Communications Workers of America, Local 2150 Records
Language of Materials
Communications Workers of America, Local 2150 represented AT&T Long Lines (long distance) employees in the Baltimore, MD area. Among the matters of special concern to the local were jurisdictional matters, and health and safety issues in the workplace. The collection includes correspondence of the Local's officers and several committees; minutes of Executive Board, membership and stewards meetings; and subject files containing materials concerning most aspects of the Local's activities. NOTE: This collection is housed offsite and advance notice is required for use.
Local 2150 was chartered as a Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local in 1949, but its origins can be traced to the Bell Systems company unions of the 1920s. In 1935, the passage of the Wagner Act the Long Lines employees in Maryland were organized into Long Lines Local 16, a group of the Long Lines American Union. Each of the Long Lines Locals sent a representative to meet with the Bell System's Vice-President of Long Lines concerning their own grievances. The Bell System management was thus able to pit one local against another, and avoid being pressured into making changes beneficial to workers. This prompted the formation of the National Federation of Telephone Workers (NFTW), of which the Baltimore local was a part.
Following the formation of the NFTW, the Baltimore long-lines local was known as Local 16, NFTW. Other groups of telephone workers in the same geographical area had their own locals and barahined separately with their own management. Local 16 was very small, with its officers forced to conduct business out of their homes. The widespread telephone strike of 1947 was an ordeal, a catalyst for growth, and a point of fracture for the union. The local drew up a schedule, and manned the picket lines daily throughout the six-week strike. During the strike, the much larger Chesapeake & Potomac Traffic Division's union invited Local 16 to share its headquarters for a nominal fee, giving the union access to its own office space for the first time. Despite this advance and the settlement of the strike, there was growing dissention within the NFTW.
In the aftermath of the 1947 strike, there evolved two groups. Joe Beirne of the Western Electric Sales Union wanted to form an independent national union, the Communications Workers of America. Jack Moran, president of the New York Long Lines disagreed and sought to join the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), forming the Telephone Workers Organizing Committee (TWOC) -CIO. Local 16 sided with Moran, once again undergoing a change of name to Local 16, TWOC-CIO.
In 1949, the CWA finally joined the CIO. This prompted one final name change for the Baltimore-area long-lines union. The organization was designated Local 2150, CWA-CIO. The numbers represented the district and type of workers the Local represented. The 2 designated the Local's District, 1 indicateded that this was the district's first Long Lines local, and 50 is the union's code for Long Lines employees. Local 2150's charter gave it jurisdiction over all Long Lines offices in the state of Maryland. It represents members from Baltimore, Elkton, Fairlee, Finksburg, Frostburg, Hagerstown, Randallstown, and Waldorf.
The scattering of membership across the state sometimes proved to be a hindrance to representation of members by the union's officers. It was hard for a few officers and staff to effectively address the particular grievances of these far-flung offices and operations. This siruation persisted until the 1960s, when the office of Chief Locality Steward was created. These were to be the highest-ranking union official in each office, dealing directly with the various operations managers. This allowed the Local's president and vice-president to deal with the district managers and the CWA International.
In 1973, Local 2150 became involved in a dispute with CWA Local 2350 over the right to organize workers in Waldorf, MD. The contending locals turned to the international union, which, after reviewing the arguments, ruled in favor of Local 2350. In 2003, after a period of waning membership numbers, Local 2150 was merged with a CWA local based in Virginia.
Arranged alphabetically within each series.
The files are grouped into three series:
- I, Minutes
- II, Correspondence
- III, Subject Files
Scope and Content Note
Series I: Minutes, contains minutes of Executive Board, and General Membership and other meetings.
Series II: Correspondence, contains correspondence between the Local headquarters and various individuals and organizations, among them CWA District 2, CWA international headquarters, AT&T and other Long Lines locals. This series also includes the correspondence of the Locality Stewards.
Series III: Subject Files, contains files concerning the activities and interests of Local 2150. These include AT&T divestiture and reorganization, the Local's bylaw and charter documents, training manuals and handbooks, the Local's newsletter Cross Talk, member resignations, organizing, officer recall, various workplace health and safety issues, and the records of various strikes.
NOTE: This collection is housed offsite and advance notice is required for use.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Communications Workers of America, Local 2150, were transferred to New York University in 2004 by Elaine Wolf. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact email@example.com, (212) 998-2630.
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
Donated by the Communications Workers of America, Local 2150, through an agreement with president Elaine Wolf, in 2003. The accession number associated with this gift is 2003.033.