Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

AFL and AFL-CIO Organization and Field Services Department, State Charter records

 Collection 0021-LBR-RG28-005
The Organizing Department was given responsibility for administering charter records in the 1970s. This collection contains copies of AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO state charters and related correspondence gathered or generated by the AFL-CIO Organization and Field Services Department. AFL charter materials date 1890-1955, CIO materials from 1937-1956, and AFL-CIO materials from 1956-1985. The bulk of all materials date from the 1930s to the 1950s

Dates

  • 1890-1985

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the Special Collections reading room. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Extent

1.50 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of the Collection

This collection contains copies of AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO state charters and related correspondence gathered or generated by the AFL-CIO Organization and Field Services Department. AFL charter materials date 1890-1955, CIO materials from 1937-1956, and AFL-CIO materials from 1956-1985. The bulk of all materials date from the 1930s to the 1950s, with an especially large amount of material and charter copies for the years 1956 to 1958 after the national AFL and CIO merged.

The charters empower state central bodies, "composed of and supported by the different local unions in the particular state, to function to advance the state-wide interest of labor and represent labor on state legislative matters." Included with the copied state charters are forms, memoranda and correspondence relating to routine applications for, changes in, and approvals of the various charters and state central constitutions. Correspondence proceeding to the 1980s after the original issue of charters, deals with the reissuing of charters and proposed changes in state constitutions.

In some cases, no charter copies or materials relating to charters are present for AFL or CIO state bodies either because none was granted or for some other unknown reason. For instance, while a state AFL charter was granted for Massachusetts, no corresponding charter copy or related material is present in the collection.

Biographical / Historical

AFL charter records were originally generated and held by the AFL Secretary-Treasurer. While CIO state charters were granted by the CIO Executive Board, a variety of CIO offices appears to have been in charge of the issuing and maintaining the charters, including the CIO National Director, the Secretary, and the Comptroller. With the merger of the AFL and CIO, all state charter records were submitted to the AFL-CIO President, George Meany, who assigned the job of issuing new charters and merging the AFL and CIO state central bodies to his assistants, Peter M. McGavin and R.J. Thomas. At this stage all AFL, CIO and AFLCIO charter materials were merged together in folders arranged by state. In 1960, an Office of the Coordinator of State and Local Central Bodies was established to oversee the charter records and operation of both state and local central bodies. In 1973, the Coordinator's office was merged with the Department of Organization into the Department of Organization and Field Services, and all state charter records were passed on to the new department.

Arrangement

Charter material is arranged alphabetically by state. Separate folders have been created for records made under the AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO. Documents are arranged chronologically within folders.

Custodial History

The records comprising this collection were transferred to the George Meany Memorial Archives by the AFL-CIO Organization and Field Services Department in 1986. The George Meany Memorial Archives transferred these records as part of a major transfer of their archive and library holdings to the University of Maryland Libraries in 2013.

Related Materials

"Office of the President. State Central Bodies, Correspondence," 1932- 1967," (RG1-020/Micro 6) contains AFL and AFL-CIO correspondence with state federations.

"Office of the Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL. Copybooks, 1925-1968," (RG2-004/Micro 17) includes some correspondence to state federations.

"Office of the CIO President. State Industrial Union Councils Correspondence, 1935-1955," (RG1-035/Micro 27) consists of CIO material relating to state bodies includes two reels of correspondence with the state councils.

"Office of the President. CIO Historical File, 1934-1951," (RG1-031/Micro 23) contains correspondence relating to state bodies.

AFL-CIO Office of the President, State and Local Central Bodies Merger records is the most immediate collection relating to AFL-CIO state charters.

AFL-CIO Office of the President, President's Files, George Meany features a series containing Meany's correspondence with state central bodies.

Further materials relating to the AFL state bodies can be found at the Wisconsin State Historical Society in the American Federation of Labor Records

Additional CIO material is located in the CIO Washington Office Records at the Walter Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Bibliography

"Structure of the AFL-CIO," 44, AFL-CIO Publications, 1956.

Processing Information

When the collection was processed in 1992 by Edmund Wehrle at the Meany Archives, the materials in each folder, which included AFL, CIO, and AFL-CIO charter material mixed together, were separated by affiliated organization into several folders but still arranged by state.

While most of the collection is in excellent physical condition, several of the earliest charter copies and related correspondence dating from the 1890s and early twentieth century are in delicate shape. Acid-free sheets of paper have been placed around the most fragile of the records.

The University of Maryland Libraries received the records and the finding aid in 2013. In 2017, Bria Parker exported and cleaned the finding aid contents from the Eloquent Systems database using OpenRefine, and finally transformed the finding aids into Encoded Archival Description (EAD) using a series of programmatic scripts. The finding aid was ingested into ArchivesSpace in 2017, at which point Jennifer Eidson updated the descriptive content for accuracy. Revisions include changes to biographical/historical notes, scope and content notes, and the creation of new collection numbers. Jennifer Eidson also enhanced custodial histories and re-wrote collection titles to better conform to archival standards.
Title
Guide to the AFL and AFL-CIO Organization and Field Services Department, State Charter records
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Edmund Wehrle at the George Meany Memorial AFL-CIO Archives.
Date
1992-03
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212