SEIU Local 1 Records

Accession Number: 
LR001735
Extent: 
14 l.f. (9 SB, 5 OS)
Date: 
1913-2001, bulk 1950-1989

As its name implies, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1 of Chicago, Illinois is SEIU’s first local. Local 1 signed its initial agreement with the Chicago Real Estate Board in 1916, seven years before William Quesse officially founded SEIU in 1921 as a union of flat janitors. For much of its history, Local 1 focused its efforts on organizing and representing building employees, particularly janitors.

The SEIU Local 1 Records document the history of Local 1 as well as three locals that were directly amalgamated into Local 1 beginning in 1989 through 1998: Local 11, Local 106, and Local 25. Also included are materials from locals that merged into those locals prior to their mergers into Local 1, the most prominent of which is Local 4 (which merged into Local 106 in 1987). Although the records span from 1913-1999, the first 30 or so years of Local 1’s history is scant. The majority of the material within the collection documents 1950-1989, covering the operations of these locals, particularly their contracts with various companies, correspondence, discussions during internal meetings, and photographs documenting a variety of events.

Specific records documenting the history of each local include governance materials such as correspondence, meeting minutes, constitutions and by-laws; agreements; subject files including leases, arbitrations, building surveys, mergers, and audits; communications and publications including form and quarterly letters sent to union members, flyers, and serials; historical documents such as clippings and local histories; and audiovisual materials, primarily encompassing photographs, negatives, and contact sheets, as well as several scrapbooks and an original charter.

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