Office and Professional Employees International Union, Southern Region records
Scope and Content of the Records
The Records of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), 1970-1976, consist primarily of material concerning the Union's attempts to organize office workers on the local level in the southeastern United States. The bulk of the documents describe the efforts of OPEIU relating to employees of the First National Bank of New Smyrna Beach, Florida (1972-1974); the Charlotte, North Carolina plant of the Kroehler Manufacturing Company (1974-1976); and the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, an African-American insurance company in Durham, North Carolina. Less extensive holdings consist of papers relating to OPEIU negotiations with Jacksonville, Florida carpenters, the Savannah Electric and Power Company, and the Central States Paper and Bag Company of Florida.
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Georgia State University is the owner of the physical collection and makes reproductions available for research, subject to the copyright law of the United States and item condition. Georgia State University may or may not own the rights to materials in the collection. It is the researcher's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and obtain permission from the copyright holder before publication, reproduction, or display of the materials beyond what is reasonable under copyright law. Researchers may quote selections from the collection under the fair use provision of copyright law.
History of the Office and Professional Employees International Union
Clerical unions began forming in the early 1900s. By 1920, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) had issued charters to more than 50 clerical unions. In 1942, the locals banded together to form the International Council of Office Employee Unions. In 1945, this union received a charter from the AFL as the Office Employees International Union. At the time of its founding, the union had about 22,000 members. In 1946 and again in 1948, the union conducted major strikes in New York City that led to the organization thousands of workers on Wall Street. At roughly the same time, the union began organizing locals in Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec. By 1960, the union had doubled in size to nearly 50,000 members.
In 1965, the union adopted its current name. In the 1990s, OPEIU began major organizing drives in the insurance industry, organizing several thousand workers at CUNA Mutual and Prudential. A similar organizing drive at Allstate ended after the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the 10,000 workers were independent contractors. OPEIU also began organizing in the health care industry, organizing office workers at a number of health insurers. But it also began organizing registered nurses and other health care workers in limited numbers around the United States. In 1998, the much-raided collective bargaining arm of the Pennsylvania Nurses Association affiliated with OPEIU, adding 2,500 nurses to the union's rolls. By 2005, OPEIU represented about 5,000 RNs, making it the sixth largest nurses' union in the AFL-CIO.
0.42 Linear Feet (in 14 folders)
Language of Materials
The Records of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), 1970-1976, consist primarily of material concerning the Union's attempts to organize office workers on the local level in the southeastern United States.
Donated by J.O. Bloodworth, former International Vice-President of the OPEIU, July 1976.
During processing, materials were separated to other Southern Labor Archives Printed Collections. For pamphlets, see the Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection finding aid (note that this collection has been weeded over time). For contracts consult Special Collections for access.
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection
- AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, "The Worker's World: Privacy and the Need to Know," November 16, 1971
- AFL-CIO, "This is the AFL-CIO," May 1969
- AFL-CIO, "Why Unions," July 1969
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Contracts Collection
- Bakery and Confectionary Workers' International Union, Local 361, 1971-1974. Tampa Production Agreement
- Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 464 and North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, April 1, 1973-March 31, 1974
Processed by Paul Cimbala, 1976. This collection guide was created from a legacy finding aid. The inventory's contents and storage locations of separated materials (if applicable) were not verified at that time.
- Office and Professional Employees International Union, Southern Region:
- A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
- Georgia State University Library
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description