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Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive logo

Guide to the Social Service Employees Union Records WAG.003

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY, 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive

Collection processed by K. Kevyne Baar

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 06, 2016
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Maggie Schreiner to reflect updated administrative information  , July 2014

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Social Service Employees Union. Local 371.
Title: Social Service Employees Union Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1952-2007
Dates [bulk]: Bulk, 1960-1999
Abstract: Social Service Employees Union Local 371 is part of District Council 37 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO). The union primarily represents New York City workers in the social service professions. Although the origins of the union can be traced back to the 1930s, their modern story begins in the bitter cold of January 1965 when more than 8,000 welfare workers spent 28 days on union picket lines and leaders from what were then two separate entities, the Social Service Employees Union and Local 371, went to jail. Besides winning salary increases and improvements in conditions for their clients, the strike resulted in a number of firsts including the first 100 percent city-paid health insurance, an effective grievance procedure, and the establishment of a panel made up of representatives of labor, the city, and the public that led to what is today known as the New York City's Office of Collective Bargaining. Two more strikes, both unsuccessful, took place in 1967; finally, in 1969, the two unions merged. Under the leadership of presidents Martin Morgenstern, Stanley Hill, Joe Sperling and Charles Ensley, among others, the union has grown in diversity over the years. Although caseworkers still make up the single largest segment of the SSEU's membership, the union now represents over 150 title categories including counselors, social workers, investigators, and residence staff. The collection includes constitutions, minutes of meetings including executive committee and general membership, along with collective bargaining demands and contracts. The largest segment of the collection is the general files which include officers' correspondence, member communication tools such as leaflets and newsletters, union elections and press clippings. The final section consists of grievances, arbitrations and legal cases.
Quantity: 44.0 linear feet (44 boxes)
Location note: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact at least two business days prior to research visit.
Call Phrase: WAG.003