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AFT Organizing Department Records

 Collection
Identifier: LR002654
The AFT Organizing Department Records include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, contracts and bargaining agreements, grievance files, surveys, newsletters and brochures, personnel files, material related to workshops and conferences, and organizing campaign files. Organizing efforts revolve around primary and secondary school teachers and paraprofessionals, bus drivers, college and university employees, and nurses and other health care professionals.

Series 1: Administrative Files, 1968-1998 (Boxes 1-11) Administrative files pertain to the internal business of the Organizing Department. Includes personnel files such as staff assignments and reports, and staff union files, especially from the AFTSU (American Federation of Teachers Staff Union), and OPEIU (Office and Professional Employees International Union), including contracts, bargaining agreements, and grievances. This series also contains files containing correspondence with and reports from other departments of AFT as they pertain to organizing, investigations of AFT affiliates, and policies for and administration of various assistance programs for locals.

Series 2: Correspondence and Chronological Files, 1964-1994 (Boxes 12-20, 164) Correspondents include national representatives, politicians, local affiliate leaders, AFT Executive Council members, local affiliate members, and staff of the national office. Includes Phil Kugler’s “Reading Files” which contain incoming correspondence.

Series 3: Meetings, 1966-2003 (Boxes 20-59) Meetings of staff and directors at headquarters and regional offices, AFT Executive Council and Committee, and various committees and task forces. Also includes workshops, conventions and conferences of AFT, state federations, the AFL-CIO and other organizations.

Series 4: Organizing Campaigns, 1961-2004 (Boxes 59-141, 167) Documents related to organizing various local affiliates. Of particular note are campaigns related to organizing in the Eastern Region, Missouri paraprofessionals, Indiana public employees, and the Solidarity Project. Correspondents include field representatives, regional directors, local union members, employers, and national office staff. Files include constitutions and bylaws, contracts, research on various employers, surveys, authorization cards, mailing lists, newsletters, flyers, brochures, and other literature. Also includes material related to elections, strikes, state collective bargaining laws, and labor relations boards.

Series 5: Subject Files, 1965-2001 (Boxes 141-163) Subjects include other unions and organizations, government departments and initiatives, the AFL-CIO and its departments, the National Education Association, various collective bargaining laws and related topics.

Series 6: Audiovisual Materials, 1970-1996, undated (Boxes 165-166) Audiovisual materials include photographs from the US Virgin Islands, which depict Albert Shanker and others with local officials. Also includes an audiocassette tape from an AFL-CIO Public Employees Department convention, a compact videocassette from an AFT Convention, and an unidentified reel-to-reel audiotape.

Dates

  • 1961 - 2004

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English, except where noted in contents list.

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

165.25 Linear Feet (1 MB, 165 SB)

Abstract

The Organizing Department facilitates the growth of local affiliates of the American Federation of Teachers. Under the tenures of David Selden and Albert Shanker, both of whom had extensive organizing experience prior to their respective presidencies, organizing efforts ramped up significantly in the 1960s and 1970s. The AFT was the fastest growing union in the mid-1970s when organizing became a distinct department. The department provides services and resources to state and local affiliates across the country. Field representatives and other department staff members assist locals in organizing campaigns and collective bargaining elections. Individuals who have served as head of organizing in the past include Jim Mundy, John Schmid, Phil Kugler, and Lou Nayman. The AFT Organizing Department Records include correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, contracts and bargaining agreements, grievance files, surveys, newsletters and brochures, personnel files, material related to workshops and conferences, and organizing campaign files. Organizing efforts revolve around primary and secondary school teachers and paraprofessionals, bus drivers, college and university employees, and nurses and other health care professionals.

History

The American Federation of Teachers is a labor union representing primary and secondary school teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty, professional staff, and nurses and other health care professionals. The Organizing Department facilitates the growth of local affiliates. Before it became an official department, the AFT secretary-treasurer established satellite field offices whose main function was coordinating organization efforts. The field offices later become known as regional offices. An assistant to the president for organizing managed directors of field services, all based in Washington, DC. Under the tenures of David Selden and Albert Shanker, both of whom had extensive organizing experience prior to their respective presidencies, organizing efforts ramped up significantly in the 1960s and 1970s. The AFT was the fastest growing union in the mid-1970s when organizing became a distinct department. The organizing department provides services and resources to state and local affiliates across the country. Field representatives and other department staff members assist locals in organizing campaigns and collective bargaining elections. Individuals who have served as head of organizing in the past include Jim Mundy, John Schmid, Phil Kugler, and Lou Nayman.

Arrangement

Arranged in 6 series – Series 1 (Boxes1-11, 163-164), Series 2 (Boxes 12-20, 164) Series 3 (Boxes 20-59), Series 4 (Boxes 59-141), Series 5 (Boxes 141-163), and Series 6 (Boxes 165-166). 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.

Shipments of materials marked “Eastern Region Organizing”, “Solidarity Project”, “Indiana Campaign”, and “Missouri PSRP” were left in their received order to represent discrete organizing campaigns. As such, these groups of records may contain meetings and correspondence, etc., within them that may otherwise have been placed in different series.

Acquisition

The AFT Organizing Department Records arrived at the Reuther in multiple installments from 1975-2009. The Reuther is the official repository for the American Federation of Teachers.

Related Materials

Related collections at the Reuther include: AFT Office of the President; AFT President’s Office, Part II; AFT President’s Office: Albert Shanker Records; AFT Secretary-Treasurer’s Office Records; AFT Oral History Project.

Transfers

Box 166 and an audiocassette tape and compact videotape were transferred to the Audiovisual Department. Digital files (listed at the end of the inventory) are available in the Reuther Digital Repository.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Stefanie Caloia on September 15, 2015.
Title
Guide to the AFT Organizing Department Records
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Stefanie Caloia.
Date
2015-09-15
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Revision Statements

  • 2016-02-16: Added box 167

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA