford Facts publication.

Dates

  • 1935 - 2012

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

74.5 Linear Feet ((69 SB, 5 MB, 1 OS) )

Abstract

UAW Local 600 was chartered August 9, 1938, but did not gain much worker support until the Rouge plant-wide strike of April 1, 1941. The first UAW contract with Ford Motor Company was signed June 20, and ratified by the Local July 22, 1941. With 50,000 to 80,000 members in various periods, many from the massive River Rouge Complex, Local 600 has been both the largest and the most controversial local in the UAW. Local 600 is also known for its progressive streak, having hosted civil rights icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks while supporting social causes around Metro Detroit. The Local was organized into separate plant units. During the period 1941-1950, there were as many as nineteen. Each unit sent delegates to a General Council which determined the policies of the Local, and occasional mass meetings were held. The collection covers various aspects of the union’s operations. The majority of the collection consists of personal papers of union leaders, meeting minutes of the General Council and Executive Board, along with photographs of union events and from Local 600’s Ford Facts publication.

History

UAW Local 600 was chartered August 9, 1938, but did not gain much worker support until the Rouge plant-wide strike of April 1, 1941. The first UAW contract with Ford Motor Company was signed June 20, and ratified by the Local July 22, 1941. In 1949, Local 600 called a strike against Ford over the issue of speed-up on the assembly lines. Numerous Local 600 officers were the target of anti-communist investigations during the McCarthy era, and investigations by the Un-American Activities Committee began as early as 1947. With 50,000 to 80,000 members in various periods, Local 600 has been both the largest and the most controversial local in the UAW, and was a center of anti-Reuther sentiment. Various executives within the International Union began their leadership roles at Local 600, notably President Bob King and Vice-Presidents Ernie Lofton and Jimmy Settles. Representing workers at Ford’s massive River Rouge Complex, it remains one of the most sizable and influential locals in the UAW. Local 600 is also known for its progressive streak, having hosted civil rights icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks while supporting social causes around Metro Detroit. The Local was organized into separate plant units. During the period 1941-1950, there were as many as nineteen. Each unit sent delegates to a General Council which determined the policies of the Local, and occasional mass meetings were held.

Arrangement

The UAW Local 600 Records are arranged into two parts. Part 1 (boxes 1-4) consists of the original materials deposited in the archives in 1967. Part 2 (boxes 5-75) consists of materials deposited in the archives in 2015. Within Part 2 are two series, Series 1: Administrative files (boxes 5-67), and Series 2: Audiovisual and oversize records (boxes 68-75.

Acquisition

Papers of UAW Local 600 were placed in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in March of 1967. A second transfer, the bulk of the Local’s papers, came to the archives in 2015.

Related Materials

Refer to UAW locals and regions collections.

Transfers

Photographs, videotapes, photo negatives, buttons, badges and other objects relating to UAW Local 600 have been placed in the Archives Audio-Visual Collections.

Processing History

Part 1 of the collection was processed in April 1983, with its finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library archival staff. Part 2 was processed and described by Gavin Strassel at the Library in November 2018, accompanied by updates to the finding aid.
Title
Guide to the UAW Local 600 Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
2018 December 4
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2018-12-04: Finding aid updated to include second deposit of materials from UAW Local 600.

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA