Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the United Automobile Workers of America, District 65
Language of Materials
The Tamiment Library, New York University, a special collection documenting the history of United States radicalism, labor, and progressive social action, accumulated this artificial collection of printed ephemera gradually over the years through purchases, donations, standing orders with publishers, organizations, and bookstores, and through ongoing collecting by staff.
The labor union now known as District 65, UAW, was organized in 1933, by Arthur Osman and in 1938 became Local 65 of the United Retail and Wholesale Employees of America, CIO. In 1948, Local 65's leadership refused to sign the Taft-Hartley Act's non-communist affidavits, and Local 65, seceded from its parent union and the CIO but rejoined in 1954 as District 65 of the RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union). In 1969, differences, including the union's opposition to the Vietnam War, led to District 65's disaffiliation from the RWDSU and the formation of the National Council of Distributive Workers of America. In 1979, District 65 joined the United Automobile Workers. Though at first primarily composed of Jewish workers, the union expanded to include persons of various geographical and ethnic backgrounds from the retail and manufacturing sectors, clerical personnel, salesclerks, writers, editors, technicians, and lawyers. The collection contains minutes, shop files, arbitrations, grievances, counsel files, membership information and reports, financial material, and the records of some of the unions that were affiliated with District 65 throughout its history.
In February, 1950, an international that was to be one of the shortest- lived unions in American labor history came into being. This was the Distributive Workers Union (DWU), formed by a merger of local 65 and other former Retail and Wholesale affiliates: Local 2 (Gimbels-Saks 34th Street); Local 3 (Bloomingdales); Local 5 (Sterns); Local 1199 (Drug Clerks); and Local 144 (Displaymen). Local 1250, formerly affiliated with the Retail Clerks International and representing the Norton's department stores employees and Local 121, formerly part of the Gas, Coke and Chemical workers also merged. Local 65 had 122 of the 290 delegates to which the various merging locals were entitled. Arthur Osman headed the international; David Livingston became president of Local 65. In April, 1950, Local 65 leaders signed the non-communist affidavits in order, they said, to minimize the danger that other unions would use the NLRB facilities against the DWU's proposed organizing campaign.
Files are arranged alphabetically. Collection is divided into five series.
- I. General Files, 1950-1984
- II. Distributive, Processing and Office Workers of America, 1950-1979
- III. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, 1951-1978
- IV. United Auto Workers, 1979-1990
- V. Wholesale, Retail, Office and Processing Union, 1952-1974
Scope and Content Note
The collection consists of agreements, constitutions, newspapers clippings and publications relating to District 65 in various unions. Locals representing department store employees and university staff are found throughout the collection. Strikes by department stores workers are documented in the files as are general activities of the unions. The collection is arranged into five series. Files are arranged alphabetically within.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this collection have been compiled by the Tamiment Library. The accession numbers NPA.2001.068 and NPA.2001.043 are associated with this colleciton.
The provenance of the materials is varied. Items were obtained through purchases, donations, standing orders with publishers, arrangements with labor unions and other organizations, exchanges with other libraries, and through ongoing collecting by Tamiment staff.