Digital Project Announcement: Expanded Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Galleries

We’re pleased to announce the expanded Service Employees International Union (SEIU) image galleries. In recent weeks, over 500 photographs were digitized and are now accessible on the Reuther website. The images are organized into five galleries, two of which are legacy galleries, SEIU: The Organizing Union (a traveling exhibit created for the 2008 SEIU International Convention) and Service Employees International Union: 925 (focusing on images from SEIU District 925, whose records are housed at the Reuther). The remaining digitized photographs are organized by subject into three new image galleries: Conventions, Conferences, and Events; Demonstrating, Campaigning, and Organizing; and Service Employees at Work. Collectively, the images in these five galleries enhance the understanding of the various aspects, responsibilities, and activities of SEIU and provide a visualization of its diverse leader- and membership.

The Conventions, Conferences, and Events gallery contains images related to SEIU’s international and regional conventions, various labor conferences, as well as smaller events held at SEIU locals. Photographs within this gallery range from depicting labor leaders with union members and political leaders, to members participating in committee meetings and speaking at conventions.

In the Demonstrating, Campaigning, and Organizing gallery, union members and leaders alike are seen in action. In these images, people are fighting for the union by boycotting, striking, marching in parades and demonstrations, taking part in campaigns like Justice for Janitors, celebrating after collective bargaining victories, and soliciting new members by handing out leaflets.

Finally, the Service Employees at Work gallery’s images feature SEIU members performing their job duties. As service employees, SEIU members perform a vast and diverse array of jobs including building, healthcare, and public sector.

These images span the 1920s to the early 2000s, and include candid, posed, black and white, color, amateur, and professional photographs. Some feature the familiar, famous faces of prominent labor leaders, many of whose SEIU Executive Office Records are housed at the Reuther, including William McFetridge, George Hardy, and John Sweeney. Other, just as important photographs depict SEIU members, revealing important aspects of what it was like as both service employee and active union member. Regardless of subject matter, each image was selected for digitization because of its unique insight into SEIU. When utilizing the Reuther’s manuscript collections, be sure to review the SEIU image galleries, as there is likely an image that would be germane to your research. For more information or to use images, please contact the SEIU Archivist, Alexandra Orchard.

Alexandra Orchard is the Archivist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).