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Guide to the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records WAG.230

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.wagner@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Bonnie Gordon

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 17, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Local 3 (New York, N.Y.)
Source: Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Local 3 (New York, N.Y.)
Title: Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records
Dates [inclusive]: circa 1975-1999
Abstract: Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3 represents workers at certain Bloomingdale's stores in Manhattan. They entered their first contract with Bloomingdale's in 1937. Materials in this collection are primarily from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, and relate to arbitrations, contracts, grievances, picketing, and assorted union activities. The files of Ida Torres, former president of Local 3, are also included in this collection.
Quantity: 17.25 Linear Feet in 17 record cartons and 1 folder in a shared box
Location: Materials 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.230

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Historical/Biographical Note

The organizing drive of Bloomingdale's department store workers began in the 1930s in conjunction with the drive instituted by other New York City department store employees. Despite repeated setbacks and attempts by the store company to hinder their efforts, a majority of the workers signed up as union members and in 1938 Local 3 became the bargaining representative for all Bloomingdale employees. Early membership was around 2,300. In common with other department store locals in New York City (Macy's, Gimbel's, Stern's), Local 3's leadership was left-wing, creating from the outset, friction with the international Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union and its leadership. This friction exacerbated during the McCarthy period in 1948 when three members attempted to oust the Local's leadership on charges of Communism. In the same year, a Congressional sub-committee hearing on Communism investigated the New York City distributive trades. Weakened by McCarthyism, Local 3, along with other department store locals left the RWDSU, and under the aegis of Local 65, established a joint board for Locals 1, 2 and 3, 5, and 1250. The locals eventually merged in 1950 with the United Office and Professional Workers and some locals of the Food and Tobacco Workers Union to form District 65. The department store section of District 65 was an autonomous unit with its own elected officers and stewards. A changed union climate beginning when District 65 rejoined the RWDSU in 1954, the merger of the AFL-CIO in 1955, and prosperity in the country as a whole, served to strengthen Local 3. A major two-week strike in 1965 resulted in a favorable settlement for workers which has, in the words of President John O'Neill, "brought twenty years of peace." Another change in structure occurred in 1969 when District 65 withdrew from the RWDSU. Locals 2, 3, and 5 elected to remain in the International and formed the United Storeworkers Union under the leadership of William Michelson who subsequently was elected President.

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Scope and Content Note

The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records include arbitration files, negotiating information, photographs, and materials related to various union activities, included finances, collective bargaining, health and safety, and picketing. Materials in this collection are primarily from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, though there is some material from mid and late 1990s. The files of Ida Torres, former president of Local 3, are also included in this collection. Included in her files are materials gathered for courses she taught at various labor schools in the New York area.

Arrangement

This collection has not been arranged by an archivist. The materials are arranged in the order in which they were received from the donor.

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Photographs.

Subject Organizations

  • United Storeworkers (Organization). Local 3 (New York, N.Y.)
  • Bloomingdale's (Firm)
  • Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Local 3 (New York, N.Y.)
  • Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Local 3 (New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Department stores -x Employees -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Labor unions -- Organizing -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Labor unions -- New York (State)
  • Labor -- Education.
  • Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Department stores -x Employees -x Labor unions -- New York (State) -- New York.

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The archived website was migrated from the California Digital Library's Web Archiving Service to the Internet Archive's Archive-It Service in November 2015. The link to California Digital Library was removed in October 2017.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the United Store Workers, Local 3, were transferred to New York University in 2003 by the United Store Workers, Local 3. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu, (212) 998-2630.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records; WAG 230; box number; folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu, (212) 998-2630 with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by the United Store Workers, Local 3 in 2003. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 2003.023, 2003.024, and NPA.2000.269.

Processing Information

One folder was separated from this collection during initial processing and was established as a separate collection, the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Photographs (PHOTOS 186). In 2014, the photograph collection was reincorporated into Box 1 of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 3, United Store Workers Records.

In 2014, the archived website was added as a series.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Negotiating Information; Legislative Action Program; Contract Demands; Financial; Photographs
1984-1985
Box: 2 Arbitration and Assorted Files
circa 1980-1989
Box: 3 Local 3 Negotiations
circa 1981-1989
Box: 4 Women's Studies
circa 1975-1985
Box: 5 Contracts; Picketing; Assorted Files
circa 1978-1983
Box: 6 Collective Bargaining
circa 1975-1985
Box: 7 Ida Torres Files
1989
Box: 8 Agreements; Grievances; Health and Safety; Assorted Files
circa 1981-1982
Box: 9 Ida Torres Files
circa 1990-1995
Box: 10 Arbitration Files
circa 1990-1999
Box: 12 Photographs
circa 1980-1995
Box: 11
Box: 13 Letters of Agreement; Negotiations
circa 1975-1995
Box: 15 Photographs
circa 1980-1995
Box: 14
Box: 16 Dues; Financial Files
circa 1977-1985
Box: 17 Union Activities
circa 1990-1999
Box: MSOS006 Folder : 1 Alan Charney Storeworkers
Archived Website

Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) Local 3, United Store Workers Archived Website : Nov 6, 2013-ongoing

[https://wayback.archive-it.org/6349/*/http://www.local3rwdsu.org/]

Scope and Content Note

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU/UFCW), Local 3, founded in 1937, represents more than 2,000 sales clerks, shelf stockers and clerical workers at Bloomingdale's flagship 59th Street store in New York City, with extended protection to workers at the Bloomingdale's SoHo store. The website contains news and event listings, meeting minutes, contract information, and newsletters.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to technical or privacy issues, archived websites may not be exact copies of the original website at the time of the web crawl. Certain file types will not be captured dependent on how they are embedded in the site. Other parts of websites that the crawler has difficulty capturing includes Javascript, streaming content, database-driven content, and highly interactive content. Full-Text searches of archived websites are available at https://archive-it.org/organizations/567.

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