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New UAW Archivist, Gavin Strassel

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(38398) Portrait, Strassel, UAW Archivist, 2018

The Reuther Library is proud to have Gavin Strassel as the new UAW Archivist.

Strassel has long been an important part of the Reuther Library team. He came to the Reuther in December 2013 as an Archives Technician.  read more »

1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(8885) I AM a Man

AFSCME Local 1733 was several years in the making.

Thomas Oliver (T.O.) Jones passionately believed in the necessity of a union for sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. A sanitation worker himself, he experienced unfair working conditions and accompanying low pay. In the 1960s, forty percent of full-time Memphis sanitation workers qualified for welfare assistance. The men had to carry heavy trash bins, often leaking, from residents’ yards to the trucks in sweltering Memphis heat. Black workers did not  read more »

Now on view: All Labor Has Dignity: The 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike, Photographs by Richard L. Copley

(8890) Dignity sought in Memphis

In 1968, Memphis sanitation workers, AFSCME Local 1733, went on strike for increased wages and union recognition, but most importantly, to be treated with respect and dignity. The strike became an important chapter in the civil rights movement, attracting the support of Martin Luther King, Jr., who was visiting the striking workers when he was assassinated. Photographer Richard L. Copley documented key moments  read more »

Moment of Silence for Memphis Sanitation Workers

(37622) I AM A MAN poster

On February 1, 1968, Robert Walker and Echol Cole of Memphis, Tennessee were killed on the job by a malfunctioning garbage truck. Ten days later, members of their union, AFSCME Local 1733, voted to strike. Their struggle for recognition of their union and their humanity caught the attention of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the entire nation.

Please join the Walter P. Reuther Library and AFSCME in observing a moment of silence for for these men.  read more »

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