Scope and Content of the Collection
The Executive Council was the executive body of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and continued this roll after the merger of the AFL and the CIO in 1955, and to present day. The Coucil is the governing body of the AFL-CIO in between the biennial conventions. The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) also had an established executive board for the same purpose. This collection consists of AFL executive council minutes from 1893 to 1955, AFL-CIO executive council minutes from 1955-1996, and the CIO executive board proceedings from 1942-1955.
The AFL-CIO Constitution empowers the Executive Council to carry out the decisions of the conventions and enforce the constitution. Article VIII states that the Executive Council "shall meet upon the call of the President at least three times within each year at a time and place designated by the President." The first meeting of the AFL-CIO Executive Council was held on the first day of the first consitutional convention, December 5, 1955.
These minutes record the date and place of each meeting, as well as attendance. They are not verbatim. There is little information on discussions or the stance of each council member. Dicisions and actions are summarized. Topics include: Implementation of the AFL-CIO merger (1955-1958); jurisdictional and internal disputes; ethical practices of affiliated internationals (1956-1959); applications for affiliation; legislation; finances; name changes of affiliated internationals; international labor organizations and activities; "Right-to-work" laws (1958-1959); strikes; organizing activities; financial contributions; and U.S. Foreign relations.
The minutes are mostly bound in chronological order, however some minutes are unbound and organized in folders. Appendixes, which appear at the end of the minutes, contain Executive Council statements, Executive Council resolutions, reports of committees and some departments, and other documents presented to or discussed by the council. Indexes for minutes, and frequently for appendices, appear in the front of the minutes. Blue sheets separate minutes of different meetings; some have tabs that indicate the dates. A card index of unions and people discussed in the minutes is available in the archives.