BRAC, Philadelphia Division, Union Local President Robert Curran Papers

Collection Number: 6187

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:
BRAC, Philadelphia Division, Union Local President Robert Curran Papers, 1956-1968
Collection Number:
6187
Creator:
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks. Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employees (BRAC);
Curran, Robert
Quantity:
0.5 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Records (documents).
Repository:
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Abstract:
This collection consists of the papers of Robert E. Curran, chairman and president of Local 390, BRAC for the employees of the Reading Company, Philadelphia Division.
Language:
Collection material in English


ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY

The Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express, and Station Employees [BRAC] was founded in 1899 by 33 railroad clerks meeting in Sedalia, Missouri. They initially called the organizations "Order of Railroad Clerks of America," but renamed itself the "Brotherhood of Railway Clerks" to be in line with the nomenclature of the other railway labor organizations. Under that name, BRAC took part in the Illinois Central Shopmen's Strike of 1911. In 1919, the union once again changed its name and became the "Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employes" to better represent its growing membership.
The name was expanded again in 1967 when Convention delegates added the word "Airline," making the new organizational name "Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employes." The union was still referred to familiarly as BRAC.
Finally, in 1987, after absorbing members from a half dozen other unions that merged with BRAC, the organization adopted its current name, the Transportation Communications International Union [TCU]. TCU merged with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in mid-2005, and as of 2017 TCU/IAM represents approximately 46,000 members who primarily work in the railroad industry.
BRAC was the largest single railroad organization for employees who devoted a majority of their time to clerical work of any description. This included: chief clerks; foremen; train announcers; gatemen; checkers; parcel, baggage, and storeroom employees; dock and pier workers; train and engine crew callers; timekeepers; paymasters; freight inspectors; rate and tariff compilers; weigh masters; ticket clerks and sellers; operators of all office and station equipment devices; telephone and switchboard operators; and all employees occupying or performing duties similar to those mentioned. After three months of experience in clerical work, employees of both genders became eligible for membership. The union secured increases in wages and better working conditions for its members.
Source: About TCU
Source: TCU History

COLLECTION DESCRIPTION

Inclusive date range: 1966-1968
Bulk dates: 1966-1968
This collection consists of the files of local chairman and president of Local 390, BRAC, for employees of the Reading Company, Philadelphia Division.
The records in this collection consist primarily of personnel files: both disciplinary files where employees were found to be in violation of the collective bargaining agreements, and processed claims where employee grievances were redressed by the company. Also found in this collection are vacation agreements between BRAC and Reading, and employee requests for time off. Finally, this collection contains seniority rosters for various classes of employees, containing the names of people employed in various positions represented by BRAC.
Of particular interest in this collection are the files relating to the implementation of automated processes into the workplace. The Reading Company purchased and installed IBM 1050 TRACE (Teleprompting Random Access Communication Exchange) machines. This resulted in changes to the workplace, both in that employees needed to be trained on how to use the new machines in their daily work and in changes to job titles and responsibilities, all of which had to be negotiated between the Reading Company and BRAC representatives. Additionally, discipline proceedings were initiated against employees who made mistakes when transmitting data via the TRACE punch cards on the IBM computers.
SUBJECTS

Names:
Curran, Robert E.
Brotherhood of Railway, Airline, and Steamship Clerks, Freight Handlers, Express and Station Employes
Reading Company

Subjects:
Automation
Automatic machinery
Railroads -- Employees -- Labor unions -- United States
Arbitration, Industrial -- United States
Collective bargaining -- Railroads -- United States.
Labor discipline
Employee fringe benefits
Vacations, Employee -- United States
Health insurance

Form and Genre Terms:
Records (documents)


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:
BRAC, Philadelphia Division, Union Local President Robert Curran Papers #6187. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.

RELATED MATERIALS

Related Collections:
5012: Saul Wallen Papers
5086: U.S. National Mediation Board Transcripts Regarding New York Central Railroad Company and BRAC
5488: BRAC Records
5488: BRAC Records
5488 MB: BRAC Memorabilia
5735: BRAC Additional Records

CONTAINER LIST

Container
Description
Date
Box 1 Folder 1 1966-1968
Arranged alphabetically by last name of employees. RESTRICTED.
Box 1 Folder 2 1968
File(s) C-D. Correspondence from the BRAC Independent Presidents' Club, Railway Clerk Political League, BRAC Grand Lodge, BRAC Pennsylvania State Legislative Committee
Box 1 Folder 3 1967
File(s) E-F. Circa 1967.
Box 1 Folder 4 1966
File(s) G-H. Contains TRACE (Teleprompting Random Access Communication Exchange) cards and correspondence in re the creation of new positions for clerks who work with the computer punch cards.
Box 1 Folder 5 1967-1968
File(s) I-J. Claims arranged alphabetically by last name of employee. Two cases of multiple claims being resolved together are at the front of the file.
Box 1 Folder 6 1968
File(s) M-N. Contains financial information for all the BRAC Locals on the Philadelphia Division of the Reading System for the third quarter of 1968.
Box 1 Folder 7 1956-1966
File(s) O-P. Booklets from BRAC and the Railroad Retirement Board
Box 1 Folder 8 1968
File(s) Q-R. Seniority rosters and negotiated lists.
Box 1 Folder 9 1967-1968
File(s) S-U. Car Cleaning Schedules; BRAC System Board Correspondence, By-Laws, and the Minutes of 32nd Annual Meeting.
Box 1 Folder 10 1966-1968
File(s) V-Z. Vacations requests, assignments, and agreements between BRAC and the Reading Company; mailer from BRAC about the Wage and Rules Movement