American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.) records
Scope and Content of the Records
The records of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), 1949-2001, include correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, petitions, constitutions, policy and procedures manuals, grievances, newspaper clippings, flyers, convention materials, photographs, and membership mailings.
The majority of the collection is correspondence dated from the late-1960s through the mid-1990s that concerns people and organizations based in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Correspondents include Fulton and DeKalb government offices that employ the local's workers, AFSCME's national office, allied political organizations (most notably the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists), and civil rights groups. The collection also includes correspondence related Local 1644's role in Atlanta, state, and national politics. Other notable documentation relates to Local 1644's support of the 1968 Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Tennessee (Box 3), and the work of the local chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (Box 22).
The collection also contains materials pertaining to hospital and healthcare workers from upstate New York under the auspices of the AFL-CIO Hospital and Nursing Home Council. These materials were likely transferred to the local office when Marie Robinson was assigned there in the early 1990s.
- AFSCME. Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.) (Organization)
Restrictions on Access
Collection is open for research use. Access to materials with personal or sensitive information 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.
Collection is stored offsite. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.
History of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.)
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1644, began as the District Council 14 (Greater Atlanta Public Employees). This organization served as the central administrative body for a number of small AFSCME locals in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
In 1966, District Council 14 contained the following locals: 3 (Fulton County Employees), 315 (Fulton County Court House Employees), 4 (Atlanta City Employees), 20 (Atlanta and Fulton County Board of Education Employees), 359 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Water Department Employees), 1376 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area Motor Vehicle Maintenance Employees), 797 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Hospital Employees), 850 (Atlanta Municipal Employees), 1053 (DeKalb County Public Employees), and 1202 (DeKalb County Board of Education Employees).
Because the majority of the District Council's focus was centered in the Metro-Atlanta area, the smaller Georgia locals were reorganized into chapters under the supervision of Local 1644. The reorganization was not welcome by several of the locals and produced some friction, most notably from Local 850, which fought the merger and attempted to separate itself from Local 1644. The change from multiple smaller unions to a larger union seemed to have been motivated by a need for administrative efficiency and to increase the numbers of a declining membership.
After the reorganization, Local 1644 had three major chapters representing the employees at Grady Hospital, the Atlanta Board of Education, and the City of Atlanta. Smaller chapters included the maintenance employees with the Atlanta Housing Authority and the workers at the Highview Nursing Home. One challenge particular to the Local 1644 was a Georgia state law that banned public sector unions from collective bargaining. However, the union was able to negotiate memorandums of understanding instead of traditional labor union contracts.
The DeKalb County sanitation workers struck in 1966, and City of Atlanta sanitation employees engaged in two major strikes in 1970 and 1977. The 1970 strike resulted in Mayor Sam Massel abolishing Local 1644's dues check-off privileges, but he backed down from firing threats and gave the striking sanitation workers a small raise. The loss of dues check-off led to a failed attempt by the Laborers International Union to challenge AFSCME's role as the designated bargaining agent for the sanitation workers from 1972-1976. The outcome of the 1977 strike was unfavorable for Local 1644 because Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson fired the sanitation workers instead of bargaining with them. When Grady Hospital ambulance drivers struck in 1976, Local 1644 only picketed in support and chose not to strike.
Local 1644 was taken into trusteeship by the national in the mid-1970s to help it recover from its damaged administration and financial status after the strikes and loss of dues check-off privileges. Due to declining membership and poor management, the local was taken over by the national union and placed under an administratorship in the early 1990s. George Johnson was sent to Atlanta by the national office with the purpose of repairing Local 1644's finances.
Local 1644 was led by Cleveland Chappell and Leamon Hood in the late 1960s and 1970s, Fosta Brown in the 1980s, and Marie Robinson in the 1990s. Additionally, Lew Peeples, Harlon Joye, James Howard, and Ron Reliford played key roles in managing the union over time as area directors and national union representatives. James Howard, national union representative, played an important role in the union's organization efforts in the early 1970s but had a troubled tenure when he returned in the 1990s.
In the early 1990s, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (national union) introduced the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees (NUHHCE) District 1199c, as a subsidiary of both the AFL-CIO and AFSCME in order to organize and service this fast growing pool of workers. Like many unions who work in the public sector, AFSCME devoted serious time and resources to fighting the growing trend toward privatizing public services during the 1990s.
87.5 Linear Feet (in 70 boxes)
Language of Materials
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees(AFSCME), Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.) represents public sector workers in the metropolitan Atlanta area, including hospital, sanitation, and other municipal workers. The records of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), 1949-2001, include correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, petitions, constitutions, policy and procedures manuals, grievances, newspaper clippings, flyers, convention materials, photographs, and membership mailings.
The records retain their original arrangement.
Collection is stored offsite. Allow at least 2 working days for retrieval.
Collection donated by Anna Olive and other representatives of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (L1986-44, L2002-04, and L2003-02).
Processed by Harold Victor Hansen, Jr. at the file level, April 2010. Folder titles and organization are retained from donor.
- AFSCME. District Council 14 (Atlanta, Ga.)
- African American labor union members
- Atlanta (Ga.)
- Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (U.S.)
- Collective bargaining -- Government employees
- DeKalb County (Ga.)
- Fulton County (Ga.)
- Labor leaders
- Labor union locals
- Labor unions -- Organizing
- Labor unions -- Political activity
- Municipal officials and employees -- Labor unions
- National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees. District 1199
- Sanitation workers
- Sanitation workers -- Labor unions
- Strikes and lockouts -- Sanitation
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.):
- A Guide to the Records at Georgia State University Library
- Hal Hansen
- June 30, 2010
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description