United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen Records
Collection Number: 5269
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University LibraryThis collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen Records, 1933-1958
United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen
2 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Minutes (administrative records).
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
The collection chiefly consists of the minutes of the Executive Committee of the United National Association of Post Office Clerks (later the United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen) from 1941-1958. Also included are minutes of the National Legislative Council of Federal Employee Organizations, of which the United National Association of Post Office Clerks was a member.
Collection material in English
The National Association of Post Office Craftsmen was founded in 1882 when J. Holt Greene, a clerk in the Louisville, Kentucky, post office began corresponding with other post offices throughout the country in an effort to promote a national convention of postal clerks to be held in Washington.
Between 1882 and 1890, several local organizations of postal clerks were established and two conventions were called to establish contacts between the independent associations. In 1890, the New York organization issued a call to all first-class post offices to send delegates to a national convention. Delegates assembled in Washington and formed the National Association of Post Office Clerks [NAPOC]. Eight-hour day, fifteen-day vacation, and salary classification bills were drawn and submitted to Congress. The vacation bill was passed that same year, but the hours and classification bills could not get out of committee.
At the second convention of the NAPOC in 1891, a legislative committee was created to lobby on the organization's behalf. The legislative committee of NAPOC lobbied vigorously and persistently during 1892 and 1903, but with little success. Their efforts led to the Postmaster General to issue an order forbidding any "Postmaster, Post-office Clerk, Letter Carrier, Railway Postal Clerk, or other postal employee" from travelling to Washington to lobby Congress.
During the convention of 1897, a factional dispute arose in the NAPOC that arose in part because of the NAPOC's failure to secure legislation and disagreement on how best to circumvent the Postmaster General's order. The granting of membership to supervisory employees was also an issue. Locals from Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco withdrew from the National Association and together with a large group from New York formed the United Association of Post Office Clerks. In 1899 the two groups merged back into one organization, now called the United National Association of Post Office Clerks [UNAPOC].
In 1900, a group of Chicago postal workers organized and affiliated themselves with the AFL; because of this affiliation, the Chicago local was denied entrance to UNAPOC. UNAPOC refused to affiliate with the larger labor movement both because of their status as federal employees and because they preferred to work "in such a way as to conciliate and never embarrass the [Postal] Department." However, this became problematic when President Theodore Roosevelt issued an executive order forbidding federal employees to lobby for pay raises or benefits except through their departmental supervisors. This became known as the "gag order" and essentially stopped UNAPOC's lobbying efforts entirely. The "gag order" was strengthened by Roosevelt in 1906 and was later reinforced by President Taft.
The 1905 convention was marked by factional strife and the delegates of thirty-five locals withdrew from the convention. It was felt that since UNAPOC was silenced in Congress, the clerks should find another way to represent their interests. In August 1906, locals in San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Louisville, joined the independent Chicago group and formed the National Federation of Post Office Clerks [NFPOC]. They were granted a charter by the AFL. The "gag order" was repealed in 1912 under the Lloyd-LaFollette Act, leaving UNAPOC and NFPOC in competition and hostile towards each other.
In 1917, the Brotherhood of Railway Postal Clerks merged with the National Federation in the AFL and from this time on, the Federation claimed to be the leading clerks organization with UNAPOC dwindling slowly over the years. The National Association of Letter Carriers and the Railway Mail Association also affiliated with the AFL in 1917.
During the 1920s, the AFL postal groups actively opposed the Postal Department while advocating for their members; UNAPOC assumed a conciliatory attitude. The Harding Administration had placed itself on record as opposing AFL affiliation for government employees and UNAPOC adopted policies calculated to win Departmental favor. For many years UNAPOC considered itself a "professional organization" and not a "trade union."
In 1931, UNAPOC and the NFPOC again met in merger discussions initiated by UNAPOC. The Association had for many years advocated one big union of all postal employee as a matter of principle, but these discussions fell apart because of the Association's insistence that a merged organization would have to abandon the AFL. However, the 1930s and 1940s were marked by a decline in membership even as UNAPOC continued to lobby on behalf of its members and to provide them with benefits. It also lost lost its enmity toward the labor movement and took its place as a genuine independent union.
In 1948, UNAPOC again called for a single union for all postal employees and opened its membership to other postal employees. In 1956, the name of the organization was changed to the United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen to more accurately describe its scope and ambition.
In 1961, UNAPOC and the NFPOC merged to close the split of over fifty years in the ranks of the post office clerks. They were joined by the United Postal Workers and the National Postal Transport Association and together they formed the United Federation of Post Office Clerks, AFL-CIO.
Inclusive date range: 1933-1958
Bulk dates: 1941-1958
The collection is mostly comprised of the minutes of the Executive Committee of the United National Association of Post Office Clerks, held annually during their conventions. All years except for 1942 and 1957 are in this collection.
The minutes contain discussions on pay restoration; retirement; hours of work; the promotional system; the merit system and actions to eradicate it; the O'Mahoney-La Follette Bill, providing for retirement with right of appeal by employees; the civil service system; group insurance and hospitalization plans; if and how to merge or amalgamate with the AFL affiliated union of postal clerks; bonding and retirement legislation; and changing the name of the organization to United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen. Additionally, remarks that were expunged from the minutes of the 1941 convention are found in this collection.
Also found in this collection is a bound volume containing the By-Laws of the National Legislative Council of Federal Employee Organizations; correspondence of John J. Barrett, president, United National Association of Post Office Clerks, with officers of the National Association of Postal Supervisors, National Association of Letter Carriers of the United States of America, Railway Mail Association, and National Association of Post Office Laborers, regarding the creation of a national advisory council; press releases from the National Legislative Council of Federal Employee Organizations; and an outline of purposes and goals of the Legislative Committee by W.G. Armstrong, secretary, National Legislative Council of Federal Employee Organizations.
Barrett, John J. 1945.
National Association of Letter Carriers of the United States of America
National Association of Postal Supervisors
National Association of Post Office Laborers
National Legislative Council of Federal Employee Organizations
National Rural Letter Carriers' Association
Railway Mail Association
United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen
United States Postal Service.
Civil service--United States--Political activity.
Civil service reform--United States.
Civil service retirement--United States.
Hours of labor.
Postal service -- Employees -- Labor unions -- United States.
Wages -- Civil service -- United States
Postal service -- Employees -- Salaries, etc.
Civil service retirement -- United States.
Form and Genre Terms:
Minutes (administrative records)
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United National Association of Post Office Craftsmen Records #5269. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.
|Box 1||Folder 1||1942|
|Box 1||Folder 2||1943|
|Box 1||Folder 3||1943|
|Box 1||Folder 4||1944|
|Box 1||Folder 5||1944|
|Box 1||Folder 6||1945|
|Box 1||Folder 7||1946|
|Box 1||Folder 8||1947|
|Box 1||Folder 9||1948|
|Box 1||Folder 10||1948|
|Box 1||Folder 11||1948|
|Box 1||Folder 12||1949|
|Box 1||Folder 13||1950|
|Box 2||Folder 1||1951|
|Box 2||Folder 2||1952|
|Box 2||Folder 3||1953|
|Box 2||Folder 4||1954|
|Box 2||Folder 5||1955|
|Box 2||Folder 6||1956|
|Box 2||Folder 7||1958|
|Box 2||Folder 8||1958|
|Box 2||Folder 9||1933-1943|
Contains By-Laws and amended drafts of By-Laws, 1933; correspondence with other labor organizations and elected officials, 1933-1943; press releases, 1933-1943; minutes of council meetings, 1934-1943.
|Box 2||Folder 10||1941|