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Frank Karl Papers

Call Number



1940-1990, inclusive
; 1980-1990, bulk


Karl, Frank
Karl, Frank (Role: Donor)


4.25 Linear Feet in four record cartons and one folder.

Language of Materials

Materials are in English.


Frank Karl was president of Albany, New York Local 1151 of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) from 1958 to 1990. He served on the union's national bargaining committee, and helped establish several key programs in labor-management relations, work safety, and counseling and support services. The collection is comprised for the most part of CWA records, including bargaining files, agreements, contracts, annual reports, committee updates, correspondence, and training material. Also included are some of Karl's academic papers, including his Master's thesis on the history of collective bargaining between the CWA and AT&T.

Historical/Biographical Note

Frank Karl was born in the small town of South Bethlehem, NY, just outside of Albany. Later the family moved to Albany, where he attended school. He graduated from Hudson Valley Community College with an Associates degree in 1956, and soon went to work for AT&T (and joined Communications Workers of America, Local 1151) in Albany. He became actively involved in union affairs in 1958, during heated debates over whether the Local should support a Western Electric strike that was on at the time. In the same year he was elected president of the Local, a position he was to hold for the next 33 years.

Frank Karl retired from both AT&T and the CWA in 1990. As president, Karl administered an annual budget of $60,000 and was responsible for a membership, at its peak, of 340, a figure which represents well over 90% of eligible AT&T employees in the area..

Karl served on the CWA's national bargaining committee, which successfully negotiated six successive contracts on behalf of 87,000 AT&T Long Lines employees. In 1978, he was instrumental in establishing one of the first AT&T/CWA labor-management Common Interest Forums; he then served as the Forum's co-chair through 1990; he was also co-chair of the National AT&T/CWA Safety Advisory Council. In 1980, Karl helped to design and implement the first joint labor-management Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in the Bell System, a program that provided a range of counseling and support services to union members.

After retiring in 1990, Frank Karl and Barbara, his wife of 50 years, realized a lifelong dream of building a house in the Adirondack Mountains. Karl, ill-suited to the sedentary life, got involved in local politics, and was soon elected Town Supervisor of Franklin, NY, a post he held for two consecutive terms. He later served on several local boards and committees to work on veterans' rights and environmental issues.

Karl earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations, as well as a Masters degree in Labor and Policy Studies, both from Empire State College (SUNY). Frank and Barbara Karl raised five children.


Files are arranged alphabetically.

Folders are arranged alphabetically by subject/author heading then chronologically within each subject/author heading.

The files are grouped into one series:

Missing Title

  1. I, General Files

Scope and Content Note

The collection is comprised for the most part of CWA records, including bargaining files, minutes, agreements, annual reports, committee updates, correspondence, photographs, and training material.

Also of interest are papers and correspondence on the impact of AT&T divestiture on CWA employees, papers and reports on CWA and AT&T history and structure, and some of Frank Karl's academic papers, including his Master's thesis on the history of collective bargaining between the CWA and AT&T.


Karl, Frank

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by Frank Karl were transferred to New York University in 2002 by Frank Karl. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact, (212) 998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Frank Karl Papers; WAG 192; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Frank Karl, 2002. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 2002.005 and 2002.009.

Related Materials

Records of the Communications Workers of America, District 1 (WAG 117)
Records of the Communications Workers of America (WAG 124)

Collection processed by

Gail Dancy, 2002 and Wendy Scheir, 2005; assisted by Barbara Hlat.

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-20 16:34:45 -0400.
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 Frank Karl Photographs (PHOTOS 185). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Frank Karl Papers.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from karl.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