aorchard's blog

Guest Post: Ciera Casteel on the Wayne State University Oral History Course Oral Histories

(28065) Strikes, Detroit Newspaper Strike, 1996

Over the course of the last few months I had the opportunity to work at the Reuther Library processing oral history collections. This was an incredible experience through which I was able to create tools to increase researchers' access to four relatively new collections: the Wayne State University Oral History Course Oral Histories. These four collections are a treasure for researchers studying a number of topics.  read more »

Finding Archives in the Digital Shelves

Until recently the only way to find Reuther collections online was by using Reuther website. While the website still provides the most information about all our 1700+ archival collections, they can now also be found by searching the WSU Library catalog. This new functionality makes our collections more findable, and is particularly useful if you are looking for a variety of material types. For example, if you need both primary sources (e.g., archival materials), and secondary sources (e.g., books), you can do one search using the library catalog that will return results for both types of material.  read more »

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 »

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