United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers records
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.
- United Packinghouse, Food, and Allied Workers (Organization)
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 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.
0.01 Linear Feet (in 1 folder)
Language of Materials
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 records were transferred to the Southern Labor Archives by Leslie Orear of the Illinois Labor History Society in February 1979.
The photographs in this collection may have been digitized and are available online at Georgia State University Library Digital Collections.
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
- UPWA conferences and conventions: International; Districts 7, 8, and 9; local unions, 1943-1966
- Organizing meeting in Savannah, Georgia, 1950
- District 9 exhibit at Georgia Southeastern World's Fair, 1947
- 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
- 5th Constitutional Convention of Alabama State Industrial Union Council, undated
Separated to Southern Labor Archives Contracts and Agreements Collection
- Jurisdictional Agreement: Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America and United Packinghouse, Food, and Allied Workers, 1968
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.
- United Packinghouse, Food and Allied Workers:
- 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