Padwee, Michael

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Michael Wayne Padwee was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on December 4, 1942. He holds a B.S. (in chemistry, 1964) and an M.A. (in history, 1966) from Rutgers University, an M.L.S. from Queens College (1975) and M.S.W. from Columbia University (1982). During the 1960's he was active in a wide variety of civil rights and student left organizations, especially the Rutgers chapters of Students for a Democratic Society and the Congress of Racial Equality. He organized "teach-ins," speeches, protests, concerts or debates involving James Farmer, Governor Ross Barnett, Don Harris, Strom Thurmond, Joan Baez, Herbert Aptheker, Eugene Genovese, Wayne Dumont, and Stanley Aronowitz. In the 1970's he was a founding member of the New American Movement and organized a chapter in New York City. As an employee of the Human Resources Administration at the New York City Veterans' Welfare Center, Mr. Padwee joined the Social Services Employees Union and served as delegate and grievance committee chairman. He opposed the SSEU's reaffiliation in 1969 as Local 371 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, District Council 37.

From the description of Papers, 1966-1969. (New York University). WorldCat record id: 478370225

Michael Wayne Padwee was born on December 4, 1942 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He graduated from Weehawken High School in 1960, and received a B.S. in Chemistry from Rutgers University in 1964, an M.A. in History from Rutgers in 1966, an M.L.S. from Queens College in 1975, and an M.S.W. from Columbia University in 1982.

A long-time political activist, Michael Padwee was a founding member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) chapter at Rutgers University, starting in 1963. He was arrested with civil rights leader James Farmer when the Rutgers Chapter joined in picketing the 1964 World's Fair in New York. Padwee went on to form a chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Rutgers. As a member of SDS, he helped sponsor a series of "teach-ins" at the University, including a controversial speech by alleged Communist, and then Rutgers professor, Eugene Genovese. He also organized a number of protests and helped set up Community Action Projects in the New Brunswick Community. In late 1971, Padwee became active in the New American Movement (NAM). He participated as a voting delegate at the founding convention of NAM and went on to help form a NAM chapter in New York City, where he served as Secretary. He also participated in the city-wide Committee for Independent Political Action (CIPA), which was involved in campaigns of third-party candidates, including James Weinstein's campaign as an independent socialist for the Congressional seat in the 19th District.

Padwee began working at the New York City Department of Social Services, Human Resources Administration, as a caseworker in the summer of 1966, when he was assigned to the Veterans' Welfare Center. Almost immediately he joined the Social Service Employees Union (SSEU); the union, now SSEU, AFSCME DC 37, Local 371, was then independent, formed when caseworkers split from Local 371 in 1962. In early 1967, Mr. Padwee was elected as an alternate delegate in the union and began distributing his own newsletter, Dishonorable Discharge, at the Veterans' Welfare Center. In the spring of 1968, he ran unsuccessfully for a delegate position in the union. Shortly thereafter he became a co-grievance chairman for the Center. While at the Veterans' Center, Mr. Padwee was active in a number of union caucuses and subgroups including Welfare Workers for Peace, Rank and File Committee, "Coalition," Members for Militant and Democratic Unionism, and the Welfare Chapter of the Movement for a Democratic Society. In 1968-69 when a spirited debate went on within the local union over whether to re-affiliate with DC37, Padwee was active in the Anti-Merger Caucus. The SSEU fought for higher wages and better working conditions, but was also seen by much of its membership as a vehicle for affecting wider social and political issues such as child welfare, homelessness, the AIDS crisis, anti-Apartheid and civil rights struggles and the movement against the Vietnam War. The union caucus Welfare Workers for Peace, won the support of the local for anti-war demonstrations and organized members to pass an anti-war resolution that was drafted by Padwee. The SSEU became the first union in the country to vote by referendum to call on the U.S. to withdraw from Vietnam.

Throughout the 1968 and 1969 struggles within the SSEU over re-affiliation with District Council 37 Padwee was deeply involved in organizing an opposition to re-affiliation. When the issue was resolved by a pro-merger vote of the membership, his workplace, the Veterans' Welfare Center, was one of only four centers to vote against the measure. Padwee resigned from the union for a short time, but returned in May of 1969, when he transferred to the Bureau of Child Welfare Division of Homefinding. He left the Welfare Department in November of 1969 to move to Baltimore, and returned to NYC and was rehired by the Division of Homefinding in April of 1970.

From the guide to the Michael Padwee Papers, 1966-1979, (Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Michael Padwee Papers 1966-1979. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Padwee, Michael. Papers, 1966-1969. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Social Service Employees Union Records, Bulk, 1960-1999, 1952-2007 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
creatorOf Michael Padwee Papers, 1966-1979 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn Christopher Rhoades Dykema Papers, 1965-1988 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aptheker, Herbert, 1915-2003. person
associatedWith Aronowitz, Stanley. person
associatedWith Baez, Joan. person
associatedWith Barnett, A. R. (A. Ross) person
associatedWith Black Panther Party. corporateBody
associatedWith Coalition for Jobs and Services (New York, N.Y.). corporateBody
associatedWith Committee for Independent Political Action (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Congress of Racial Equality. corporateBody
associatedWith Dumont, Wayne. person
associatedWith Dykema, Christopher person
associatedWith Dykema, Christopher person
associatedWith Farmer, James. person
associatedWith Genovese, Eugene D., 1930- person
associatedWith Harris, Donald. person
associatedWith Movement for a Democratic Society. corporateBody
associatedWith New American Movement (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Peace and Freedom Party (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Red Umbrella (Organization) corporateBody
associatedWith Resistance (Organization : U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Social Service Employees Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Social Service Employees Union. Local 371. corporateBody
associatedWith Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Thurmond, Strom, 1902-2003. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
New York (State)--New York
New Jersey
New Brunswick (N.J.)
New York (N.Y.)
White collar workers--Labor unions--New York (State)--New York
Civil rights workers
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Student movements--New York (State)--New York
Student movements--New Jersey
White collar workers--Labor unions
Students--Political activity
Civil rights workers--United States
Social workers


Active 1966

Active 1969



Ark ID: w61j97x2

SNAC ID: 71360563