SEIU Organizing Department Records

Accession Number: 
LR001888
Extent: 
7 linear feet (7 SB)
Date: 
1970-1994, bulk 1985-1992

The 1980s was a difficult time for American Labor. The American economy was in recession and national politics were not hospitable to organized labor. Yet, SEIU grew by 500,000 members. By 1992, SEIU reached the million-member mark. The membership achievements of SEIU can be largely credited to the efforts of its Organizing Department. The primary responsibility of the SEIU Organizing Department was to organize the unorganized. The SEIU Organizing Department sought to gain new membership for the International through targeting building service, healthcare, clerical and public sector employees. Additionally, the Organizing Department gained new SEIU members through the affiliation of formerly independent organizations and unions.

Records from this collection chronicle the expansion of SEIU through organizing campaigns and affiliations, during a period when American organized labor was contracting. The collection contains affiliation agreements, newspaper clippings, correspondence, memorandum, handwritten notes, flyers, brochures, statistics, surveys, agendas, meeting minutes, organizing plans, subsidy requests and recommendations, budgets, buttons, posters, agreements, a cassette tape, reports, expense reports, training materials, organizational charts, speeches, photographs, questionnaire, and anti-union literature. These records provide insight into the planning and strategies behind SEIU’s organizing campaigns, which led to SEIU growth.

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