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United Furniture Workers of America records

 Collection
Identifier: L1979-09

Scope and Content of the Records

The collection consists of records of the United Furniture Workers of America (UFWA) from 1939-1977. The collection includes records relating to the Union's relationship with the CIO and later the AFL-CIO, and other unions including the Upholsterers' International Union of North America. Records relating to the UFWA administrative and operational units include minutes of the General Executive Branch, International Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and the Finance Committee; correspondence and activity reports of organizers and field staff; and a variety of records relating to the UFWA's local unions.

Dates

  • 1939-1977

Creator

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

History of the United Furniture Workers of America

Prior to 1937, most organized workers in the furniture industry were members of either the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners Union or the Upholsterers' International Union, both of which were affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. Disagreements over political ideology and organizing tactics, fueled by the new emphasis by the fledgling Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) on the organization of all workers in a plant into a single industrial, rather than craft, union, led a group of dissidents within the UIU to leave the UIU and affiliate with the CIO as the United Furniture Workers.

The two unions competed for membership among the same group of workers during the 1940s and 1950s. Shortly after the AFL and CIO merged in December of 1955, however, the two unions formed a "confederation for common union action," which was known as CUF. In this ad hoc organization, each of the unions retained its autonomy but established a joint board to coordinate organizing drives, direct political activities, conduct research, and police the use of the union label. CUF was seen by some as a first step toward a possible full-fledged merger of the UFWA and the UIU.

The hoped-for merger, however, never materialized. In 1985, rather, the UIU merged its 35,000 members into the vastly larger United Steel Workers of America, and in 1986 the UFWA acted similarly when it merged its 20,000 members into the much larger International Union of Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers (IUE), which subsequently changed its name to the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine & Furniture Workers.

The short-lived combination of much UFWA and UIU activity during the years 1957-1958 was officially known as the Confederated Upholsterers & Furniture Workers of America. Its activities are described in these records. CUF's programs were administered by a joint board made up of six representatives from each of the two unions. Sal B. Hoffman of the UIU and Morris Pizer of the UFWA served as co-chairmen of the ruling board. The CUF headquarters was in Washington, DC.

Extent

87 Linear Feet (in 173 boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract:

In 1937, dissident members of the Upholsterers' International Union of North America formed the new United Furniture Workers of America (UFWA), and affiliated with the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The UFWA records, 1939-1977, document the Union's relationship with the CIO and later the AFL-CIO, and other unions. The contains includes records relating to the UFWA administrative and operational units, including minutes of the General Executive Branch, International Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and the Finance Committee; correspondence and activity reports of organizers and field staff; and a variety of records relating to the UFWA's local unions.

Organization of the Records

These records comprise eighty-seven (87) linear feet of manuscript material organized into four (4) record series: I. CIO, 1945-1956; II. AFL-CIO, 1951-1968; III. International unions, 1946-1966; and IV. UFWA Administrative files, 1936-1977. Series IV is subsequently organized into thirteen (13) subseries. Additionally, oversize manuscript material, photographs, contracts, pamphlets, and periodicals included in the records have been housed in their separate collections.

Acquisition Information

Donated by United Furniture Workers of America, courtesy of Carl Scarbrough, April 1979.

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Gernazian a the file level, September 1982.
Title
United Furniture Workers of America:
Subtitle
A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
Status
Completed
Author
Georgia State University Library
Date
1982
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • April 2002: EAD created by Aubrey Underwood and Angela Lefebvre.
  • November 2005: EAD edited by Amanda Brown.
  • August 2007: EAD edited by William Hardesty.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
100 Decatur St., S.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404-413-2880
404-413-2881 (Fax)