Introduction to the IEU collection
The archives of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers, AFL-CIO (IUE) constitutes one of the most significant and comprehensive labor history collections existing anywhere in the United States. Containing over 1,500 cubic feet of textual records and non-textual material (audio tapes, films, photographs, and labor ephemera), the IUE archives serves as the cornerstone for the Rutgers University Libraries' labor history collections and has enhanced the university's status as a nationally recognized center for the study of labor and social history and labor-management relations issues. Initiated in 1992 with funding provided by the IUE and the National Historical and Publications Commission, the IUE Labor Archives Project entails the arrangement, description, preservation of the union's voluminous records, and the dissemination of information to facilitate scholarly accessibility to the collection. The project represents the culmination of Rutgers' historic relationship with the IUE, originating in summer labor education institutes held in the 1950s and formalized in 1965 when the union designated the University Library as the official repository for its historical records.
Chartered as a Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) affiliated international union in 1949 after a split with its predecessor organization, the suspected communist-dominated United Electrical Workers (UE), the IUE evolved into one of the most influential trade unions in the world in terms of membership (400,000 plus) and in its legacy to the modern labor movement and society. Dating from 1949 through the early 2000s, the archives document the full range and scope of IUE institutional activities and contain historical records highlighting intensive organizing campaigns, strikes, negotiations and collective bargaining, contracts and wage agreements, district, local, and national elections, litigation, legislative, political, and social action programs, international labor affairs, and research and educational activities. The papers of four IUE presidents, James B. Carey (1949 - 1965), Paul Jennings (1965 - 1976), David J. Fitzmaurice (1976 - 1982) and William H. Bywater (1982 - 1996), and records generated by the union's other officers, including those of Secretary-Treasurer Ed Fire, who would become the IUE president in 1996 and who oversaw the merger with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) are also included and compose the bulk of the archives. Records from IUE Districts One and Districts Three are also part of the collection.
Among the unique aspects of the IUE Labor Archives are the diversity of records contained within the collection and the interdisciplinary nature of the subject areas represented. The IUE Labor Archives expands upon the historical record of the union's parochial organizing and bread-and- butter interests to document a broad range of complex, social, political, and economic issues intrinsic to the evolution and emergence of modern North American society from World War II to the present. The union's contributions to domestic politics, promotion of progressive public policy and social welfare issues, and the evolution of the modern corporate and national security state are amply documented. Because of the remarkable range and scope of the IUE's institutional activities and the union's historic role in the vanguard of progressive social causes, the archives have drawn visiting scholars from such diverse fields as history, sociology, women's studies, industrial relations, economics, political science, economics, science, and technology.
Photo above: President John F. Kennedy greets IUE President James B. Carey on November 15th, 1963, at the 5th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention at the Americana Hotel in New York City. Kennedy was assassinated seven days later.
International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. President's Office. Records: James B. Carey (ca. 1938-1965)
Formed in 1949 to supplant an existing union deemed too radical, the International Union of Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, as reflected in the records of its first president James B. Carey, advanced the cause of workers in the electrical industry and advocated fair employment practices.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. Secretary-Treasurer's Office Records: Albin Hartnett (ca. 1949-1963, bulk 1950-1958)
Historical records documenting the administrative evolution of the Secretary-Treasurer's office and the legacy of the union's first Secretary-Treasurer, Albin Hartnett (1949-1962)
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. Research and Education Department (ca. 1938-1961, bulk 1950-1957)
Material documenting the history and scope of activities undertaken by the Research Director and department staff members from 1950 to 1961. Provides information on the evolution, operation, and administration of the IUE Research Department.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. Publicity Department (ca. 1948-1960)
The Publicity Department Records trace the department's historic role in disseminating essential information to the IUE membership and shaping public opinion on labor issues.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. Conference Boards and Negotiations (ca. 1939-1963, bulk 1950-1960)
This record group documents the history and the organizational evolution of the major IUE Conference Boards and their impact upon labor-management relations within the large chain corporations - GE, Westinghouse, and General Motors - during the 1950s.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers. Legislative Department (ca. 1951-1962)
The Legislative Department records document the scope and activities undertaken by successive directors, staff, and representatives of the department from 1950-1962. The contents provide historical and evidential information pertaining to the evolution and operation of the department and its role in framing the union's legislative agenda to advance the social and economic interests of its members.
International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers-Communication Workers of America. Local 401 (Edison, N.J.). Records
Chartered in 1952, IUE-CWA Local 401 represented employees at an appliance factory (ultimately known as Frigidaire Home Comfort Products) in Edison, New Jersey, until it closed in 2003. Oral History Transcript - Former District Three President Sal Ingrassia (1984 - 2003), interviewed on December 14, 2005 Text of the interview with Sal Ingrassia, who joined the IUE in 1953 while working at Sperry Gyroscope Company in Long Island. Prior to becoming District President, Sal served as Director of Organizing, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the District.
IUE District Council Three (NY/NJ) written history and oral history transcript
"A Union's Work Is Never Done:" A History of IUE District Council Three
By John Terry, Public History Intern, for Special Collections and University Archives and the IUE Labor Archives Project, Spring 2007. John Terry focuses on the history of District Council Three from the time of its merger with District Four in 1963 until its absorbtion into CWA District One in 2003 after the merger of the IUE and the Communications Workers of America.
Oral History Transcript - Former District Three President Sal Ingrassia (1984 - 2003), interviewed on December 14, 2005
Text of the interview with Sal Ingrassia, who joined the IUE in 1953 while working at Sperry Gyroscope Company in Long Island. Prior to becoming District President, Sal served as Director of Organizing, Vice President, and Secretary-Treasurer of the District.
James B. Carey
- Carey Labor Library at The School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
- James B. Carey: A Digital Collection. Photographs, documents and ephemera commemorating the life and career of of James B. Carey, "Labor's Boy Wonder"
For further information contact:
Albert C. King, Curator of Manuscripts
Special Collections and University Archives
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1163