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United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers records

 Collection
Identifier: L1979-34

Scope and Content of the Records

The Records, 1943-1969, of the United Packinghouse Workers of America consist largely of photographs, but also include a file of correspondence, newsclippings, pamphlets, and handbills. The bulk of the photographs are of strikers and picket lines, notably the Local 309 picketing the W & W Pickle Company and the Alaga Company in Montgomery, Alabama (1951). J. D. Mott of the Alabama farmers' union is pictured, as he stressed the need for co-operation between farmers' organizations and unions. Other photographs show UPWA conferences. Noteworthy speakers include: A. O. McKinney, District 9 Director (1953); O. L. Sheppard, Local 108 (Atlanta, Georgia) (1957); and J. R. Steele, Local 441 (Memphis, Tennessee) (1961). Also depicted is an organizing meeting conducted by UPWA International Vice-President Russell R. Lasley, 1950. Lasley called for women workers to fight against sweatshop conditions in their plants and race discrimination in their communities.

Dates

  • 1943-1968

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.

History of the United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers

The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), later the United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers, was a labor union that represented workers in the meatpacking industry.

The UPWA was chartered originally chartered as the Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC) by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1937. The PWOC organized locals throughout the nation with the greatest concentrations in the Midwestern and Great Plains states. Like many unions in the CIO, the PWOC tried to organize all workers in a given plant regardless of skill or trade. The PWOC had to compete with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters, an older AFL craft union. In 1943 the PWOC was officially chartered as the UPWA.

In the 1940s, the UPWA won nationwide contracts with companies including the "Big Four" of meatpacking: Armour, Swift, Wilson, and Cudahy. In the 1950s and 1960s, the UPWA was at the forefront of union support for the civil rights movement and was a strong ally of Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the meatpacking industry restructured in the postwar years and the Big Four lost their dominance, plants represented by the UPWA closed in large numbers. As a result, its membership in dropped quickly in the 1960s. In 1968, the UPWA dissolved into the Amalgamated Meat Cutters.

Extent

0.01 Linear Feet (in 1 folder)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract:

The Records, 1943-1969, of the United Packinghouse Workers of America consist largely of photographs, but also include a file of correspondence, newsclippings, pamphlets, and handbills.

Acquisition Information

The records were transferred to the Southern Labor Archives by Leslie Orear of the Illinois Labor History Society in February 1979.

Online Availability

The photographs in this collection may have been digitized and are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.

Related Archival Materials

Related Materials in This Repository

  1. Meat workers contracts collection, 1951-1976 (L-contracts_AMCBW)

Separated Materials

During processing, photographs were separated to the Southern Labor Archives Photographs Collection and a contract was separated to the Southern Labor Archives Contracts and Agreements Collections. Material must be requested separately; consult archivist for access.

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Photographs Collection

  1. UPWA conferences and conventions: International; Districts 7, 8, and 9; local unions, 1943-1966
  2. Organizing meeting in Savannah, Georgia, 1950
  3. District 9 exhibit at Georgia Southeastern World's Fair, 1947
  4. Strikers: W&W Pickle Company, Alaga Company, R. L. Ziegler Company (Alabama); Armour & Company, Swift & Company (Georgia); Swift & Company, Swift Oil Refinery, lookout Oil, and Stokely - Van Camp (Tennessee); unidentified woman injured on picket line, 1948-1968
  5. 5th Constitutional Convention of Alabama State Industrial Union Council, undated

Separated to Southern Labor Archives Contracts and Agreements Collection

  1. Jurisdictional Agreement: Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America and United Packinghouse, Food, and Allied Workers, 1968

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Gernazian and Fran Barber at the file level, 1980. 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.
Title
United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers:
Subtitle
A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library
Status
Completed
Author
Georgia State University Library
Date
1980
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • April 13, 2009: EAD finding aid created by Traci JoLeigh Drummond from a legacy finding aid.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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