Active 1955

History notes:

The AFL and CIO merged in 1955 as an umbrella organization for skilled trade and industrial unions. Its regional office in Baltimore represented worker interests against this railroad merger.

From the description of AFL-CIO response to merger of Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads, 1962-1963. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 238572652

Created by merger of American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1955.

From the description of Records, 1932-1980. (Nogales-Santa Cruz County Public Library). WorldCat record id: 28416895

The AFL-CIO was formed in 1955 by the merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). In 1886, the AFL became the successor to the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions. It emphasized the organization of skilled workers into craft unions and through political involvement secured members higher wages, shorter hours, workmen's compensation, and laws against child labor. The CIO began as a minority faction of the AFL in the 1930s advocating the organization of workers on an industry-wide basis. Its Political Action Committee urged its membership into more active political participation.

From the description of AFL-CIO records, 1946-1985. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 181353697

Against a background of rapid rail expansion, begun in the late 1800's, organized railway labor appeared and began to flourish throughout the first decades of the 20th Century. This expansion

was facilitated in 1908 by the formation of the Railway Employees' Department (RED) of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) - a cooperative effort on the part of seven national shop craft unions, the Brotherhood of Carmen of America; International Association of Machinists; International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths, Drop Forgers and Helpers; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and Helpers of America; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; International Brotherhood of Firemen, Oilers Helpers, Roundhouse and Railway Shop Laborers; and Sheet Metal Workers International Association. Materials relating to the International Association of Machinists, and the Brotherhood of Carmen of America predominate.

RED bargained with the Railroad Carriers for these skilled trade employes on a wide range of activities affecting almost every aspect of their social and economic status as employees. RED was active as in organizing, collective bargaining, legislation, apprentice training, political lobbying (especially the encouragement of active involvement of rank and file in political activities), and the protection of job opportunities of these railroad workers. The RED endeavored to guarantee every member representation, to preserve craft autonomy, and to provide for joint federated action through unity of purpose and increased economic strength.

From the guide to the AFL-CIO. Railway Employees' Department. Records, 1917-1970, (Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library)


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  • Carpenters
  • Joiners
  • Labor unions and education
  • Iron and steel workers--Labor unions
  • Labor unions
  • Consolidation and merger of corporations
  • Iron and steel workers
  • Labor unions--History--20th century
  • Transport workers
  • Transport workers--Labor unions
  • Railroads--Mergers
  • Carpenters--Labor unions
  • Labor laws and legislation
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  • Railroads--Employees--Labor unions--United States--Sources
  • Labor unions--Political activity
  • Labor unions--Periodicals


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