Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records
Language of Materials
Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3 represents workers at certain Bloomingdale's stores in Manhattan. They entered their first contract with Bloomingdale's in 1937. Materials in this collection are primarily from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, and relate to arbitrations, contracts, grievances, picketing, and assorted union activities. The files of Ida Torres, former president of Local 3, are also included in this collection.
The organizing drive of Bloomingdale's department store workers began in the 1930s in conjunction with the drive instituted by other New York City department store employees. Despite repeated setbacks and attempts by the store company to hinder their efforts, a majority of the workers signed up as union members and in 1938 Local 3 became the bargaining representative for all Bloomingdale employees. Early membership was around 2,300. In common with other department store locals in New York City (Macy's, Gimbel's, Stern's), Local 3's leadership was left-wing, creating from the outset, friction with the international Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union and its leadership. This friction exacerbated during the McCarthy period in 1948 when three members attempted to oust the Local's leadership on charges of Communism. In the same year, a Congressional sub-committee hearing on Communism investigated the New York City distributive trades. Weakened by McCarthyism, Local 3, along with other department store locals left the RWDSU, and under the aegis of Local 65, established a joint board for Locals 1, 2 and 3, 5, and 1250. The locals eventually merged in 1950 with the United Office and Professional Workers and some locals of the Food and Tobacco Workers Union to form District 65. The department store section of District 65 was an autonomous unit with its own elected officers and stewards. A changed union climate beginning when District 65 rejoined the RWDSU in 1954, the merger of the AFL-CIO in 1955, and prosperity in the country as a whole, served to strengthen Local 3. A major two-week strike in 1965 resulted in a favorable settlement for workers which has, in the words of President John O'Neill, "brought twenty years of peace." Another change in structure occurred in 1969 when District 65 withdrew from the RWDSU. Locals 2, 3, and 5 elected to remain in the International and formed the United Storeworkers Union under the leadership of William Michelson who subsequently was elected President.
This collection has not been arranged by an archivist. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were received from the donor.
Scope and Content Note
The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records include arbitration files, negotiating information, photographs, and materials related to various union activities, included finances, collective bargaining, health and safety, and picketing. Materials in this collection are primarily from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, though there is some material from mid and late 1990s. The files of Ida Torres, former president of Local 3, are also included in this collection. Included in her files are materials gathered for courses she taught at various labor schools in the New York area.
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 United Store Workers, Local 3, were transferred to New York University in 2003 by the United Store Workers, Local 3. 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.
Identification of item, date; Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records; WAG 230; 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; Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records; WAG 230; Wayback URL; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
Location of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the United Store Workers, Local 3 in 2003. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 2003.023, 2003.024, and NPA.2000.269.
https://www.local3rwdsu.org/ was initially selected by curators and captured through the use of The California Digital Library's Web Archiving Service in 2013 as part of the abor Unions and Organizations (U.S.) Web Archive. In November 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 June 2023, https://www.facebook.com/RWDSU.Local3/ and https://www.rwdsulocal3.org/ were added. The accession number associated with these website is 2023.059.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, (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.
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About this Guide
One folder was separated from this collection during initial processing and was established as a separate collection, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Photographs (PHOTOS 186). In 2014, the photograph collection was reincorporated into Box 1 of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records.
In 2014, the archived website was added to the container list. Additional archived websites were added in 2023.