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Herman Benson Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP000090
The papers of Mr. Benson pertain mainly to reform movements within labor unions. The papers are arranged in two Parts, Part I being the material received in 1964-1965 and Part II being the material received in 1974.

Part I: Masters, Mates and Pilots, internal disputes, 1958-1960 International Association of Machinists, 1959 Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers, 1950's-1960's Split between Airline Pilots and Airline Stewards and Stewardesses The Michigan Commonwealth Federation, 1944

Series Description Series I, Maritime Unions Correspondence, clippings, leaflets, etc. relating to maritime unions. Of particular importance are those records pertaining to the struggle within Local 88, Masters, Mates and Pilots, which led to the ouster and jailing of the International President. Other maritime unions considered are: International Longshoremen, Seafarer's International and Sailor's Union of the Pacific.

Series II, International Assoc, of Machinists Two disputes within the International Association of Machinists are the subjects of this series. The first concerns the expulsion of two members of Lodge 113 in 1959. The second major subject is the expulsion of two California members for advocating right to work laws.

Series III, Pulp, Sulphite and Papermill Workers, United Paperworkers Rank and file movements during the 1950's and 1960's within the Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill workers and the United Papermakers and Paperworkers are considered in this series.

Series IV, Airline Stewards, Stewardesses and Pilots Material relating to the 1960 split between the Airline Pilots and the Airline Stewards and Stewardesses is arranged chronologically.

Series V, Michigan Political Issues The Michigan Commonwealth Federation, a third party movement in 1944, is reviewed by leaflets, handbills and clippings.

Series VI, Reports and Newspapers This series consists of newspapers and reports, covering the period from 1947-1950. Also included are three portfolios of newspapers, dating from 1949-1961.
Part II: International Union of Operating Engineers, internal disputes International Association of Machinists, internal disputes International Longshoremen's and warehousemen's Union New York Civil Liberties Union and school decentralization

Series Description Series VII, Internat'l union of Operating Engineers Correspondence, clippings, court cases and union trial hearings comprise the record of two disputes within the International Union of Operating Engineers in the early 1960's. The cases concern the misuse of union funds by the officers of Locals 3 and 12. A photograph of Thomas Deacon, the principle character in the Local 12 dispute, has been placed in the Archives's Audio-Visual Collection.

Series VIII, Internat'l Longshoremen's and Warehousmen's Union A dispute over the status and right to work of some non-union "B men" is documented in this series by correspondence, clippings and court cases. The union involved is the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 1958-1956. A pictorial essay on longshoremen, titled Men and Machines: A Story of Longshoring on the West Coast Waterfront by Otto Hagel and Louis Goldblatt, has been placed in the Archives' Library.

Series IX, American Federation of Musicians Correspondence, clippings and some of Mr. Benson's research notes comprise the record of a wage-scale and union dues dispute within the American Federation of Musicians in the mid 1960's. Included are several issues of a newspaper, The Musician's Voice, published by the dissident Musician's Voice Emergency Committee.

Series X, Internat'l Assoc, of Machinists: Disputes The International Association of Machinists is the subject of this series. Correspondence, clippings and court cases chronicle several disputes within the union from 1962-1968. Also in this series is a representation election conducted at McDonnel-Douglas between the IAM and the Technical Employees of Aerospace Manufacturers (TEAM), an arm of the Teamsters.

Series XI, Federation of Union Representatives This series concerns the attempts of union employees to establish their own union. Known as the Federation of Union Representatives (FOUR), this group tried to establish itself as the bargaining agent for employees of labor unions Most of the correspondence and clippings deal with the FOUR chapter set up to bargain with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. The period covered is 1961-1967

Series XII, N.Y. Civil Liberties Union Correspondence, reports, court cases and clippings reflect the struggle within the New York Civil Liberties Union over the issue of school decentralization. Mr. Benson was personally involved in this case, opposing decentralization and community control of the New York schools. The material follows the conflict from 1966-1972.

Series XIII, General Union Material Correspondence, clippings and reports document several internal disputes, including the Building Services Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and an attempt by a rebel group within the Pulp, Sulphite and Paper Mill Workers and United Paper-workers and Papermakers to secede from the parent unions. These miscellaneous topics date from 1958-1972. Also included in this series is material pertaining to an AFL-CIO attempt to organize immigrant farm laborer's, 1959-1962.

Dates

  • 1944 - 1974
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 1968

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

11.5 Linear Feet ((24 MB), 3 portfolios)

Abstract

Correspondence, clippings, leaflets, and other files of Mr. Benson, a labor journalist who served as trade union editor of Labor Action and editor of Union Democracy in Action. The papers mainly concern intra-union disputes, particularly fights against corruption within union leadership, including the 1958-61 struggle in Local 88 of the Masters, Mates and Pilots, which led to the ouster and jailing of the International president; the 1949-50 factional dispute within the National Maritime Union; and activities of the Longshoremen, Seafarers' International and Sailors Union of the Pacific. Other topics covered are disputes within the International Association of Machinists; rank and file movements in the unions of the papermaking industry; and the 1960 split between the Air Line Pilots Association and the Air Line Stewards and Stewardesses. The Michigan Commonwealth Federation, a 1944 third party movement, is also covered. Among the correspondents are Barry Goldwater, A.J. Hayes, John Lind- say, George Meany, and Norman Thomas.

History

Herman W. Benson's career has covered a wide range of activities, as a tool maker in Detroit, a member of both the United Auto Workers and the United Rubber Workers, and as a labor journalist. He served as Trade Union Editor of Labor Action and as Editor and Publisher of Union Democracy in Action. Mr. Benson has also been active in labor affairs work in the Socialist Party and has been an active member of the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union since 1958.

Arrangement

Part I: Arranged in 6 series – Series 1 (Boxes 1-3), Series 2 (Boxes 4-5), Series 3 (Box 6), Series 4 (Box 7), Series 5 (Box 7), and Series 6 (Box 8).

Folders are generally arranged alphabetically by title, with correspondence arranged chronologically.
Part II: Arranged in x series - Series 7 (Boxes 9-12), Series 8 (Boxes 13-14), Series 9 (Boxes 14-15), Series 10 (Boxes 15-17), Series 11 (Box 18), Series 12 (Boxes 19-23), and Series 13 (Boxes 23-24).

Folders are generally arranged alphabetically by title, with correspondence arranged chronologically.

Acquisition

The papers of Herman W, Benson were presented to the Archives of Labor History and Urban Affairs in 1964-1965. A second shipment was received in October, 1974.

Transfers

A photograph of Thomas Deacon, the principle character in the Local 12 dispute, has been placed in the Archives's Audiovisual Collection and a pictorial essay on longshoremen, titled Men and Machines: A Story of Longshoring on the West Coast Waterfront by Otto Hagel and Louis Goldblatt, has been placed in the Archives' Library.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Title
Guide to the Herman Benson Papers
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
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