United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 525 (Asheville, N.C.) records
Scope and Content of the Records
The records of the United Food and Commercial Workers [UFCW], Local 525 (Asheville, N.C.), 1944-1986 (bulk 1961-1983), contain correspondence, organizing materials, National Labor Relations Board cases and decisions, legal files, publications, meeting minutes, annual reports, convention and mass meeting materials, financial records, political and legislative materials, and newspaper clippings. The collection mainly covers the work of members in North and South Carolina.
Early records (1944-1960) reflect the activities of the International Fur & Leather Workers Union. Records from 1961-1979 reflect activities of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of America Local 525 and records from 1979-1983 reflect the work of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 525.
The majority of the collection contains information about organizing individual stores, petitioning for elections, and negotiating contracts. A significant segment of UFCW members worked for Colonial Stores and A & P. While the records reflect that most negotiations were straight forward, the collection also includes information about notable labor contests with Gerber, Winn-Dixie, and Lundy meat packing.
In addition to day-to-day union business, this collection also contains correspondence from political candidates and the regional AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education office, mostly dealing with elections and political issues in western North Carolina.
- Creation: 1944-1986
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1961 - 1983
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use. Access to materials with personal information in boxes 35-39 is restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.
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.
This collection is stored off-site. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.
History of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 525 (Asheville, N.C.)
The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 525, began as the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of America [AMCBW], Local 525 (Asheville, North Carolina). AMCBW, a large union based in Chicago, represented butchers and meat-packers a well as leather and fur workers (who had merged with the AMCBW in 1955). In 1960-1961, the myriad of smaller AMCBW locals throughout North Carolina voted to merge into the Local 525 for better management of members' affairs. This consolidation allowed the union to centralize its operations and save significant amounts of money on overhead, as well as providing a single voice when dealing with multi-unit chain stores throughout the large geographic area. This area was further subdivided into districts with the following areas of responsibility.
- District 1: Roanoke, Virginia
- District 2: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
- District 3: Greensboro, North Carolina
- District 4: Durham, North Carolina
- District 5: Raleigh, North Carolina
- District 6: Greenville, North Carolina
- District 7: New Bern, North Carolina
- District 8: Wilmington, North Carolina
These districts allowed the local's officials in Asheville, North Carolina, to represent members in a particular geographic area despite the fact that they worked for different companies and to streamline the bargaining process based on area instead of company. Over time, the local expanded into South Carolina and Tennessee, but the largest part of its work occurred in North Carolina.
From their new central office in Asheville, presidents Tony Muncus and then John Russell looked after the needs of members throughout North Carolina with the help of International Representative Cornelius Simmons. The majority of AMCBW Local 525 members worked at Colonial Stores and A & P (both as clerks and butchers), but they also worked at Bi-Rite, Bi-Lo, Food Fair, Harris Teeter, K-Mart, and Allied Foods. Local 525 spent tremendous amounts of time in organizing and negotiating for its members. Struggles included a large-scale A & P strike in 1979 over job security and participation in the nationwide boycott of Winn-Dixie in 1977.
In addition to working with grocery chain employees, Local 525 also organized and represented workers employed in food processing factories. Notable factories covered by Local 525 included the Goodmark Foods factory in Raleigh, the Gerber Baby food factory in Asheville, and smaller, independent food and leather factories across North Carolina. Lundy Packing, A.C. Lawrence Leather, Fairmont Foods, Perfect Packed Products, Holly Farms, Swift and Co., Armour Creameries, Taylor Biscuit, Central Soya, Rath Packing, Carolina Meat, Goldkist Poultry, Almond Brothers Poultry, Cross Poultry, Colonial Jelly, Lackawanna Leather, Jesse Jones Sausage, Excelsior Underwear, Watson Seafood, Southeastern Poultry, Morton Frozen Food, Neuhoff Meat Products, Balentine Packing, Dobson Poultry, Curtis Packing, Fouke Fur, Marshville Poultry, Morgan Poultry, Hudson Poultry, Pittsboro Poultry, Rockingham Poultry, Swift Edible Oil, Chicago Rawhide, New Bern Oil and Fertilizer, Wilson Packing, Draper's Egg and Poultry, and Oscar Mayer all had organized union employees represented by Local 525 at one point or another.
The Goldkist Poultry factory workers were an interesting challenge for both the union and the company during labor unrest in the mid 1970s because agents of the Progressive Labor Party began counter-organizing workers in the plant along the lines of Communist ideology. This led to numerous court challenges including the bizarre occurrence of a plant worker suing both the union and company as co-defendants.
Local 525 worked in an extremely anti-union political environment, and as a result faced an uphill battle in promoting the interests of organized labor, often winning in court but being stymied by extra-legal methods and delay tactics. As a result of these challenges the local allied itself with local politicians in an effort to change the political culture of North Carolina, but had limited results. The late sixties and early seventies brought an increase in wages throughout the South, thus undermining the union's primary allure and as a result the union's power decreased over time.
In 1979, the AMCBW merged with the Retail Clerks International Union to form the United Food and Commercial Workers [UFCW], which ended years of fighting between the two rival unions over grocery store workers. This temporary increase in strength was short lived, however, and UFCW Local 525 was absorbed into UFCW Local 204 in 1986.
40 Linear Feet (in 40 boxes)
Language of Materials
The records of the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 525 (Asheville, N.C.), 1944-1986 (bulk 1961-1983), contain correspondence, organizing materials, National Labor Relations Board cases and decisions, legal files, publications, meeting minutes, annual reports, convention and mass meeting materials, financial records, political and legislative materials, and newspaper clippings.
The records retain their original order.
This collection is stored off-site. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.
Donation made by Joyce Coutlakis, July 1986.
Processed by Hal Hansen at the file level, August 2010. Folders retain original titles and order. Boxes 35-39 are arbitration and grievance files, while box 40 contains separated audiovisual materials.
- Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (Organization)
- Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America. Local 525 (Asheville, N.C.) (Organization)
- Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (Organization)
- Colonial Stores Incorporated (Organization)
- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (Organization)
- United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 525 (Asheville, North Carolina):
- A Guide to the Records at Georgia State University Library
- Georgia State University Library
- September 18, 2010
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description