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Guide to the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 66 Records WAG.010

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Claudia Hommel, Mary Hedge, and Robert Shaffer, 1984

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 11, 2018
Description is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Scope and Content Note

The collection covers the history of IFTPE, Local 66 in its efforts to organize and represent engineers in the New York City and New Jersey area. The bulk of the collection consists of shop files documenting Local 66's successful and unsuccessful organization and bargaining efforts.

It provides many forms of evidence to explain the motivations behind and obstacles to organizing white-collar professional engineers, personalities of the leading figures in the Local, the Local's objectives and methods, issues of importance to the members in each shop, and the technological processes central to each industry where draftsmen work.

The proportions reflect the union's priorities. For example almost two feet of correspondence with other AFTE locals gives evidence of Raimist's national ties and concerns for building a strong international. The relatively small quantity of "research" or "topical" files indicates the concentration on bread-and-butter issues — social and political issues taking a distant second place. Legislative concerns are intense whenever bills affecting engineers come to the floor. Officers' files are rather sparse in contrast to those of the business manager in this particular local.

Having failed in its bid to organize industry-wide engineering contracts, Local 66 went on to organize shop-by-shop. This is reflected in shop files, which contain organizing leaflets, contract, negotiation, and grievance files for each shop. The shop files document not only the organized shops but also of the many failed organizing attempts.

Notable Shops
 Foster-Wheeler Corporation: multinational corporation which manufactures and engineers major fuel-generating plants and components. Several unions represent the production and technical employees in its various plants. (A joint council of unions was convened in the 1950's.) Issues evident in these records include a major arbitration case against the company's compulsory retirement policy (1952-1953), the 1955 strike, a decertification campaign in the late 50's, and organizing "runaway shops" in New Jersey (1960) and Pennsylvania (1969).

General Bronze Corporation: major architectural bronze plant and one of the larger important units of Local 66 membership.

R. Hoe: manufacture of printing presses, industrial saws, ordnance equipment; a major unit of Local 66 membership.

Lummus Company: major corporation in the petro-chemical and oil refinery field on an international scale.

Mergenthaler Linotype: major producer of hot-metal composing machines for the printing industry. The shop was organized in 1954 when the company's engineering association affiliated with Local 66 and the clerical workers joined the OPEIU. A backlog of grievances and a dissenting group within the unit required attention from the international and its representative, Miles Holmes, but without resolution. The unit demanded Raimist's resignation and disaffiliated in 1961, having been "raided" by Local 18 of the Allied Trades Union, an independent "gangsters" union.

The correspondence (1958-1961) illustrates the growing conflict between not only Raimist (the business manager) and the dissenting members but also between him and Miles Holmes. While other documents throughout the Local 66 records describe Raimist's long tenure and commitment to unionization, the Mergenthaler correspondence gives a sharp example of his style when in conflict with his own union.

Raimist resigned in 1962. Local 66 won back the unit in 1964. In 1970 the company made plans to move to a smaller plant, having reduced its manufacture of hot-metal printing equipment — the result of the change in print technology to photocomposing "cold-type" machines. The unit was finally lost by attrition in 1976.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: independent of either state, this public agency serves to build and coordinate all major inter-state transportation facilities including bridges, tunnels, port facilities, international airports, related buslines and roadways. It also built and owns the World Trade Center. A major analysis of its financial and political underpinnings is given in The Power Broker by Robert Caro.

Local 66 sought recognition as bargaining agent for the PA's hundreds of engineers over a period of ten years. The records begin with the initial organizing drive of February 1969 up to the representation election of 1973 (which the union closely lost). Although never officially recognized as the sole bargaining agent for the engineers, Local 66 signed up a large number of engineers and played an important role in negotiating certain rights and benefits for them. It was also held responsible for representing all the engineers (members and non-members) in their grievances.

A considerable portion of Local 66 energies went to the process of appealing to the state legislatures and executives for important revisions in state lav/ to protect the Port Authority employees, their union rights, arbitration, compensation and benefits, tenure, and pensions.

The Port Authority Guild Chapter functioned as a regular unit of Local 66, having its own stewards and officers, paying membership dues, publishing a regular PA Guild newsletter, negotiating wages, job classifications , working conditions and benefits, working with the other recognized unions (transit workers, PA Police Benevolent Association, Police Superior Officers Association, etc.). The Local 66 organizing drive met with great resistance from the Port Authority administration and commission. Not being under the purview of state lav;, much of the Port Authority's actions were difficult to contest, requiring Local 66 to appeal to the state authorities for changes in the basic structure of PA governance.

When a third-party board was finally set up to arbitrate labor relations at the PA, the Authority's new strategy centered on contesting the composition of the proposed bargaining unit, choosing at first to claim large numbers of engineers as "management- confidential- or supervisory" positions. When Local 66 won a victory on this question, the PA then insisted that all white-collar employees of a certain level be organized by Local 66 (including accountants, nurses, etc.). Local 66 was unable to overturn this ruling and lost the 1978 election which included the non-engineering workers by one vote.


This collection is arranged into five series:

Series I: Internal Structure and Units, 1936-1978

Series II: Records of the International Union, 1936-1978

Series III: Other Unions and Organizations, 1936-1978

Series IV: Shop Files, 1937-1979

Series V: Finances, Membership Records, and General Files (Unprocessed), circa 1935-1984

Series I-III and Series V are arranged topically and chronologically; Series IV is arranged alphabetically and chronologically.