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The 1972 Lordstown Strike

(30606) 1972 Lordstown Strike Cartoon

Work speed-ups on the line helped to initiate the 1972 strike at a General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Although the strike’s impact was initially felt at GM, its influence quickly grew, informing the nation about the struggles of its young workforce, and influencing the content of congressional hearings and national studies.  read more »

Notable Women of SEIU

(29292) Women's Community, 17th International SEIU Convention, New York, New York, 1980

Women have been a part of SEIU since its inception, when Elizabeth A. Grady was elected Trustee at the founding convention in 1921. Grady often reminded her fellow executive board members, all of whom were men, “You men must know that you cannot get very far or make any real progress if you have women workers who compete with you, unorganized and working for less wages” (Union Sisters, p. 16). Indeed, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was keenly aware of the importance of organizing women, demonstrated by correspondence found in the SEIU Historical Records. Amidst the correspondence are documents sent by AFL’s then president Sam Gompers, such as reports detailing labor’s organization of women in Europe during the 1920s, as well as questionnaires to AFL Internationals, generating data on women in industry. However, given SEIU’s initial gender integration, in part due to SEIU’s organization of flat (apartment) janitors whose wives were expected to share in the work, SEIU already recognized the importance of women in the labor movement. Indeed, while not always in the most visible of positions, women, both rank-and-file members, and those within SEIU’s leadership, have made great contributions to SEIU and the greater labor movement over the years. In honor of Women’s History Month, we take a look at some of SEIU’s more prominent female leaders.  read more »

Digital Project Announcement: Expanded Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Galleries

We’re pleased to announce the expanded Service Employees International Union (SEIU) image galleries. In recent weeks, over 500 photographs were digitized and are now accessible on the Reuther website. The images are organized into five galleries, two of which are legacy galleries, SEIU: The Organizing Union (a traveling exhibit created for the 2008 SEIU International Convention) and Service Employees International Union: 925 (focusing on images from SEIU District 925, whose records are housed at the Reuther). The remaining digitized photographs are organized by subject into three new image galleries: Conventions, Conferences, and Events; Demonstrating, Campaigning, and Organizing; and Service Employees at Work. Collectively, the images in these five galleries enhance the understanding of the various aspects, responsibilities, and activities of SEIU and provide a visualization of its diverse leader- and membership.  read more »

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