2016 LAS Meeting Minutes

Labor Archives Section Meeting Minutes

Society of American Archivists 2016 Annual Meeting

Atlanta, Georgia

Minutes Taker: Conor Casey

In Attendance:  

Meghan Courtney

Curtis Lyons

Gavin Strassel

Barb Morley

Cheryl Baredo

Stefanie Caloia

Bobbi Fox

William Thomas

Beverly Cook

Brian Peterson

Brian Peterson

Katharina Hering

Ben Blake

Conor Casey, Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington

1.   Council Update Tim Pyatt

  • Bert Lyons will be incoming council liaison to LAR

  • Tim updated LAR on council business

  • SAA Council update on member affinity groups: LAR member feedback was instrumental in shaping their new policy. LAR advocated in removing the quota number for group membership

  • SAA Council saw that some like LAR are below somewhat the arbitrary threshold

  • After this meeting, everybody (roundtables and sections) will be a Section. The distinction between section and roundtable will disappear

  • There is now no limit on how many sections and roundtables SAA members can join

  • Non Members can now participate in up to three discussion lists instead of none

  • Bylaws will now have a fill-in-the-blank bylaws

  • June 1 election will remain the same. The membership roster same. One change is that if any meeting wants to meet offsite during the SAA Annual Meeting they can, but any group that wants a meeting space at annual meeting will have to alert SAA by MARCH 1. Required for space.

  • Council has approved an info brief on environment

  • Updated SAA Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

  • Nancy McGovern (incoming SAA president) wants to see how SAA and can be a bigger player in developing metadata standards. Mark Mattienza has been tasked with heading a task force. They are going to prep a report on environment scan to be presented at Council by November.


2.   Introduction of New Co-Chair Conor Casey

3.   Current Projects (15 min)

  • Electronic Labor Records Project Update (Gavin Strassel)

o   Background: Came out of discussion between Reuther AFSCME, SEIU, AFT

o   Sought best practices.

o   To date: 1-2 phone meetings. A developing outline and Google Doc. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fNPL7Wrn8QTlHrG_bfV3Qj6-3piehmfKDstODRMaojU/edit

o   There is still ample time to become involved


  • LaborOnline column and LAWCHA relationship update (Conor Casey)

    • The LAWCHA Annual Conference will be in Seattle at the University of Washington in June 2017.

    • The Labor Archives of Washington will be central in the events and planning, and Conor Casey is hoping to organize or co-organize several LAR-branded panels and sessions for the conference. Please contact him if you’d like to be a part. He will also make an announcement on the listserv.

    • We have continued to receive articles for our column in LaborOnline. https://lawcha.org/wordpress/tag/labor-archives/

    • Please feel free to submit entries to Conor cmcasey@uw.edu, who acts as assistant editor and will convey them to the newsletter editors.  

    • Conor recently pitched the idea of a special issue of Labor on labor archives similar to the one in 1992, but editor Leon Fink felt it was duplicative or our column and invited Conor to write an article on the state of labor archives.

4. Ideas and Brainstorming (20 min)(Meghan Courtney)

  • LAR survey results presented small sample size [Include slides labor ]


Facebook might be a source of updates and data and collections

b.   Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) possibilities (Meghan Courtney)

                            i.    Hosts and aggregates documents sets and has curated primary source document sets for teachers.

                           ii.    They have a long term plan to expand these projects.

                         iii.    DPLA suggested LAR create an exhibit on DPLA.

                         iv.    Don’t need to be part an academic institution; they can help other orgs get into DPLA.

                          v.    Point: Many labor orgs don’t necessarily want to donate to archives, this might help them get stuff online via DPLA.

                         vi.    It was agreed that in general LAR members would be interested. About 3-4 potential point people identified themselves.

c.   Discussion of future projects (All)

5.   Roundtable Session for new SAA (10 min)

a.   20-30 minutes session for THIS session. In-roundtable mini-session

6.   Report from LAR member on activities at their archives (focusing on new initiatives) (35 minutes)

a.   Gavin re: web archives projects for unions Sple to SEIU president’s nephew, who is a web archive guru

b.   Penn State (Tim Pyatt is doing this). LAW is doing. Several others are doing.

7.   Opportunities to Collaborate with Other Like Roundtables

a.   Ideas for collaborative sessions

                            i.    Labor Archives in the Digital Age: collaborate with Electronic Records? Web Archiving Roundtable?

                           ii.    Labor’s Role in the 21 Century Politics and How Labor Archives can Make a Difference: Issue and Advocacy, Human Rights Roundtable? Archives and Archivists of Color.

Conor Casey—LAW. State funding. Hired assistant archivist


Ben Blake. U Maryland. AFL-CIO.

  • Ben has been working there 4 months. New assistant archivist. 30,000 of empty shelves.

    • Looking for unions that do not have repositories

    • Survey exhibit on labor history. Labor Day 2017-Labor Day 2018. Based on mining collection.

    • Migrating Meany archives legacy metadata into ArchivesSpace’

    • Digitization beginning to digitize CIO News?

    • Baker’s Union journal next

    • Pride @ Work Inventory completed. Hoping to start an oral history project.

    • Carpenter’s Union Records now officially processed—will officially become part of Labor Archives

  • Presentation supporting LAWCHA    


Katherina Hering

o   Building a strategic digital archives model. Anti-poverty.

William Thomas, photo archivist in Colorado Springs Public Library

o   Cripple Creek labor wars WFM. 60 mugs shots. Researched created exhibits.


Stefanie Caloia, AFSCME Archivist Reuther

o   Went to AFSCME convention.

o   Processing backlog. Figuring out e-mail

o   Monthly newsletter for department heads to AFSCME


Cheryl Baredo

o   NHPRC grant to work on?

o   New archivist starts on August 15. Elizabeth Parker.

o   Local 2300 UAW. Workers at Cornell. Oral History Project. Anniversary

o   Labor Issues in China. Would be happy to talk about industrial relations rather than just unions. Mirrors collecting labor archives that aren’t organized labor

o   The International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI)—attending conference


Barb Morley, Cornell Catherwood

  • NHPRC collective bargaining. Full text searchable. Partnering with Columbia.

  • Jewish People’s Fraternal Order digitization next 16 months


Gavin Strassel. SEIU.

  • Detroit SEIU’s 4 year convention. Helped plan convention. Designed exhibit on union’s history.

  • Day to day duties. Processing photo collections. Digitizing photos as he goes along. Putting collections online


Curtis Lyons

  • Digital Commons

  • Digital collections.

  • New endowment. President of ILGWU

  • Working on a large acquisition from an industry. Includes records of companies in direct conflict


Meghan Courtney

  • Now outreach archivist at Reuther. Focus on urban affairs for Detroit metro. Also university archives.

  • 1967 unrest anniversary coming up. Applying for grants for exhibit on that.

  • Digitization and online access-shifting to University’s digital collections. Majority on deposit. Didn’t anticipate digitization

  • NHPRC better description

  • AWOC Ernie Lowe—Digitized. Mostly Filipino American organizers. Audio will be online soon.

  • NALHC—Session on at in Detroit. Newly restored mural from Reuther’s home local

Next steps:

An email about trying to coordinate Labor Archives Section Sessions at SAA 2017 will be sent out in the next few months.

Minutes of this meeting will be sent to the LAR listserv for input/correction.