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New York State AFL-CIO Records

Call Number



circa 1938-1997, 2007-ongoing, inclusive


New York State AFL-CIO
New York State AFL-CIO (Role: Donor)


173 Linear Feet in 173 record cartons.
4 websites in 4 archived websites.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


The New York State AFL-CIO was founded in December 1958 by the merger of the separate state bodies of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Materials mostly relate to the role of the New York State AFL-CIO in state politics and legislative initiatives. Among the issues well-documented in the collection are workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, education, and healthcare.

Historical/Biographical Note

The New York State AFL-CIO is a statewide federation of trade unions that has its origins in the Workingmen's Assembly, founded in the mid-1860s, and the New York State Branch of the American federation of Labor, founded in 1888. The two organizations merged in 1898 to form the New York State Workingmen's Federation (whose name was changed in 1910 to the New York State Federation of Labor). Its primary aim was to lobby the state legislature in favor of legislation of concern to the labor movement. Issues of concern to the Federation included the abolition of child labor, equal pay for equal work, enactment of workmen's compensation law, shorter work hours and the protection of strikers and immigrant laborers. The federation grew steadily through the 1930s, under the leadership of its president (from 1934) George Meany, who had been a business agent for Plumbers Local 463 in New York City and brought the building trades unions into the state federation. Meany went on to become national president of the American Federation of Labor in 1940, and was later instrumental in negotiating the 1955 merger of the AFL with its rival federation the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). In 1958 the New York organization followed suit and adopted the name New York State AFL-CIO. The newly merged federation quickly went on to press for and win the state's first minimum wage law, and improved insurance coverage for disabled and unemployed workers. The state federation also fought for Medicaid legislation in the 1960s and won enactment of the Taylor Law, which gave public employees in New York the right to organize and bargain collectively.


This collection has not been arranged by an archivist.

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes large donations of material from the files of the Federation's Legislative Department; these materials include background material, reports, correspondence and copies of proposed legislation on a wide range of topics of concern to the labor movement: housing, health care, safety issues in the workplace, immigrant rights, individual political campaigns and issues relating to collective bargaining rights. Significant portions of the collection include speeches, position papers, correspondence, clippings, publications, and reference materials used by Ludwig Jaffee during his tenure as research director (1952-1984), as well as press releases, programs, selected bills, correspondence, and other materials specifically relating to the New York State AFL-CIO's legislative program in the 1970s and 1980s. Also included are materials gathered by many officers and staff of the federation, including for the later period, files of President Edward J. Cleary and Secretary-Treasurer Paul F. Cole, both elected in 1984, as well as photographs.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by the New York State AFL-CIO was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; New York State AFL-CIO Records; WAG 031; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

To cite the archived website in this collection: Identification of item, date; New York State AFL-CIO Records; WAG 031; Wayback URL; Repository Name, New York University.

Location of Materials

Materials stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact at least two business days prior to research visit. Box 173 is onsite.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the New York State AFL-CIO in 1984 and 1996. The accession numbers associated with this collection are 1996.011, 1996.013 and 2010.053, 2018.049, and NPA 2003.068. was initially selected by curators and captured through the use of The California Digital Library's Web Archiving Service in 2007 as part of the Labor Unions and Organizations (U.S.) Web Archive. In 2015, these websites were migrated to Archive-It. Archive-It uses web crawling technology to capture websites at a scheduled time and displays only an archived copy, from the resulting WARC file, of the website. In 2020. was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2020.030. Flipbook embedded documents were added in 2022. The accession numbers associated with these websites are 2022.011, 2022.044, and 2022.063. In April 2022, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.057. In September 2023, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2023.082.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact, (212) 998-2630 with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Take Down Policy

Archived websites are made accessible for purposes of education and research. NYU Libraries have given attribution to rights holders when possible; however, due to the nature of archival collections, we are not always able to identify this information.

If you hold the rights to materials in our archived websites that are unattributed, please let us know so that we may maintain accurate information about these materials.

If you are a rights holder and are concerned that you have found material on this website for which you have not granted permission (or is not covered by a copyright exception under US copyright laws), you may request the removal of the material from our site by submitting a notice, with the elements described below, to the

Please include the following in your notice: Identification of the material that you believe to be infringing and information sufficient to permit us to locate the material; your contact information, such as an address, telephone number, and email address; a statement that you are the owner, or authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed and that you have a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; a statement that the information in the notification is accurate and made under penalty of perjury; and your physical or electronic signature. Upon receiving a notice that includes the details listed above, we will remove the allegedly infringing material from public view while we assess the issues identified in your notice.

Related Materials

See the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Moving Images Collection (FILMS 001) for films related to the AFL-CIO.

Collection processed by

Imported into Archivists' Toolkit by Daniel Michelson (2011); Edited by Bonnie Gordon to reflect the incorporation of nonprint materials and for compliance with DACS and Tamiment Required Elements for Archival Description (2014)

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-12-18 14:51:32 -0500.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English

Processing Information

Photographs were separated from this collection during initial processing and were established as a separate collection, the New York State AFL-CIO Photographs (PHOTOS 099). In 2014, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the New York State AFL-CIO Records.

In 2014, the archived website was added as a series. From 2020-2023, an additional websites were added.

Revisions to this Guide

October 2023: Edited by Nicole Greenhouse to reflect additional administrative information and added archived websites
December 2023: Edited by Rachel Mahre to add a Related Materials note.


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012