Elmira Central Trade and Labor Assembly Minute Books and Correspondence on Microfilm

Collection Number: 5661 mf

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Elmira Central Trade and Labor Assembly Minute Books and Correspondence on Microfilm, 1899-1976
Collection Number:
5661 mf
Creator:
Elmira Central Trade and Labor Assembly
Quantity:
2 microfilm reels
Forms of Material:
Minute books, correspondence, microfilm.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection consists of correspondence, 1919-1976 and minute books, 1899- 1906.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Elmira Central Trades and Labor Assembly was organized in 1894 by 13 unions and was chartered by the American Federation of Labor in 1901. The member unions were: Plumbers; steam and gas fitters; bricklayers and masons; sheetmetal workers, metal polishers and buffers; cigar makers; machinists, carpenters, printers, molders, breweryworkers, barbers, tailors and bartenders.
Early records of the Chemung County Historical Society show the first elected officers of Local 23, Bricklayers, Plasterers and Masons, in 1885 were: Daniel J. Lucy, president; John Crowley, vice president; Norman Friend, recording secretary; Michael Murray, financial secretary; Dennis Connelly, corresponding secretary, and John Connelly, treasurer.
John E. Murphy was an early president of the Assembly, for many years located at 202 East Water St. in what was known as Labor Hall. It moved to 322 Carroll St. in 1912. After the 1972 flood the Assembly occupied 559 East Church St.
In 1957 the Chemung County AFL-CIO Assembly was formed by the AFL unions plus the United Auto Workers and the International Union of Electrical Workers of the CIO and District 58, International Association of Machinists.
One of the old-time unions disappeared when the hand-made cigar business folded. The 1901 charter of the Cigarmakers was turned in to Walter L. Wainwright, Assembly president, for safe keeping.
The building trades led the fight for a five-day work week and an eight-hour day. Earlier it had been six days with nine to 10 hours a day. From before World War I to 1930, it was eight hours Monday through Friday with four hours on Saturday. In the 1930s the Saturday hours were eliminated.
The unions led the negotiations for higher wage scales. In 1903 the Painters Union asked for $2.50 for an eight-hour day with 45 cents an hour for overtime while the Carpenters local asked $3 a day. The Plumbers Union achieved a $3 a day for eight hours in 1904.
The Assembly often had trouble holding its tradesmen in line. A ruling in 1903 allowing members to work on a job with non-union help led to Sheetmetal Workers withdrawing from the Assembly. Bricklayers and Masons, who were on strike, also withdrew. They were seeking a 45 cent hourly wage and an eight-hour day.
H. Paul Shay was Labor Assembly president from 1939-1944. He was business agent of Local 289, Theatrical Employees Union, in the 1930s. Shay was a prominent Democrat and a candidate for mayor in 1942. He long was chairman of Draft Board 64 during and after World War II.
Fritz J. Clark of the Communication Workers of America is current president. His predecessor was Clarence G. Doty, who served as president in 1961-69, succeeding Wainwright.
Union labor made its greatest advances after World War II especially higher wages, fringe benefits and in some cases improved health standards on the job. Unions often went on strike to achieve these goals.
The craft unions formed the Elmira Building Trades Council to police their membership and protect employers from unfair tactics. A business agent, elected by the membership, served as a liason between employers and the workers.
The craft unions also had their own business agents. Well-known during this period were George Gerard, Charles Spencer and Fred Kohlberger, Earl F. Harris of the Sheetmetal Workers and Ralph Halloran of the Electrical Workers achieved responsible positions with national headquarters in Washington.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

This collection consists of correspondence, 1919-1976 and minute books, 1899-1906.
A negative copy is available upon request.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Elmira Central Trades and Labor Assembly

Subjects:
Labor unions -- New York (State) -- Elmira

Form and Genre Terms:
Minute books.
Correspondence.
Microfilm.


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:
Elmira Central Trade and Labor Assembly Minute Books and Correspondence on Microfilm #5661 mf. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Reel 1