SEIU Secretary-Treasurer's Office: Richard Cordtz Records
Richard Cordtz’s affiliation with SEIU spanned nearly 50 years, beginning in the late 1940s as a member of Local 102 while he worked at the Del Mar Racetrack, and ending in 1996 as President of the International. During his journey from member to president, Cordtz held a variety of positions within SEIU including union organizer, Local 79 President, Joint Council 35 President, Central States Conference President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the International. Cordtz was also active in the AFL-CIO serving as Vice-President of Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Michigan AFL-CIO. Cordtz was elected to Secretary-Treasurer in 1980 and remained in this position until President John J. Sweeney resigned to assume presidency of the AFL-CIO in October 1995. Cordtz was immediately elected president to finish Sweeney’s term (through April 1996). Cordtz initially planned to run for reelection, but ceased his bid when it became clear that opponent Andy Stern held more support.
The majority of the records in this collection are from Cordtz’s time as International Secretary-Treasurer. The collection is divided into four series. Series I: Meetings, Speeches, and Conferences, contains meeting minutes and agenda, speeches, conference ephemera, and correspondence related to Cordtz’ positions as International Secretary-Treasurer and President of Local 79. Series II: Revoked Locals, contains charters, correspondence, and bonding documents from revoked, amalgamated, and disbanded locals over the course of 1940-1992. Series III: Topical Files, contains subject files mostly created during Cordtz’s tenure, relating to both his SEIU positions and his external interests. Series IV Historical Files, contains historical materials that Cordtz appears to have inherited from his predecessors. These historical SEIU records include booklets and pamphlets, but most significantly, include correspondence from the 1920s to SEIU’s first president, William Quesse, as well as correspondence related to George Hardy’s 1974 White House testimony at the Conference on Inflation, such as signed letters from President Gerald Ford.
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