Labor Archives Section Annual Business Meeting Minutes, 2017

Labor Archives Section Meeting Minutes

Society of American Archivists 2017 Annual Meeting Agenda

Portland, Oregon



Conor Casey, Labor Archivist/Director, Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries *LAS Co-Chair

Meghan Courtney, Outreach Archivist, Reuther Library, Wayne State University *LAS Co-Chair

Crystal Rodgers, Assistant Labor Archivist, Labor Archives of Washington University of Washington

Elizabeth Parker, Project Archivist, Kheel Center, Cornell University

Cheryl Baredo, Director, Kheel Center, Cornell University

Kristen Chinery, Reference Archivist, Wayne State University

Gavin Strassel, SEIU Archivist, Reuther Library, Wayne State University

Ben Blake, AFL-CIO Archivist, University of Maryland

Paul Neirink, Digital Resources, Reuther Library, Wayne State University

Lucinda Manning, Archives Consulting

Elizabeth Held

Heather Ryan, Acting Head, Colorado University Boulder Archives

Elisabeth Ryan, Associate Librarian, George Washington University

Anna St. Onge, Archivist & Digital Projects & Outreach

Alexis Adkins, Archivist, Cal Poly Pomona

Christine Johanwingmeir, Archivist, Spartanburg Public Library

Izumi Hirano, Archivist, Rikkyo University

James Cassedy, Archivist, National Archives and Records Administration

Louis Jones, Field Archivist, Reuther Library, Wayne State University


  1. SAA Council Update Bert Lyons 

    1. Members are encouraged to send questions to Bertram Lyons via the Labor Archives Listserv or directly.

    2. Issued a statement on Concerns about 2019 Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, which was shared via the SAA website, social media, and an all-member email.

    3. Approved a petition to form a new section, the Independent Archives Section.

    4. Discussed the results of the Membership Committee’s Survey on Barriers to Participation in SAA and agreed to utilize the analysis during their strategic planning session at the November Council meeting.

    5. Discussed the procedures and criteria for component group funding requests and agreed to review a revised draft at the July 29 Council meeting.

    6. Approved SAA support for two ICA documents, the Principles of Access to Archives and the Basic Principles on the Role of Archivists and Records Managers in the Support of Human Rights.

  2. May Updates (Forwarded to LAS ListServ)

    1. Approved public policy issue briefs on declassification and federal funding of archives programs. Returned to the Committee on Public Policy an issue brief on police mobile camera footage to address concerns raised by several individuals.

    2. Approved the revised Guidelines for Reappraisal and Deaccessioning as proposed by TS-GRD and the Standards Committee.

    3. Approved formation of a new student chapter at the University of Missouri.

    4. Approved minor revisions in the description of the DAS Subcommittee, extending terms to four years and creating the positions of vice chair and immediate past chair as a means of ensuring continuity.

    5. Reviewed SAA's 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, made several refinements in plan-directed activities, and made a number of suggestions in advance of the fuller review of the plan scheduled for the November 2017 Council meeting.

    6. Approved a budget for FY18 (July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018) of $2,627,416 in revenues, $2,623,767 in expenses, with a net gain of $3,649.

    7. Agreed to create a task force to explore the feasibility of forming a standing body within SAA to conduct, facilitate, and/or evaluate research/data that is practical, useful, and meaningful for SAA and the archives community. The task force report date is November 2018.

    8. Approved an Archives and Archivists of Color Section recommendation to create the Brenda S. Banks Travel Award to support attendance by an archivist of color at her/his first SAA Annual Meeting.

    9. Elected Kris Kiesling to serve on the 2017-2018 Executive Committee and Amy Cooper Cary and Bergis Jules to serve on the 2017-2018 Nominating Committee.

    10. Disbanded the Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums--with thanks.

    11. As a reminder, the meeting agenda and documents for the meeting are publicly available here:

    12. And, when the minutes are completed, they will be available here:

  1. Thanking Outgoing Co-Chair Meghan Courtney, Acknowledging incoming Co-Chair Robin Walker (not in attendance)


  1. Current Projects (15 min)


    1. Electronic Labor Records Project (Gavin Strassel)

      1. Working group gathered documents and best practices ideas, then lost steam

      2. Now: how to translate this into a useful, manageable product without getting out of hand?

      3. Section members suggested regrouping, focusing on a specific issue – perhaps email.

      4. Others suggested a more general approach, working with other sections and not focused on labor records

      5. Reminded group that the project came from a specific request from union officials for documentation from our professional org. that they could use to support initiatives for archival records care, especially email

      6. Group agreed to include some general SAA statements/best practices and repackage for the specific needs of labor unions

      7. Gavin will review the original project and renew the discussion online.

    2. LaborOnline (Conor Casey)

      1. Ongoing.

      2. Please send appropriate posts to Conor and he’ll make sure they go up online (see for the group’s previous contributions)

    3. Directory Updates (Conor Casey)

      1. Ongoing on a rolling basis

      2. Send updates as you see fit to Conor.

      3. Current listings:

    4. DPLA (Meghan Courtney)

      1. Previous meeting we discussed the possibility of working with DPLA to expand their document sets/classroom tools for labor records

      2. They’re not ready to do that yet – Meghan talked to several DPLA employees to indicated that the project is not ongoing but they hope to revive it soon.

    5. Facebook (Meghan Courtney)

      1. @LaborArchivesSection

      2. Send updates about your archives’ new collections, events, questions about labor archives work, etc.

      3. Please be sure to “Like” it and to share with colleagues

  1. Ideas and Brainstorming (20 min) (All)

    1. Discussion of future projects (All)

    2. Roundtable Session for next SAA?  (10 min)

      1. Recent sessions have focused on broader issues through labor collections:

        1. Ex: Social Justice collection via Labor Archives, Labor and Civil Rights via labor collections; and reflections on being female archivists in labor archives collections. Our recent proposal was on oral history collections in labor collections (it was not ultimately accepted)

    3. Proposing a Labor Archives session at LAWCHA or next year at SAA (options to appear through listserv, may propose more than one.

      1. Possibility of collaborating with the Women Archivists Section to discuss collections related to protests in 2017/2018, WAR report on archivists/stress, unionization, and the state of archivists as workers

      2. General presentation about labor and archivists

      3. Social justice and labor collections, collections related to underrepresented populations

      4. How collecting scope shifts with current state of labor in the US

      5. Idea that Right to Work is discriminatory – tie that in to one of the other options

    4. 2018 – Possibility of a labor archives retreat @UMD?

    5. There will be a gathering of those in town during NALHC in Detroit, October 2017.


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


  1. Gavin Strassel, SEIU Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library

    1. SEIU Photo collection open for research, over 100 years of photos, selection of digital images forthcoming

  2. Ben Blake, Labor Archivist at UMD

    1. CIO news from ’37-’55 now online

    2. Labor Heritage Foundation up

    3. Press Association Union News Service

    4. Joe Uline Papers

    5. Digitized AFL-CIO films

    6. Library has an equality and justice exhibit geared toward students

    7. AFL-CIO open records policy – large backlog to address

  3. Paul Neirink, Digital Resource Specialist, Walter P. Reuther Library

    1. Working on digitizing a great deal of material, look for these things online soon

  4. Elizabeth Held

    1. New graduate, interested in labor archives

  5. Heather Ryan, University of Colorado at Boulder

    1. She’s noticed a strength in labor collections in her repository, especially as relates to atomic production, would like to expand this strength

  6. Beth Kaplan, GWU

    1. Mostly interested in updates

    2. Teamsters and NEA renegotiated their agreements to reflect a creative commons license, interested in seeing how this compares

  7. Anna St. Onge

    1. University with some labor records

    2. Working on a community-based project: “Toronto workers history project” that’s community collecting, consulting for preservation, training

  8. Alexis Adkins, Cal Poly Pomona

    1. Has several UFW collections, especially related to Southern California wine production, interested for that connection

  9. Louis Jones, Field Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library

    1. New Collections recently: Michael Kerwin Papers (UAW) and Local 58 IBEW

  10. Cristine , Spartanburg Public Library

    1. Formerly at the Wisconsin Historical Society

    2. No collection policy at current institution, wants to remedy that

    3. Mostly at LAS to listen, get ideas

    4. Currently working on a newspaper collection

  11. Jim Cartwright, retired

    1. Interested in listening, seeing what’s going on with labor archives at the moment

  12. Izumi Harano

    1. Archive is focused on social movements

    2. In Japan, many are revisiting the 1968 events

    3. Interested in learning new skills to teach with primary sources around this growing interest

  13. Jim Cassedy, NARA

    1. Specialization is records management with the Department of Labor

    2. Will retire in January

  14. Kristen Chinery, Reference Archivist, Walter P. Reuther Library

    1. UAW archivist posting (Archivist I, full-time, subsidy funded) open to applications until August 14

  15. Conor Casey, Labor Archivist/Director, Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington

    1. 7 years into Labor Archives at UW, continued success

    2. 15 new collections

    3. Pinochet refugees project

    4. Regional AFL-CIO affinity organizations

    5. Working to correct the record for women and people of color in existing collections’ description

    6. Several mobile and digital exhibitions

    7. Collaborating on a class for UW freshmen on labor and social justice

  16. Crystal Rodgers, Assistant Labor Archivist, Labor Archives of Washington University of Washington

    1. Cleaning up finding aids for access

    2. Ongoing social media efforts

  17. Cheryl Beredo, Director of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives Cornell

    1. Department of Labor contracts agreement recently settled

    2. Completed NHPRC contracts grant

    3. Received endowment for ILGWU records from Dubinsky Family

    4. American Textile History Museum closure resulted in acquisition of relevant material for Kheel

    5. Cheryl put out a call for participants in the International Association of Labor History Institutions

  18. Liz Parker, Kheel Center at Cornell

    1. Has been working on NHPR contracts grant

    2. 65 new railroad-related collections

    3. Currently digitizing a chunk of photographs from a presidential commission related to the railroad collections


Next steps:

An email about trying to coordinate Labor Archives Section Sessions at SAA 2018 will be sent out in the next few months.

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