Labor Archives Co-Chair Candidate Statement: Conor Casey



Conor M. Casey, MA, MLIS, CA
Head of the Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

With 23 years of archival experience, I began my career as an assistant at the Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University, eventually becoming an archivist and visual materials curator (2001-08). I later served as a research archivist at Pixar Animation Studios before joining the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections  in 2010 as the founding archivist/curator of the Labor Archives of Washington (LAW). I hold BAs in Anthropology and History, an MA in US History, an MLIS, and am a certified archivist. My research interests include social, labor, immigration, and ethnic history; oral history research and curation; and EDI-centered archival administration.

At LAW, I oversee archival collections and oral history projects, managing several teams and coordinating activities across three budgets. My team is currently completing a collections condition assessment, a reparative description audit, and working on high-priority ADA compliance and web exhibit migration projects. I provide instruction for undergraduate and graduate courses, field reference questions, and engage in community outreach for inclusive historical collections.

I have held leadership roles in various archival organizations and currently serve on the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Council and co-host the SAA podcast, Archives in Context. I am a proud member and shop steward of the UW Libraries Union, SEIU 925. I have also served as vice president of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association (2017-20) and president of the Northwest Historians Guild (2014-16).

Labor Archives Section Service 

As co-chair of the Labor Archives Section (LAS) from 2011-2020, I coordinated the adoption of bylaws, enhanced access to the LAR repository directory, and initiated an online format and labor repository map. I edited a regular column in the Labor Online e-newsletter of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA), increasing our profile. I helped coordinate several LAS-related sessions at LAWCHA conferences and the North American Labor History Conference, and organized LAS session proposals for the SAA annual meetings.

Commitment to the Labor Movement

I am deeply committed to the labor movement's role in promoting economic, social, gender, and racial justice. From 2019 to 2023, I helped unionize my workplace, serving on the organizing, contract bargaining, contract action, communications, and research committees. Paying interns and supporting labor organizing are essential strategies for increasing diversity in our profession and democratizing the workplace, aligning with SAA’s Work Plan on DEIA.

Vision for Future Service to LAS

If elected, I aim to continue pursuing collaborative projects and empowering LAS members to work on important initiatives. I would like to explore a collective labor collections cross-repository discovery portal and contribute to Encoded Archival Context projects. Revisiting the idea of creating a labor history primary source set in the Digital Public Library of America is also on my agenda. Additionally, I propose creating a comprehensive survey of labor collections to identify documentation gaps and compiling a list of endorsed labor archivists for consulting purposes. Establishing committees or working groups to pursue these projects beyond our annual business meeting is crucial. We also need to continue creating sessions for the main SAA annual meeting that relate to labor collections, showcasing our work, and recruiting new members.

Thanks for considering my nomination!