2014 Meeting Minutes [DRAFT]


Labor Archives Roundtable

Society American Archivists 2014

Meeting Minutes

4:00 5:30pm





Changes in Crawford media beginning Crawford media services ATL, Georgia. Discount for digitization of labor AV collections. Owner has a background with labor materials and is supportive of labor. File formats. Helps with metadata and crowdsourcing. PBS. Holocaust Museum. Left brochures for LAR.

Council liaison: Tim Pyatt.

Council updates: Plenary speech Jackie Dooley: How we treat new people. Best practices for volunteers in archives. There is an existing one for interns.

Adopted issue brief on Advocacy and Public Policy in HIPAA

Principles and Priorities for Joint Meetings and Value. Request for comment.

Bob Gordon on copyright

Bill White.

SAA Listserv. SAA doesn’t own but hosts. Some want to eliminate some want to change. Retain list as general forum. Gov by SAA code of conduct. Revisit in May.


1.      Report back labor archives retreat (Traci Drummond) (5 min)

Held in ATL. Tradition was a handful of people. 4 participants. Open up to whole list to recruit. Traci, Tom, Conor, Chela. Day and a half. (See agenda from retreat). Portal proposal. EAC. U Virgiina

Catherine. Meany might have name authority? List of affiliates. Maybe Linda DeLoach. Name authority.

Best ways to reach out to users. LAWCHA. Regular blog. Our own blogs don’t get much traffic. Conor created that relationship  with LaborOnline.

Historian re: Georgia labor history. Phil Laporte re arbitrations.

Talked about coming up with guidelines for arbitrations. How to increase use and. Traci tends to sample very selectively. Losing space in stacks.

1979 Richard Kesner in Archivaria. Reuther grant sample.

Tom Connors 1989 labor archives article. Appraisal guidelines.

Traci wants to use as a foundation and then do surveys with labor archivists, labor historians, and arbitrators. Three survey instruments and write and article on it.

Not wholesale destruction but a selective sampling tool methodologically.

Lucinda. “Fat File” method of appraising labor records. Select for “fat files” that carries through a whole process. FBI records appraisal project.

Quigel gets a blanket consent after 25 years from some unions
Louis researchers don’t use names. On finding aid no names in guides. Sign guide.

Concern that there’s no research value. That people won’t use.

Conor Potential use

Kagel Collection. Database with names. Concerns putting online.

Quigel: Power relations on the shop floor


Traci: Would survey current practices of labor archives. Historians and archivists and arbitrators or people who deal with grievances regularly.



2.       2014 Election Results. (5 minutes) Catherine Powell was re-elected as Labor Archives co-chair for 2014-2016. We will need to have an election for Conor Casey's vacated seat in 2014, as he has served two terms.

3.      Projects (15 min)

a.      Labor Archives portal proposal update (Conor Casey) Now exists as a shared Google Doc. You’ll recall that I initially approach the Northwest Digital Archives and OCLC about this idea. OCLC was not interested in developing it or integrating it into ArchiveGrid, even though they saw the value of the idea.

I created a really simple structure and proof of concept, I first mined the AFL-CIO website for lists of international unions. I then went to state labor council websites to mine lists of regional affiliates. Finally, I scanned Gary M. Fink’s book Labor Unions and am going apply OCR to the list of historical sketches of labor unions (which includes the genesis and mergers of many historic unions.) I have a contact in the Washington State regional Department of Labor and am going to ask him to export a list of unions from their database as well.  This wil create a skeletal structure to post within. The idea is that repositories can then go in, find the local, and paste the name of their repository or a link to the finding aid for the international unions and local unions represented. This could get more complex, but the aim was to make it as easily accessible and simple to as broad a swath of repositories with labor collections as possible, including small places with no EAD finding aids, local historical societies, and smaller repositories with little staffing, etc. I need help. I sent the link to the listserv and can re-send. Would anyone be interested in forming a working group with me or refer grad students or potential collaborators to me?

b.      LaborOnline column and LAWCHA relationship update (Conor Casey)First, I emailed Leon Fink but about doing a special issue of Labor on repositories but he didn’t respond.  I then approached Rosemary Feurer and Ryan Poe, editors of the Labor and Working Class History Association's LaborOnline newsletter, about LAR members contributing articles about our collections to their publication. (Similar to the special issue of LAWCHA's Lab or History journal from 1990 on labor archives repositories) This is a great opportunity for us to market our collections to our most frequent users directly. It also provides a way for us to highlight new collections or projects that have employed our collections. Rosemary and Ryan were very open and interested in having the LAR contribute to their newsletter on a regular basis. We now have a regular column at http://lawcha.org/wordpress/tag/labor-archives/Patrizia Sione The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives at Cornell University bySionePosted 3 months ago by LAW will submit one next week. U Maryland and Southern Labor Archives are planning on submitting articles as well. What other repositories would be interested? Can I put you down here and we can create a schedule to try to get a regular stream of content from our Roundtable queued up for submission?

c.      Labor Archives Directory Updates Project (Conor Casey) Sent this announcement via the listserv and posted this on the LAR website. Help Update the Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory...Again The Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory is an important topical listing of labor and labor-related collections that is valuable to both labor archivists and to scholars and researchers. Initial work on the directory was done in the early 1990s by the Wagner Labor Archives in New York City. A survey then conducted identified "archivists, librarians, and labor union staff who are collecting manuscripts, audio-visual materials, and artifacts that document the history of the trade union movement in the United States." Similarly, this directory includes repositories with partial holdings relating to labor and workers, as well as repositories whose entire holdings pertain to labor. The most recent updates were made in 2011 and very overseen by LAR Co-Chair Traci JoLeigh Drummond; in 2011 as well the directory was re-posted on the Labor Archives Roundtable website as well as the website of the Labor Archives of Washington. Previously known updates were made in 2002.While creating the the Map of Directory of Labor Archives in the United States and Canada, it became apparent to me that many of the links were out of date or non-working. The move of the archives of the George Meany Archives to the University of Maryland was another very significant needed update, and the expansion of the listing for the Labor Archives of Washington's section--previously updated only slightly in 2011--needed to be accomplished as well. Moreover, in thinking about creating a topical portal to help researchers discover labor collections across repositories, it became apparent that we could really expand the directory to update listings from established repositories while adding collections are repositories with important labor collections that were previously unlisted. To that end, I have created a shared Google Doc that will allow anyone with the link to edit their repository's listing and verify or update the information. In particular, web resources, URLs, and collection scope and content listings seem to be out of date. Please feel free to contribute it, add other repositories to it, and invite colleagues at other repositories to collaborate. Can anyone here pledge to update their repository’s section of the Directory within the next few months? This would really reduce the work. Can we also explore the idea of creating a working group to solicit unlisted repositories to contribute to an expanded future version?

d.      Labor Archives repository map (Conor Casey) Completed, now on LAR website as well as LAW website.

e.      History Pin (Catherine Powell) Met with people from HistoryPin. LARC. Walking Tour component.  Catherine wants to explore idea of how to do it collaboratively.


4. Roundtable session for next SAA (15 min)

a. Connection to other issues (similar to session on labor & civil rights).


i. Politics and political science

ii. Women and labor

iii. Labor History as regional history

iv. Building donor relations (including records management)

Idea: Jim Quigel: Legal issues with labor unions and access issues. Subpeonaed materials. Grievance records. Lawyers seek labor archives.

Should we be collecting if we are exposing the union?

Jim tends to collect because it documents on what local unions actually do.

Focus on unions and relationships. Interested in a survey or talking with other that have a problem.


Conor: broad collaborations. Based on marketing and turnout


Labor for public history. Left Forum in NYC. Lucinda. Pull more speakers in besides SAA membership.


Resubmit previous proposal?



5. Discussion grievances and arbitrations in your collections (Traci Drummond) (10 min)


6. LAWCHA 2015 "Fighting Inequality: Class, Race, and Power" (10 min)

CFP Deadline: September 15)jointly with LAR May 28-31, 2015. Georgetown University,

Washington, DC. Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the

Working-Class Studies Association.

LAWCHA Conference 2015

Another exciting thing to think of on the horizon: In 2015, LAWCHA's conference will be in Washington, DC. I've been talking with LAWCHA's incoming president James Gregory about the LAR collaborating and having a strong presence at the conference. He is enthusiastic about the idea. I think this will provide one other way to promote our collections directly to our users. It seems like there will be ample opportunities for us to present our panels and collaborate with LAWCHA colleagues in this conference. We will coordinate our sessions together as a roundtable and then submit to the Call for Papers together. They are limiting participants to speaking once, so we will have plenty of chance to recruit LAR members to participate! 


May 28-31, 2015. Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association and the Working-Class Studies Association.

Economic inequality, while long a challenge for working-class people, has grown and become increasingly central in public life. It has been a theme in struggles for justice for low-wage workers and has shaped policies related to education, housing, health care, and the right to organize.


We welcome proposals that address these questions or other aspects of working-class life through historical, cultural, social, and/or political lenses….particularly encourage those that wrestle with issues of democracy and public policy. We invite proposals for varied formats, including roundtables, debates, working groups, workshops, teaching sessions, and performances. Whenever possible, session proposals should involve participants from multiple disciplines and roles, linking scholars across fields and connecting academic research with activism and/or the arts.


US labor history association. Jane LaToure. Labor Map. She spoke in Chicago. Regional projects.


Alison. Ref Lib. Labor Studies for union appreincices. LAWCHA. Revanmped US History syllabus to use digitized documents to tech labor history to young workers.

Union members are directly involved.

Tom Connors Labor Archives Project through Bentley. Wayne state labor history conference.

Catherine: LARC Partnerships between labor archives and unions to do specific projects. Oral history project and play. Served both history and needs of union.

Outreach and exhibition innovation projects.

Session on labor outreach.

            Quigel: Connecitivity: Outreach for labor and

Ben Blake: Crises and solutions. Bankruptcy as a collection opportunity. Company goes under, union closes local. He experienced.



Subcommittee: Jim, Jennifer, Ben, Catherine possibly to create panel/workshop.


Guidelines for Proposals

Sessions will be scheduled for 75 minutes, including 30 minutes for discussion among speakers and attendees. Proposals may take one of the following forms:

Panel, roundtable, or workshop with multiple presenters

While individuals may submit more than one proposal, due to time and space constraints, no one may present more than once at the conference. Submit proposals online at FightingInequality.org.

Questions? Contact Sherry Linkon, sll5@georgetown.edu, or Vail Kohnert-Yount, avk26@georgetown.edu.


DEADLINE for submissions is: September 15, 2014 at /FightingInequality.org (website won’t be live until June 1)

a. Recruit conference planning committee

b. Brainstorm: sessions & what conference will look like (models, case studies)

c. Who will offer/lead repository visits?

i. University of Maryland and the Teamsters Archives at GWU have already



7. Report by University of Maryland about AFL-CIO Archives (Jennifer Eidson) (15 min)


Lauren Brown-Jen Eidson.

AFL-CIO outsourcing issued. RFP issued. Fall of 2012. U of Maryland began accepting.

Goal summer 2013 move and open October 1.


BCTD compromise—depts. Have autonomy. Weren’t sure if they wanted to transfer. Were given a window of time to review and take back. If not, fell under porivsions of MOU. Traditionally, hard on physical ownership, softer on intellectual property. AFL-CIO retained.

Traditionally close files. Now close for 20 years. Agreed on what that meant. UM means 20 years after creation of document.

AFL-CIO and or union organization involved with the timing of opening records.

A great deal that had never been previously opened was opened. 

Convinced they could no longer play “favorites”  with anointed historians.

Working on strategies for facilitating review process.

Financial support:

UofM admin committed to supporting.

Labor Collections Group Leader (Not posted yet).

AFL-CIO has committed to ongoing financial support

            Labor Collections


Approximately 21, 926 linear feet of library and archival materials. About 2 miles.

Directives from MOU affecting move.

90 days to move after signed MOU

AFL-CIO to provide copy of all finding aids, including database

Re-open access to collections within 180 days of signed MOU

Three affiliate organizations not sure of acquisition

Three affiliate organization not sure of acquisition

Working America

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Labor Council for Latin American Advancement\


Had 7 students help. Barcoded. Verified location. Moved books into main book collection.


Preservation helped pack and focused on artifacts. Packed everything well.


New Archival Issues


New Initiatives

New donations

Migrating database into ArchiveSpace

Expected 2014

Digital projects

Internet Archive

AFL-CIO publications in HathiTrust

Setting Priorities

Collection assessment

Continuing to re-establish access to library, microfilm, vertical files and print indexes

Collecting policy

New facility set to open around 2017.


Admin buy in? How?

Departmental support History, Anthro, Women’s Studies, American Studies,

Governor letter of support, library admin interested in big-name projects. History Dept really lobbied for it.

AFL-CIO $70,000 a year. Chained to CPI. Dedicated to one position and do other things as well. Trying to be a line item in budget.



8. Updates from LAR members on what's happening in their archives (15 min)