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Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO records

 Collection 0515-LBR

This collection documents the Metropolitan Washington Council (MWC), a local labor council representing the AFL-CIO organization in Washington, DC and the surrounding area. The MWC is heavily involved in labor rights and legislation for member unions under their spectrum, as shown by representatives of the MWC (most notably President Joslyn Williams) and constituent union members who often took to the streets for rallies, or to Capitol Hill for testimonies before Congress and demonstrations in the Washington DC area. Such labor activism is portrayed through the administrative, promotional, financial, and commemorative material of which the collection is composed, ranging from 1896 to 2016. Events found within the records include the 1991 Solidarity Day, the annual "Evening with Labor" dinner celebration, and other smaller-scale activities such as local union workshops or daily administrative correspondence.


  • 1896-2016, and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1968-2000

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.

This collection contains some restricted material. Preliminary inventories note folders that should be screened by the collection curator before giving access to a public researcher.

This collection is stored offsite. For more information about requesting offsite materials please see our offsite policies:

This collection also contains audiovisual materials. Items that cannot be used in the Special Collections reading room or are too fragile for researchers require that a digital copy be made prior to use. If you would like to access these materials, please contact us prior to your visit.

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.


40.83 Linear Feet (26 paige boxes and one oversized box)

Content Description

The Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO records consist of administrative, promotional, financial, and commemorative material from the MWC from 1896 to 2016. This accession includes textual records, photographs, small volumes or programs, and audiovisual materials relating to legislative campaigns, MWC Presidents (notably Joslyn Williams), the annual "Evening with Labor" dinner, other MWC events or rallies, Council meeting minutes, waterfront development, home rule, educational materials, union-specific administation, community or political outreach operations, and internal correspondence of the MWC. A 1900 (circa) copy of the Washington CLC History can be found in Box 4.

Biographical / Historical

The MWC first organized in 1896 as the Central Labor Union, chartered through the AFL. The local labor council garnered wider involvement through The Trades Unionist newspaper, which began printing soon after the council's conception until 1982. By 1935, the original 12 local member unions had grown to 156, representing 100,000 workers. In 1957, in accordance with the guidelines set by the AFL-CIO merger in 1955, the Central Labor Union merged with the DC Industial Union Council of the CIO to form the Greater Washington Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO. After the merger, the council became even more active in DC-area labor rights, including fighting for wage rights against the National Bank of Washington, helping to pass the right to federal sector collective bargaining, and the creation of the Labor Studies Center. In 1981, the council name was changed to its current-day name, the Metropolian Washington Council, AFL-CIO. Elected in 1982, Joslyn Williams became the first full-time paid President of the Council. Recent activism since the final name change includes fighting for unemployment compensation, workers' compensation, and progressive bargaining.


The collection is roughly organized into seven series: organization records, convention records, local unions, “Evening with Labor” and other programs, photographs, audiovisual materials, and oversized materials

Custodial History

This collection was donated to University of Maryland Libraries by the MWC President Jackie Jeter on September 13, 2018.

Processing Information

This collection is minimally processed. See the attached inventories to review the collection materials.

These materials were received by the University of Maryland on September 13, 2018. During processing, a significant portion of materials were housed in acid-free folders, replacing unsupportive and acidic folders. Many folders were given new titles due to previous original folder labels falling off, or undescriptive acronyms in the original title. Original folders overflowing with material were split into additional folders and numbered. Original order was maintained with materials that arrived in archival boxes; however, a significant portion of material also arrived in large plastic totes, either loose or in otherwise unordered folders. Material within these plastic totes were rehoused into Paige boxes, arranged in order where order existed, and consolidated to save space. Some materials are not in original order due to form, such as books or other volumes that were loose in the box. These materials were largely reordered by date and housed in a more orderly and supportive manner. Two archival boxes contained photographs of varying sizes that were also largely unordered and often unlabeled. These photographs were organized into acid-free folders. Some photographs are housed in archival envelopes with more descriptive titles. “Unidentified” materials were originally loose in the box and unlabeled; they are now housed in folders and marked as “unidentified”.

In the preliminary inventory, there are two barcodes associated with each item: the processed box barcode assigned by the inventory creator, and the Victory ID barcode assigned by the donor. Current boxes may be composed of materials from multiple Victory ID barcodes, due to consolidation or rehousing. The Victory ID barcodes are tracked in the inventory by the folder or item level.

Boxes were then assigned sequential numbers and roughly organized into the following series: organization records, convention records, local unions, “Evening with Labor” and other programs, photographs, audiovisual materials, and oversized materials. Researchers should note that although similar materials were grouped together as much as possible, related folders are still somewhat scattered among the boxes.

Duplicate copies of materials were discarded.

Some issues of the Trades Unionist newspaper were added to the serials catalog to complete the publication run. Other issues were identified as duplicates and also discarded.

Oversize items were removed from their original locations and placed Box 27; the preliminary inventory records the original locations of these items.

Guide to the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO records
Minimally Processed
Processed by Tyler Black
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742