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Guide to the Eleanore Collins Papers WAG.089

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
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10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630
tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Cara Brick, 2009

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 05, 2018
Finding aid is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Collins, Eleanore, -1994
Creator: Communications Workers of America. Local 1150 (New York, N.Y.)
Source - dnr: Collins, Eleanore, -1994
Source - dnr: Kennedy, James R.
Source - dnr: Kennedy, Kathy
Title: Eleanore Collins Papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1944-1993
Abstract: Eleanore Collins (d. 1994) had a passionate concern for labor education, women's rights, and white-collar organizing. As a clerk with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), she joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 1150, and by the early 1950s she became a steward. In the CWA, Collins was active in organizing, upgrading clerical titles, and boosting the status and pay for female workers. She served as a union board member, convention delegate, education director, and finally president of the CWA, Local 1153 from 1981 to 1984. The collection includes correspondence, election materials, minutes, arbitration awards, clippings, and reports that reflect both Collins's duties as a CWA local officer and her personal political and community interests.
Quantity: 2.75 Linear Feet in 3 boxes and 2 folders
Location: Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to research visit.
Language: Materials are in English
Call Phrase: WAG.089

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Historical/Biographical Note

Eleanore Collins (d. 1994) was born in the Bronx and raised in Elmsford, NY. She graduated from Mount St. Vincent College and later earned a master's degree in industrial labor relations from Pace University. After working briefly for  Reader's Digest and then as a social worker, she took a job as a clerk for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in Manhattan on the eve of World War II. In the early 1950s, she joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Local 1150. In 1954, Collins's clerical job was transferred to White Plains, NY. There she became a steward and was active in organizing and upgrading clerical titles. Thanks in large part to her efforts, AT&T created the new title of Engineering Associate, representing a substantial boost in status and pay for a female-dominated classification. Collins was elected to Local 1150's Executive Board and soon became known for her passionate concern for labor education, women's rights, and white-collar organizing. However, on two occasions, during a bitterly contested Local 1150 election and during the equally rancorous telephone strike, she came into conflict with members of her own and other CWA locals. Controversy over disputed election results in CWA Local 1150's 1958-1959 election occasioned a disciplinary hearing against Eleanore Collins in 1960. In 1971, Collins supported a move by fellow co-workers to return to work at a time when the validity of the picket lines was in question. Other Local members accused Collins of defying union directives. In both cases, charges against Collins were later dismissed. In 1975, Collins joined with a group of White Plains members who broke away from Local 1150 to form a new CWA local, Local 1153. She went on to serve Local 1153 as a board member, convention delegate, education director, and finally as president from 1981 to 1984. In the later years of her career, Collins's concern with union activities and efforts to aid in worker security was inclined toward securing pensions and health benefits for employees and retirees. This concern extended to all those in need of health care, with an emphasis on senior citizens. Collins died in St. Louis, MO in June 1994.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, election materials, minutes, arbitration awards, clippings, and reports that reflect both Collins's duties as a CWA local officer and her personal political and community interests. Ranging from the political to the personal, these papers offer alternative insights into union activities than the insights offered in the official documentation of the CWA. Collins's union activities with CWA, Local 1150 (and later Local 1153) document important work-related issues as well as broader issues of social policy. For example, the cases of co-workers for whom Collins served as a steward highlight issues of gender and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment. In addition, the papers record the shifts in the nature of the female workforce in the telephone industry, which experienced a post-World War II boom due to technological advances and structural changes. A significant amount of material in the collection deals with the impact of AT&T's divestiture during the mid-1980s. Documents concerning divestiture represent the efforts and positions of the CWA at the international as well as the local level. Several files offer statistical analysis on the impact of divestiture in terms of job loss and other issues of concern to the union. A major aspect of Collins's work was her involvement with labor education. She taught at local community colleges, as well as in union-sponsored seminars, and her work is documented through course descriptions, syllabi, lecture notes, stewards' training materials, and lesson plans. Collins was an active participant in many of the CWA's local elections. Information concerning Collins's campaigns, as well as those of her opponents, is well represented in the collection. The types of election materials present, which mostly date from 1978 to 1988, include handbills, flyers, biographies of the candidates, opposing literature, petitions, vote tallies, and special election editions of newsletters. The collection also documents the Local 1150 election in 1958-1959 and the telephone strike of 1971. Included in the documentation of the 1958-1959 election debate is the trial transcript. Background material detailing the charges brought against Collins and the disputed electoral results constitute one folder. Collins's handwritten notes during the trial on her stance on the 1971 CWA strike against AT&T, as well as the other materials used for her defense, highlight the the debate over local versus national authority in regards to the picket lines. An undated file marked "Writings" contains typescript essays written by Collins on subjects such as women's employment in the White Plains unit of ATT, job losses in White Plains, and the telephone strike of 1971 in the New York area. Collins's interest in securing workers' pensions and health benefits, especially for senior citizens, is reflected in her involvement with the Bronx Community Board 12's Health and Hospital Committee and the Westchester Health Action Committee. The collection also documents Collins's service with the White House Conference on Balanced National Growth and Economic Development in 1978. The collection includes thirteen black-and-white photographs, all group shots or portraits of Collins and other unidentified individuals. There is also a postcard depicting the business district of Valhalla, New York and an undated delegate ribbon with a CWA pin attached to it.

Arrangement

Folders are arranged alphabetically.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Collins, Eleanore, -1994
  • Kennedy, James R.
  • Kennedy, Kathy

Document Type

  • Reports.
  • Typescripts.
  • Minutes (administrative records)
  • Photographs.
  • Correspondence.
  • Clippings (information artifacts)

Subject Organizations

  • American Telephone and Telegraph Company
  • Communications Workers of America. Local 1153 (Valhalla, N.Y.)
  • Communications Workers of America. Local 1150 (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Labor unions -- Telecommunication -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Women's rights -- United States.
  • Women labor leaders -- New York (State)
  • Collective bargaining -- New York (State)
  • Strikes and lockouts -- Telephone companies -- New York (State)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright (or related rights to publicity and privacy) for materials in this collection, created by Eleanore Collins was not transferred to New York University. Permission to use materials must be secured from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Eleanore Collins Papers; WAG 089; Box number; Folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Related Material at the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Communications Workers of America, Local 1150 (WAG 059)
Communications Workers of America, Local 1153 Records (WAG 132)
Communications Workers of America Oral History Collection (OH 026), which contains transcripts of two interviews conducted with Eleanore Collins in 1991
Newsletters of the Communications Workers of America, Local 1150 from 1952
Newsletter of the Communications Workers of America, Local 1153 from 1984

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Eleanore Collins donated 80 colors slides in December 1992 and one linear foot of her papers in 1993. After her death in 1994, more materials were donated by Mr. and Mrs. James Kennedy, Eleanore Collins's niece and her husband. The accession numbers associated with these gifts are 1993.001, 1993.007, and NPA 2000.258.

Processing Information

Photographs separated from this collection during processing were established as a separate collection, the Eleanore Collins Photographs (PHOTOS 152). In 2013, the photograph collection was reincorporated into the Eleanore Collins Papers (WAG 089).

In 2014, 80 color slides were separated from the Communications Workers of American Photographs and Videos (PHOTOS 086) and reincorporated into the Eleanore Collins Papers (WAG 089).

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Address Lists
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Adult Education
1972-1973
Box: 1 Folder : 3 AT&T Benefits
1988
Box: 1 Folder : 4 AT&TCOM Bargaining
1985-1989
Box: 1 Folder : 5 AT&T Job Briefs
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 6 AT&T Job Descriptions
1986-1989
Box: 1 Folder : 7 AT&T Managed Health Care
1990
Box: 1 Folder : 8 AT&T Retirees Benefits
1984
Box: 1 Folder : 9 AT&T Telephone Concession Service
1983-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 10 Bell System: Training Material
1968-1970
Box: A006 Folder : 1 CWA 36th Convention Color Slides
1974
Box: 1 Folder : 11 CWA Arbitration
1951-1952
Box: 1 Folder : 12 CWA Arbitration
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 13 CWA Arbitration
1978
Box: 1 Folder : 14 CWA Bargaining
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 15 CWA Bargaining
1989
Box: 1 Folder : 16 CWA Long Lines Bargaining Unit
1962-1964, 1970
Box: 1 Folder : 17 CWA Military Leave of Absence
1957
Box: 1 Folder : 18 CWA Racial Discrimination Case
1984
Box: 1 Folder : 19 CWA Sales Specialist: Job Classification
1979
Box: 1 Folder : 20 CWA Sales Specialist: Job Classification
1980-1981
Box: 1 Folder : 21 CWA Sexual Discrimination Case
1990
Box: 1 Folder : 22 CWA 1971 Strike
1971
Box: 1 Folder : 23 CWA Local 1150 Arbitration
1976
Box: 1 Folder : 24 CWA Local 1150 Arbitration
1986
Box: 1 Folder : 25 CWA Local 1150 Clerical Salary Treatment: Affirmative Action
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 26 CWA Local 1150 Correspondence
1953-1970
Box: 1 Folder : 27 CWA Local 1150 Election
1958-1961
Box: 1 Folder : 28 CWA Local 1150 Election
[1962]
Box: 1 Folder : 29 CWA Local 1150 Election
1972
Box: 1 Folder : 30 CWA Local 1150 Election
undated
Box: 1 Folder : 31 CWA Local 1150 Engineering Associates: History of Title
1952
Box: 1 Folder : 32 CWA Local 1150 Engineering Associates: Job Description
1962-1964
Box: 1 Folder : 33 CWA Local 1150 Engineering Associates: Job Description
1965-1973
Box: 1 Folder : 34 CWA Local 1150 Engineering Associates: Job Titles and Bargaining Unit
1962-1965
Box: 1 Folder : 35 CWA Local 1150 Grievances
1958-1977
Box: 1 Folder : 36 CWA Local 1150 Job Upgrades
1944, 1952, 1966
Box: 1 Folder : 37 CWA Local 1150 Leaflets
1962-1963
Box: 1 Folder : 38 CWA Local 1150 Proposed By-Laws
1960
Box: 1 Folder : 39 CWA Local 1150 Trial Boards
1971
Box: 1 Folder : 40 CWA Local 1150 Trial Transcript 1st Session
1960
Box: 1 Folder : 41 CWA Local 1150 Trial Transcript 2nd Session
1960
Box: 1 Folder : 42 CWA Local 1150 Trial Background material
1960
Box: 2 Folder : 1 CWA Local 1153 Arbitration
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 2 CWA Local 1153 Bargaining
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 3 CWA Local 1153 Correspondence
1979-1981, 1985-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 4 CWA Local 1153 Election
1978
Box: 2 Folder : 5 CWA Local 1153 Election
1981
Box: 2 Folder : 6 CWA Local 1153 Election
1984
Box: 2 Folder : 7 CWA Local 1153 Election
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 8 CWA Local 1153 Election
1988
Box: 2 Folder : 9 CWA Local 1153 Election
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 CWA Local 1153 Finances
1980-1981
Box: 2 Folder : 11 CWA Local 1153 Financial and Advisory Ethics Committee
1976-1980
Box: 2 Folder : 12 CWA Local 1153 General
1976
Box: 2 Folder : 13 CWA Local 1153 Grievances
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 14 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1978
Box: 2 Folder : 15 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1979
Box: 2 Folder : 16 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1983
Box: 2 Folder : 17 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 18 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 19 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1987-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 20 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 21 CWA Local 1153 Job Losses
1990
Box: 2 Folder : 22 CWA Local 1153 Legislative: Human Rights
1978
Box: 2 Folder : 23 CWA Local 1153 Pensions
1981-1985
Box: 2 Folder : 24 CWA Local 1153 Picnic (Police Dispute)
1984
Box: 2 Folder : 25 CWA Local 1153 Workers Compensation Seminar
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Counseling
1985-1987
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Engineering Associates
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 28 Engineering Associates
1988
Box: 2 Folder : 29 Escorts Arbitration Award
1967-1985
Box: 2 Folder : 30 Engineering Associates: Downsizing
1984 1988
Box: 2 Folder : 31 Folk Art
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 32 The Future of Labor and Employment LawPaul Weiler
[1988]
Box: 2 Folder : 33 Grievances Collins, Eleanore
1977
Box: 2 Folder : 34 Grievance Foster, Betty
1989-1992
Box: 2 Folder : 35 Health and Hospitals Committee-Bronx Community Board 12
1986-1987, 1991
Box: 2 Folder : 36 Health and Hospital Committee Report
1991
Box: 2 Folder : 37 Health Coalition Action Group
1989
Box: 2 Folder : 38 International Workers of Long Lines
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 39 "Justice" Button-National Labor Relations Board
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 40 Labor Education General
1971-1975
Box: 2 Folder : 41 Labor Education Lecture Notes
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 42 Legislative General
1975-1976, 1992
Box: 2 Folder : 43 Mayer, Henry(CWA Dissidents)
1958
Box: 2 Folder : 44 Merit Grievances
1966-1967
Box: 2 Folder : 45 Merit System Study
1967
Box: 2 Folder : 46 Mobilization
1988
Box: 2 Folder : 47 Myerscough, George T.
1977
Box: 2 Folder : 48 Newman Club
1957
Box: 2 Folder : 49 New York State Democratic Committee Women's Division
1985-1990
Box: 2 Folder : 50 New York Downstate CWA Council
1965
Box: 2 Folder : 51 Personal Collins, Eleanore
undated
Box: A003 Photographs and Delegate Ribbon
circa 1954, 1990-1991, undated
Box: 2 Folder : 52 Pioneers
1987-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 53 Press Clippings
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 54 Quality of Work Life
1982-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 55 Senior Contract Specialist: Job Description
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 56 Sexual Discrimination
1983
Box: 2 Folder : 57 Sexual Harassment
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 58 Speeches
undated
Box: 2 Folder : 59 Steward Training Class
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 1 Unfair Dismissal Case: Wansi, Emmanuel
1991-1993
Box: 3 Folder : 2 Steward Training Class
1984, 1988
Box: 3 Folder : 3 Steward Training Class Manual
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 4 United Way
1976
Box: 3 Folder : 5 Westchester Health Action Committee
1992
Box: 3 Folder : 6 White House Conference on Balanced National Growth and Economic Development
1977-1978
Box: 3 Folder : 7 White Plains, 440 Hamilton Avenue
1985
Box: 3 Folder : 8 White Plains Organizing Committee
undated
Box: 3 Folder : 9 Women in Unions
1974
Box: 3 Folder : 10 Writings
undated

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