Guide to the Switchmen's Union Of North America Records,
[ca.1886-1970]

Collection Number: 5034

Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library

Contact Information:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives
Martin P. Catherwood Library
227 Ives Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
(607) 255-3183
kheel_center@cornell.edu
http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/kheel
Compiled by:
Ann Mann
Date completed:
1972
EAD encoding:
Casey S. Westerman, August 19, 2002

© 2002 Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Switchmen's Union of North America. Records, [ca.1886-1970].
Collection Number:
5034
Creator:
Switchmen's Union of North America
Quantity:
95.9 linear feet.
Forms of Material:
Constitutions, by-laws, convention and Board of Director Minutes, officer's records, financial documents, strike, arbitration, wage and vacation files, photographs, oral history transcripts.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
Included in this collection are constitutions; by-laws, convention and Board of Director Minutes; officer's records; financial documents; strike, arbitration, wage and vacation files and a host of ancillary documents and photographs as well as oral history transcripts in which S.U.N.A. leaders discuss the merger with the U.T.U.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Switchmen's Union of North America is among the older of the railway brotherhoods. Beginning in 1877 with the formation of a local Switchmen's organization in Chicago, the movement became national when the Switchmen's Mutual Aid Association of North America held its first meeting nine years later.
This association was destroyed, as a result of a disastrous lockout by the Chicago Northwestern and the 1888 strike against the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy which had equally unfortunate results. Building on what was left of the S.M.A.A., several lodges met in Kansas City in October of 1854 and formed the Switchmen's Union of North America.
By the time of its merger into the United Transportation Union in 1969, the single Chicago labor organization of 1877 had grown to international status with 275 lodges in the United States and Canada having a combined membership of 12,000.

CHRONOLOGY

1877 Switchmen's Mutual Aid Association of North America organized
1886 Switchmen's Association organized
1889 Switchmen's Association affiliated with the Supreme Council of United Orders of Railway Employees
1894 Switchmen's Association dissolved in July
Switchmen's Union of North America organized on October 13
1906 Switchmen's Union of North America affiliated with the American Federation of Labor
1926 Switchmen's Union of North America becomes charter member of the Railway Labor Executives Association
1935 Switchmen's Union of North America affiliated with the Canadian Labor Congress
1969 Switchmen's Union of North America joined with the B.R.T., B.L.F. and E., and O.R.C.B. to form the United Transportation Union

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Included in this collection are constitutions; by-laws, convention and Board of Director Minutes; officer's records; financial documents; strike, arbitration, wage and vacation files and a host of ancillary documents and photographs as well as oral history transcripts in which S.U.N.A. leaders discuss the merger with the U.T.U. The collection, in addition, contains memorabilia including convention badges, union buttons, broadsides, initiation relics and a host of other fascinating artifacts which bring to life the ritual which was so much a part of early union life.

SUBJECTS

Names:
Switchmen's Union of North America

Subjects:
Railroads--Employees--Labor unions--United States--Sources.


INFORMATION FOR USERS

Access Restrictions:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
Cite As:
Switchmen's Union of North America. Records, [ca.1886-1970]. #5034. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.