Operation Dixie: The CIO Organizing Committee Papers on Microfilm

Collection Number: 5747 mf

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


DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY

Title:
Operation Dixie: The CIO Organizing Committee Papers on Microfilm, 1946-1953
Collection Number:
5747 mf
Creator:
Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO);
CIO Organizing Committee
Quantity:
75 microfilm reels
Forms of Material:
Posters, microfilm.
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
The papers include correspondence, addresses, minutes, memoranda, printed materials and miscellaneous documents.

The "Operation Dixie" collection includes the records from four states-- North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Records from the other states involved in the campaign are no longer in existence.

In addition to procedural matters delineating the business, personnel and financial policies of the Organizing Committee, the CIO's objectives, priorities and approaches to organizing and negotiating are apparent in correspondence, printed matter and publicity materials. National, state and local political issues, jurisdictional questions, including relations between the AFL and the CIO, improved labor and living conditions and relations with other departments of the CIO, as well as with a variety of social reform and friends of labor groups are documented. Legal materials include NLRB documents concerning unfair labor practices, elections, etc. Organizers reports and membership records are among the other types of materials found in the records.
Language:
Collection material in English


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Lucy Mason, a social reformer, was concerned with such matters as civil rights, labor legislation, working hours for women, minimum wages, social security and rights of workers.
She served as southern public relations representative for the CIO for 16 years. She was involved in the campaigns of the Operation Dixie organizing drive. Mason was also General Secretary of the YWCA for a period of time and active in several other social and civic organizations.

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

Operation Dixie was the name given to the CIO's program to bring unionism to the South. Under the direction of Van A. Bittner, the vice-president of the United Steelworkers of America, the CIO's Southern Organizing Committee was established in May 1946. Supported by contributions from some forty affiliated unions, the Committee established programs in twelve states throughout the South. Operation Dixie attempted to organize workers in diverse industries, concentrating on the textile, wood products, chemical, oil and iron and steel industries and on the largest and most resistant employers in a given area.
While its primary purpose was "organizing the unorganized," the Southern Organizing Committee also cooperated with the CIO's Political Action Committees and State CIOs or Industrial Union Councils which sought to attain the parent organizations goals through state and national legislation and electoral reform.
Although by February 1947 324 new locals had been established, the Committee's work was plagued with a variety of problems. Among these were charges of communist sympathies; opposition by the Ku Klux Klan and others to the CIO policy of establishing racially integrated locals; lack of financial support; and employer opposition which included violence, intimidation and collusion with public authorities. In 1953, the Southern drive was reorganized and most of the work of developing and servicing locals was turned over to the affiliated unions at that time.
Consists in large part of the records of the CIO Organizing Committee campaigns to organize workers in four southern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Records from the other states involved in the campaign are no longer in existence.
In addition to procedural matters delineating the business, personnel and financial policies of the Organizing Committee, the CIO's objectives, priorities and approaches to organizing and negotiating are apparent in correspondence, printed matter and publicity materials. National, state and local political issues, jurisdictional questions, including relations between the AFL and the CIO, improved labor and living conditions and relations with other departments of the CIO, as well as with a variety of social reform and friends of labor groups are documented. Legal materials include NLRB documents concerning unfair labor practices, elections, etc. Organizers reports and membership records are among the other types of materials found in the records.

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

The "Operation Dixie" papers consist in large part of the records of the C.I.O. Organizing Committee campaigns in four southern states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The papers are divided into eight series as follows:
Series I: C.I.O. Organizing Committee. North Carolina, 1932-1958.
Series II: C.I.O. Organizing Committee. South Carolina, 1941-1953.
Series III: C.I.O. Organizing Committee. Tennessee, 1938-1953.
Series IV: C.I.O. Organizing Committee. Virginia, 1937-1953.
Series V: C.I.O. Organizing Committee. Lucy Randolph Mason, 1912-1954.
Series VI: C.I.O. Political Action Committee. North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, 1943-1954.
Series VII: C.I.O. Publicity Department. North Carolina, 1946-1953.
Series VIII: C.I.O. Industrial Union Councils. North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, 1938-1954.
Papers of the Organizing Committees, Publicity Department, Political Action Committees and Industrial Union Councils are arranged alphabetically by subject folder title. The reel list provides the title of each folder with inclusive dates for the contents. Many of the subject categories were established by the C.I.O. regional offices; others were added by the staff of the Manuscript Department of the William R. Perkins Library at Duke University in the process of integrating loose material. These records are frequently arranged under name of correspondent, organization or affiliate union. There are, however, some materials in each series that are collected under such general headings as "Correspondence", "Printed Material" and "Miscellaneous". Incoming and outgoing correspondence and related printed, typed and mimeographed items are interfiled in each folder in chronological order. The term printed material is loosely used in describing folder contents, and covers such varied items as collective bargaining agreements, petitions, membership records, flyers, research reports and newsletters produced and duplicated in a number of ways.
Oversize materials are arranged separately at the end of each series. Most of the subject headings appearing in the oversize section duplicate those used in the alphabetical reel list. Included among these materials are posters, flyers, newsletters, and a few items of correspondence that accompanied printed items or unfilmed clippings.
The Lucy Randolph Mason papers are arranged in seven categories, each of which is organized chronologically. These categories are correspondence, addresses, minutes, memoranda, miscellany, printed materials and volumes.
The numbers in parentheses following names and folder titles in the series descriptions refer to the frame numbers of the microfilm edition and to the location of the material in the reel list.
A complete description of the collection is available in a printed guide edited by Katherien F. Martin.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Martin, Katherine F.
Mason, Lucy Randolph, 1882-1959.
C.I.O. Organizing Committee
North Carolina State Industrial Union Council
North Carolina State Industrial Union Council. Political Action Committee.
North Carolina State Industrial Union Council. Publicity Dept.
Tennessee State Industrial Union Council
Virginia State Industrial Union Council
Virginia State Industrial Union Council. Political Action Committee.

Subjects:
Labor unions--Southern States--Political activity.
Trade-unions. Iron and steel workers. Southern States.
Trade-unions. North Carolina. Organizing.
Trade-unions. Oil industry workers. Southern States.
Trade-unions. South Carolina. Organizing.
Trade-unions. Southern States. Organizing.
Trade- unions. Tennessee. Organizing.
Trade-unions. Textile workers. Southern States.
Trade-unions. Virginia. Organizing.
Trade-unions. Wood-pulp industry. Southern States.

Form and Genre Terms:
Posters
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:
Operation Dixie: The CIO Organizing Committee Papers on Microfilm #5747 mf. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5242: National Child Labor Committee Publications
5619/008: ACWA Rieve-Pollock Foundation Files

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
The container list for this collecion can be found in the ProQuest Research Collection finding aid and is available HERE.