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Communications Workers of America, District 1 Records

Call Number



1946-2023, ongoing, inclusive
; 1968-1982, bulk


Communications Workers of America. District 1
Allen, Clara (Role: Donor)
Communications Workers of America. District 1 (Role: Donor)


16 Linear Feet (16 boxes)
8 websites in 8 archived websites.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


District I of the Communications Workers of America includes New York State, New Jersey, New England and parts of Eastern Canada. In its early years the District was comprised mainly of telephone workers, but its membership has diversified to include public employees (both state and local), journalists, healthcare workers, television and radio technicians and others. The collection contains correspondence, bargaining files, contracts, grievance files and general files.

Historical/Biographical Note

District 1 of the Communications Workers of America is comprised of New York, New Jersey, New England. In its early years, immediately after the founding and consolidation of the CWA (1947-1951), the District was made up primarily of telephone workers. It was the nerve center and power base of the national union, whose early leaders and first president, Joseph Beirne, had come from the New York Metropolitan Area. Under District Director Mary Hanscomb the District gained steadily in size, but the biggest leap in numbers and political clout came when District organizer Morton Bahr (formerly president of Local 1172) and several associates succeeded in bringing in 24,000 workers of the New York Telephone Company (later NYNEX and still later part of Verizon). As a result of this campaign the membership of the District more than doubled. The two biggest locals in District 1, Local 1101 (New York Tel) and Local 1150 (AT&T Long-Lines) carried considerable weight in the affairs of the union nationally. Bahr served as New York State Director from 1961 to 1963, and assistant to District 1 Director George Miller from 1963 to 1969. During the 1960s Bahr and Miller fought off several attempts by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to raid CWA locals, and oversaw the beginnings of what was to be a crucial area of expansion for CWA, the organizing of public workers.

Morton Bahr succeeded Miller in 1969 and assumed the new title of Vice-President for District 1. As the organizing gains of the 1960s were carried forward, tensions within the bargaining process began to make themselves felt throughout the telephone sector of the union.

In the summer of 1971 the CWA launched a strike against New York Telephone, which left lingering bitter feelings between the union and the Company. In addition, key elements in the District held out stubbornly in a "wild-cat" protest against President Beirne's initial attempts to reach a settlement in the strike, and the conflict stretched to 218 days. The settlement of the strike paved the way for national bargaining in telephone -- a long-held goal of the CWA -- finally achieved in 1974.

The present headquarters of the District, at 80 Pine St. in lower Manhattan was established in 1972. Vice-President Bahr served on the union's Bell System Bargaining Committee, and led the District's highly effective lobbying efforts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He has said that the CWA was the most politically influential union the New York State during the 1980s.

In 1983 the huge International Operating Center in Manhattan was closed, resulting in a major lay-off of traffic workers. This was only one effect of the court-ordered AT&T divestiture, which took full effect in 1984, and resulted in major company restructuring and changes in working conditions.

Jan Pierce, formerly CWA Area Director for Upstate New York, served as assistant to Morton Bahr, and succeeded to the position of District Vice-President, when Bahr became national president of CWA in 1985. Pierce, known for his militant approach to labor issues, presided over the aftermath of divestiture at AT&T and beginnings of the sweeping change in the telephone industry, change that was to bring drastic downsizing and the transfer of much of the industry away from the urban centers of the Northeast. Larry Mancino took over as Vice-President of District 1, then numbering some 120,000 in its ranks, in 1996. Under Mancino the make-up of district membership continued to diversify, and increased through the merger of the CWA and several smaller unions. The district came to include nurses, librarians, clerical workers, television and radio technicians, and journalists in the private sector, as well as tens of thousands of state and local public workers.


Both series are arranged alphabetically.

Organized into 3 series:

Missing Title

  1. I, General Files
  2. II, Bargaining Files
  3. III, Archived Websites

Scope and Content Note

Series I, General Files, includes correspondence, grievance files and reports documenting daily business of union locals and their relations with the district and the international union. Notable are files of articles, correspondence, memos and other materials documenting the AT&T divestiture.

Series II, Bargaining Files, contains notes and documents describing negotiations of District 1 locals with AT & T, Bell Labs, ITT World Com, New Jersey Bell, Western Electric and Western Union, among many other employers. Also included are publicity materials and flyers urging member participation in strikes and demonstrations.

Series III, Archived Website, is made up of the archived website for District 1, dating back to 2007.

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 Communications Workers of America, District 1, was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Communications Workers of America, District 1 Records; WAG 117; 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.

To cite the archived website in this collection: Identification of item, date; Communications Workers of America, District 1 Records; WAG 117; Wayback URL; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Clara Allen on behalf of the Communications Workers of America, District 1, in 1994. The accession number associated with this gift is 1994.021. 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, this website was 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, and were added to capture embedded photos and videos on the CWA District 1 website. The accession number associated with these websites are 2020.035. In March 2021, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2021.078. In November 2021, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.030. In March 2022, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.053. In August 2022, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.073. In September 2022, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2022.077. In January 2023, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2023.008. In May 2023, was added. The accession number associated with this website is 2023.044.

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.

Separated Material

Photographs from the collection were separated to the Non-Print Department of the Tamiment Library.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Communications Workers or American Oral History Collection. (OH 26)

Records of the Communications Workers of America. (WAG 124)

Records of Communications Workers of America, Local 1150. (WAG 59)

Records of Communications Workers of America, Local 1180. (WAG 63)

Collection processed by

Gail Malmgreen and Aaron Taub, 1996; and Wendy Scheir, 2005.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:29:00 -0400.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Description is in English.

Processing Information

In 2020-2023, additional archived websites were added to the finding aid.

Revisions to this Guide

May 2023: Edited by Nicole Greenhouse to add additional archived websites and updated administrative information

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from CWA District 1 WAG 117.doc


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