Northern Pacific Railroad, Minnesota Division, Labor Records

Collection Number: 5600

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

This collection was processed with the help of generous funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Northern Pacific Railroad, Minnesota Division, Labor Records, 1903-1945
Collection Number:
5600
Creator:
Northern Pacific Railroad (NP);
McClelland, A. W. (Trainamster);
Gregory, T. A. (Trainmaster);
Hackenberg, E. J. (Superintendent);
Flynn, T. M. (Superintendent)
Quantity:
1 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Claims, records .
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection consists chiefly of claims cases brought before the Train Service Board of Adjustment for the Western Region; also present are letter press books containing certificates of examination and documentation of employee termination from the Northern Pacific facility in Staples, Minnesota, correspondence from the superintendent, and reports on cabooses.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Northern Pacific Railroad Company [NP] was a transcontinental railroad that operated across the northern part of the continental United States from Minnesota to the Puget Sound. It was organized in 1864 with a charter by the United States Congress signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Construction in both Minnesota and Washington Territory (now Washington State) began in 1870. The lines were joined in western Montana in 1883, where former president Ulysses S. Grant drove in the golden spike. The railroad was fully completed in 1888 when a tunnel under the Cascade Mountains was completed, replacing a series of switchbacks over Stampede Pass that had been used as a temporary measure to transverse the natural barrier.
The NP was headquartered in St. Paul Minnesota, and its trackage and operations were organized into regional divisions. These regions changed over time (see Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association's "NP Division Evolution") as the railroad expanded its operations. The Minnesota Division, later called the St. Paul Division, was predominantly the area stretching from the Great Lakes to the Minnesota - North Dakota border. The main routes were St. Paul to Staples, Minnesota; St. Paul to White Bear Lake; and Staples to Dilworth, Minnesota.
Although this collection is from the Minnesota Division, there are reports from other divisions, such as Fargo, Dakota and Yellowstone, in the correspondence and claims files.
The NP was famous for its passenger service from Chicago to Seattle on the North Coast Limited train. It was also a major transporter of freight across the northern United States. In addition to providing access to newly opened lands, the NP also aided in their settlement by white Europeans, opening colonization offices in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, where they attracted immigrants with cheap but productive farmland, whose goods were then transported on NP trains. These populations settled primarily in Minnesota and the Dakota territories.
The NP also hired large numbers of Chinese laborers, mostly from the southern provinces around Hong Kong, though some may have been previously employed in the building of the Central Pacific Railroad. It is estimated by BNSF, the NP's successor railroad, that 15,000 of the 25,000 required laborers needed in 1882 ( source)were Chinese immigrants. However unlike their German and Scandinavian counterparts, there are minimal records about these employees.
In addition to its key role in the westward expansion of the United States, the NP was also an innovator in technology, pioneering locomotive designs such as the 4-8-4, called the Northern, and the 2-8-8-4, called the Yellowstone.
In 1970, NP merged with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and the Great Northern Railway to form the Burlington Northern Railroad Company. In 1996, the Burlinton Norther merged with the Santa Fe Railway to form the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway [BNSF], one of the largest freight railroads in the United States, and as of 2007 one of seven remaining North American Class I railroads.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Inclusive date range: 1903 - 1945
Bulk dates: 1903 - 1945
This collection consists of records from the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, Minnesota division. The majority of records present in the collection are concerned with employees and labor relations, although there are also records documenting the daily operations of the train yards. Of note in this regard are the Caboose Reports (1941-1945) written by superintendent T. M. Flynn, which document the assignment of cabooses, i.e. if they were in service, out of service, serviceable, or unserviceable. Also of note is the correspondence regarding efficiency tests and operating risks and rules by trainmasters and superintendents.
The labor records include a letter press book (1904-1909) of certificates of examination for positions of conductor and locomotive engineer on the Minnesota Division of the Northern Pacific Railway; a letter press book (1903-1907) documenting and recording dismissals and resignations of Northern Pacific Railway employees at Minneapolis, as well as the reason why employment has been terminated; and a series of monthly reports from 1945 that document employees leaving the company. Also of note is a ruling from the United States Railroad Administration, Railway Board of Adjustment No. 1, regarding yard work on Sundays.
The majority of the labor records consist of claims cases brought before the Train Service Board of Adjustment for the Western Region involving the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers [BLE] and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen [BLF&E] vs. the Northern Pacific Railway (1929-1934) regarding seniority, runaround, wages, additional mileage, overtime, work schedule, reporting pay, deadhead payment, deadhead mileage, pay rates (local and freight), work assignments, pay for time lost, and pay for work performed outside of position description. Other claims cases heard by the Train Service Board of Adjustment for the Western Region involve the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen [BRT] and the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen [ORC] vs. the Northern Pacific Railroad Company (1925-1933) regarding wage rates, mileage, overtime, deadheading, pay for work performed outside of position description; and time claims, with attached letters from E.J. Hackenberg (superintendent) regarding the dispute resolutions, decisions, claims, and contract rules. There is a general synopsis of many of these cases, summarizing decision nos. 2601-4200.
The correspondence folders are arranged chronologically. The case decision folders are organized by decision number.
PROCESSING INFORMATION:

Letter press books and paper records are frailge and brittle, handle with care.
Decisions from the Train Service Board of Adjustment between the NP and members of both the BRT and ORC were removed from the correspondence file and refiled by their assigned Decision Numbers.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (U.S.)
Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen
Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
Northern Pacific Railway Company. Minnesota Division.
Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen
Northern Pacific Railway Company.

Subjects:
Cabooses (Railroads)
Trainmaster (locomotive)
Arbitration, Industrial. Railroads. United States.
Employees, Dismissal of. Railroads. Minnesota. Minneapolis.
Hours of labor. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.
Job descriptions. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.
Labor disputes. Railroads. Minnesota.
Labor productivity. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.
Locomotive engineers. Minnesota. Examinations.
Railroad conductors. Minnesota. Examinations.
Railroads. United States. Personnel management.
Seniority, Employee. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.
Wages. Railroads. United States.
Work assignments. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.
Work rules. Arbitration, Industrial. United States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Claims.
Records.


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:
Northern Pacific Railroad, Minnesota Division, Labor Records #5600. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5553: Northern Pacific Railway Co. Reports and Correspondence of Trainmaster

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1903-1907
November 28, 1903 - October 24, 1907. Staple, Minnesota. Partial index of names. Letter press book. (EXTREMELY FRAGILE).
Box 1 Folder 2 1904-1909
Pages 9 - 354. Letter press book missing front cover and first few leaves. (EXTREMELY FRAGILE)
Box 2 Folder 1 1929
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 2 1930
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 3a 1930
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 3b 1930
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 4a 1930
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 4b 1930
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 5 1934
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 6 1934
BLE and BLF&E vs. NP Railway Company
Box 2 Folder 7 1926-1945
From offices of trainmasters and superintendents
Box 3 Folder 1 1919
NP Railway Co. and Trainmen, Claim of Yardmen at Forsyth for time lost account road crews used to perform yard service on Sundays.
Box 3 Folder 2 1932
Box 3 Folder 3a 1925-1933
BRT vs. NP Railway Co.; ORC vs. NP Railway Co.
Box 3 Folder 3b 1926
BRT vs. NP Railway Co.; ORC vs. NP Railway Co.
Box 3 Folder 3c 1930
BRT vs. NP Railway Co.; ORC vs. NP Railway Co.
Box 3 Folder 3d 1931
BRT vs. NP Railway Co.; ORC vs. NP Railway Co.
Box 3 Folder 3e 1933
BRT vs. NP Railway Co.; ORC vs. NP Railway Co.
Box 3 Folder 4 1917-1934
Box 3 Folder 5 1945
Box 3 Folder 6 1941-1945