2021 Labor Archives Section Co-chair election - Candidate Statement

Co-Chair Candidate

The following candidate is running for the Co-chair position:

Sarah Lebovitz

SEIU Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library

I’m the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Archivist at the Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs at Wayne State University. I have a BA from Colorado College in anthropology with an MSI (focus on Archives and Records Management) from University of Michigan.  


My first understanding of the importance of record keeping came out of anthropology, as well as the need to examine one’s own viewpoint when describing other communities. I put this understanding into practice as a graduate student, working with records that ranged from artists to academic units. 


For the past three years as a new professional, I’ve had the honor of serving as SEIU’s archivist. During the centennial lead-up, I received a crash course in both learning the history of the union through the documents held at the Reuther, and in compiling a database of SEIU documents held at archives around the country. I’ve also been able to work directly with union members to discuss the importance of SEIU’s work, and have made efforts to digitize and make accessible the historical publications of the union. During the past year, I’ve additionally been involved the Labor Archives Directory Working Group and have had the pleasure of working with members of the team to update and enhance our current directory information. 


If elected co-chair of the Labor Archives Section, I’d work to both continue moving forward with our current momentum, as seen in participation in many different labor and history related conferences throughout the country as well as through renewed efforts in documenting labor material and the material of working peoples from non-labor specific institutions, and to brainstorm new ways in which the LAS might create cohesive outreach and events to include both labor archivists and those interested in the labor movement at large.