2013 Business Meeting Minutes (Draft)

Labor Archives Roundtable

 Annual Business Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 3:00pm - 5:00pm Grand Salon

Minutes by Conor Casey

Please email corrections to cmcasey@uw.edu


1.     Roundtable co-chairs Catherine Powell and Conor Casey opened meeting.  (5 minutes)

2.      Kate Theimer, council liaison, gave us updates on SAA Council business and introduced new SAA Council liaison Tim Pyatt. (10 minutes) Kate introduced Tim Pyatt, our new council liaison. Annual Meeting Taskforce update. One element looking at social justice issues in meeting venue contract. Council passed a document called “Principles and Priorities for Continually Improving SAA Annual Meeting” will be available online. Commitment to fair labor practices. Implementing feurce majeure clause into all contracts. “Act of God”. SAA will actively report and monitor labor conditions monitor websites to not get blindsided.

Tim Pyatt reported on new developments regarding the structure of the annual meeting. The meeting will soon shift to 60 and 75-minute slots instead of 90-minute slots. There will be less 3-person panels and more lightning talks. Participating in two different sessions is possible, as well as participating in a panel and poster session. This revision of formats will create more options for participation. When you submit, you don’t  always have all participants finalized and listed for a lightning talk session. The program will be revised to reflect this.

The new fixed rule is that a participant’s name can’t appear on more than one session proposal.

This doesn’t apply to lightening rounds. However, the speaker can only be on one program proposal; including acting as a session chair. In some of the more informal sessions you might be able to since some participants only speak for 5 min.

The Communications Taskforce is improving products and updating things.

The Government Affairs Working Group has been replaced by the Advocacy and Public Policy Committee.

SAA council if busy drafting a new strategic plan. 

Tom Connors noted that the new one will be different than the draft.

Kate Theimer said that the draft was still in progress and there is still a chance for input; comments are still being elicited. In many aspects, the intention of the plan is to try to make SAA more welcoming and less bureaucratic and flexible. Some of the plan considers SAA’s role on international stage, both in finances and time. 

There was a discussion of previous efforts to collaborate regionally such as the International Council of Archives.

Kate invited us to the lunchtime forum to learn about greater involvement, though the session would mostly emphasize an individual level of involvement.

3.      Updates on Adoption of new LAR Bylaws and 2013 Election Results. (5 minutes)

New bylaws were approved by LAR membership; Conor Casey was re-elected as Co-Chair of the Labor Archives Roundtable.

4.      General discussion and updates: Introductions, updates, and current outreach activities. (40 minutes)

Tom Connors-Teamsters Archives, George Washington University: Will show the LAR their new space next year at the SAA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Tom outlined the process of trying to reach out to Teamsters locals. Collectioning takes strategic thinking because so much was destroyed over the years. People started out territorially, making inroads and they are starting to bring in some of those collections. The Teamsters destroyed many records but also microfilmed many of them, and the Teamsters Archives is currently digitizing them. Using a  Mekel. Mach scanner. Tom noted it has proven a good machine to digitize with. They are now managing the digital surrogates in D-Space, but he wants better storage area for it.

Tom noted that David Keller, archivist at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, just published a pictorial history of Seattle’s jazz musicians. Tom handed out out the announcement for the book.

Traci Drummond, Southern Labor Archives, Georgia State University-Noted that the SLA has done many oral histories with executive officers of the International Association of Machinists. (The SLA is the official repository of the IAM), and they have been working to get them online. Traci noted that the SLA had recently lost some space at GSU. GSU is an urban university, and spaces are being reallocated because of growing student population. As well, other collections have been being moved around.

Traci mentioned her upcoming article in Provenance (Newsletter of the Society of Georgia Archivists) about how the Southern Labor Archives got the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization record and their efforts to digitize most of them via an NHPRC grant.

Robin Walker, Ann Rand Memorial Library, International Longshore and Warehouse Union-Projects in works on hold due to impact of contract negotiations. Digitizing the Dispatcher from 1942. Working with locals on donating ILWU archival material. Seattle local helped to put together material with the goal of donating some to the Labor Archives at the University of Washington.

Robin helped ILWU Local 6 with 300 boxes of material in their offices, with the goal to transfer some to the Labor Archives & Research Center, SFSU.

Robin noted that there will also be an oral history interview project coming up at the ILWU’s Pacific Coast Pensioners Convention in Portland.

The is collaborating with the California State Assembly Speaker’s Commission on Labor Education and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the history of the Port of San Francisco to integrate labor history into the exhibit. .

Other projects: Robin is helping to organize an ILWU Secretary Treasurers’ Conference that will educate around Department of Labor recordkeeping. Also does presentations on historical records.

There will be another conference on longshore labor history and the impact of changing labor laws.

James Quigel-Pennsylvania State University- United Mine Workers, Steel workers, Penn AFL-CIO. Finished processing United Mine Workers donated about 10 years ago is processed and finding aids online. Accessed via Special Collections website. Kept Reuther apprised of service union. Collection was 13 miles away in storage. Loaded with disciplinary and personal information. Legal and ethics relating to access issues. Has done a lot of articles on this outreach. Projects will Fayett, PA. Cole and coke. Collections in library. Historical society. Hidden collections. 800 oral history interviews.

Katie Dowgievicz, ILGWU Archivist, Kheel Center, Cornell University. Converted first 10 years of garment worker online digital. Warwick scanning Yiddish language periodicals and journals. Labor’s international hall of fame: looking for indiv association with labor. Put forth for induction.

Barb Morley-Digital Archivist, Kheel Center, Cornell University. Making huge push on processing backlog. All will be available online. MARC and EAD finding aids. All collection have a collection level listing. Prioritized.

Collaborative grant in NY State to digitize open reel ILR school speakers. Digitizing 250 hours of recordings. 2,000 collective bargaining agreements on digital commons on ILR School. In process of 1,800 more. Retail in education areas. All across country. 120 years.  Legacy labor photos on Flickr and ArtStor and SharedShelf. 

Beth Meyers, Director, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University. Working past year to get a handle on Reuther. Wants to understand connection to the institution. Highlights: Institutionally and administratively the director now reports through Dean of University libraries. Promise of commitment of technology and resources. Roof leaks are happening in building. Managed and freeze dried and ongoing environmental testing. 7,000 linear feet moved outside.

Aggressively getting back into big grant applications like the NHPRC for betting description and access of oral histories. 1,560 oral histories from 200 oral history projects. NEH planning grant in December.

Joshua Youngblood, Research and Outreach Services Librarian, University of Arkansas. Don’t collect directly on labor history. Some related collections. Third year of giving labor history scholarship. Agriculture and urban transition economy. Art history in 1930s; New Deal. Tom Wilks Commonwealth College Fortnightly online. Upcoming project is cleaner and better. They collect on social and environmental activism in Arkansas.

Lucinda Manning, Consulting Archivist / Records Manager, The Lula Group. Lucinda said that in the 1980s, she was one of co-founders of Labor Archives Roundtable. She knew Debra Bernhardt (Wagner Labor Archives, NYU). Would like to write more of history as a roundtable to share with SAA. Doing new taskforce on affinity groups and related sections and roundtables.

Catherine Powell, Director, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University. Small projects and frustration. Detailed the process of moving LARC into a new space. The other part is that they are now part of a bureaucracy. They plan on undertaking a digitization project using a planetary scanner. However, they have no staff to do a major project. They have already completed their first 5 projects, including the Fred Dumatzen scrapbook (Dumatzen was Golden Gate Bridge worker who died during construction). Sue Koh Lee scrapbook digitized (Koh Lee was an ILGWU worker who helpe organize the first union of Chinese women garment workers in San Francisco).

Gave Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th Anniversary presentation at California Historical Society, the presentation was broadcast on C-SPAN. The Golden Gate Oral History project was heavily used in public press sources, though not always credited. One project used oral histories in an smartphone app.

Currently working with artists at Southern Exposure galleries documenting labor organizing, sheep herding, and goat herding. One way to reach new Audiences.

Another important collection: Norman Leonard Papers. Leonard way a lawyer who defended ILWU leader Harry Bridges at his Deportation trail. Worked for CIO unions. They have just completed an overhaul of the finding aid; the collection will be fully processed and on the Online Archive of California soon. The project processed previously neglected chunks.

United Healthcare Workers Collection; originally challenged by parent institution (SEIU). However, finally got a signed Deed of Gift and the collection will be open for research.

Another collection: Emmanuel Joseph. Documented We Also Serve

Ben Blake-University of Baltimore-New on the job a UB. General archives. 20th century Baltimore history. Stuff on Steelworkers.

Conor Casey, Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections-

-Conor gave an overview of the Labor Archives of Washington State, founded 2010. -Collections include every major labor council in the state, state labor federation, statewide locals, dozens of local unions, and the papers of union officers, members and labor and civil rights activists. Building new collections around the theme of cannery workers, labor and civil rights, and farm workers.

-Exhibits this year included one on the art of Richard Correll at the Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle, and was part of the Washington State Labor Council’s Mayworks program.

-All labor related finding aids are now online. All legacy print inventories from legacy labor collections have now been appended to preliminary inventories.

-Working on new digital curation workflows, including archiving web sites and ingesting born digital records

-Digitization: There is a now a dedicated Labor Archives portal with a couple thousand digital surrogates of collection materials.

-Enhancing visibility of LAW collections by increasing contribution to consortia like the Northwest Digital Archives and OCLC.

-Expanding educationational outreach beyond university and union locals to hundreds of community college students a quarter.

-Since the Winter of 2011, LAW has incorporated 49 volunteers, interns, staff working on processing. This is based on a collaborative, iterative, processing model.

-Also addressing some concerns about personal information left in legacy collections, via redaction and restriction.

-Funding model: Based entirely on donations from labor community; just got two more years of funding from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

a.              Update from Lauren Brown, University of Maryland Special Collections Librarian

5.     Lauren Brown, Manager of Special Collections, University of Maryland. October 1 event. Governor of Maryland. Announcement and celebration of partnership with AFL-CIO to take on management of George Meany Memorial Archives.

6.     Jennifer  Eidson 16,000-17,000 records cartons. Contracted to store bulk of collection offsite core research collection is onsite.

7.     Gompers Papers Project. Will reopen core archives on October 1. Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco, Grain Millers bringing a new wave existing relationship. Carpenters and Joiners of America. Developing a training facility and exhibit in Las Vegas in February.


8.              Conor Casey: Updates on the topical labor archives discovery interface that would search across repositories’ hosted EAD records and other online finding aid formats. (15 minutes)

Idea would be a topical collections portal, organized by International Unions and then break down geographically.

Traci: Suggested wordpress for public interface, or possibly a LibGuide

Barb: Noted that it would be very important that it would be able to extract and import data from other formats.  

Catherine: Suggested a working Group to assess and appropriate platform, look for existing templates, anticipate problems and issues, and generate a bulleted document of goals and objectives. This will also assess what kinds of support would be needed and what kind of time commitment the project would take.

Limits of a phase project.

Come up with a defined plan. Bigger institutions could think about contributing time from grad students and funding for investigatory work and testing. Even who should be contacted.

Traci: Interested after end of year. Catherine is interested as well. Conor will also be part of the working group.

Question: Does another roundtable have something like this that could serve as a model or a pathway?

Idea: Roundtables can bring proposals to the leadership list. Investigate: Have people done things like this in the past?

Could SAA come up with support money and tech support?

SAA said they wanted to fund things like this. Might be a model for other topical roundtables and sections.

Planning year followed by an implementation year.

Come up with budget and hire someone to do it.

Fleshing out of project.

Quigley: Subject level reveal.

9.              Other potential projects:

a.              Brainstorming (30 minutes)

               Previous ideas

               Comprehensive survey of labor collections as part of our documentation strategy.

               Listing of endorsed labor archivists in different geographical areas that labor unions could draw upon to consult about their records.

               Might be a bit strong. Directory. Access. Broke labor archives directory down by state.

               If a union needed help in a region, they could contact and help someone. “Collections hotline”.

               Barb-Suggested endorsed a bit strong. New archivists could benefit from reading list. Barb is volunteering to put together a reading list to get a handle on it before dealing with unions.

               Talked about putting list online.

               Berhardt’s How to Keep Union Records suggested.

               This is already online at the Labor Archives of Washington State’s website along with ILWU records management schedule.

               Robin: Suggested a short guide on how to how to preserve and exhibit records for unions.  

               Catherine: Referral to another union that has records in other archives.

               New York Labor History Association. How to Preserve Your Union Records. Jane Latoure

b.              Idea: Either Labor Archives Retreat or the technology to meet online as a roundtable. Taskforce on Affinity Groups. Physical meeting or teleconference.

c.              Google Hangout suggested by Conor

d.              Traci: A two day retreat was helpful because you got to meet and talk. Machinists have offered to put us up for $100 per person at their training facility. We’d have to pay to get there. Other option has at GSU.

e.              There was interest. Traci will take it on. Either in DC area or Atlanta.

f.               Catherine and Conor will schedule a hangout meeting. See how it goes. Once a year is not enough.

g.              Proposal for next SAA meeting: Quigley would like to take lead. Ethics: Artifacts. Ethics? New Year DC. Willing to organize session. Will send out announcement and elicit feedback.

h.              Other idea open house at GWU next year.

i.                One session that Oral History section endorsed is lightening round. Lightening round. 5-10 minutes.

j.                Upcoming year: Women in labor archives.


-Tom might scan and get online on LAR website.


·                Collaboration

§     New Ideas

Ideas brought up at Leadership meeting. Interested in collaboration and cross-pollination. Women’s Roundtable? Human Rights Roundtable? Oral History Roundtable?

Problem: Meetings at same time. Contact chair. Quigel anything on social justice and oral history. Possibly another person.

Idea for collaborations: Presentations for both groups. Workers and Social Justice.


-Idea for a working group on public policy. We may want to interact with this.


o         Action Plan (15 minutes)

§     Who (volunteers? working group?)

§     Timeline/proposal/report back to LAR