Scope and Content of Collection
Title: California and West Coast labor and industrial relations, selected publications
Bulk Dates: 1945-1980
Collection number: IRLE-LB01
University of California, Berkeley--Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
1,169 digital objects
University of California, Berkeley. Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-5555
Abstract: During the mid-twentieth century, the American Labor Movement reached a pinnacle of power and influence within society. The
extent of labor's reach was often seen in its concerted efforts to secure better pay, better working conditions and reliable
pensions for its members. This digital repository enables scholars to study broad trends in U.S. labor and industrial relations
by providing access to original materials from a variety of authors, organizations and government agencies, which together
provide a multi-disciplinary perspective on the life and times of the labor movement between 1945 and 1980. The collection
includes original documents, pamphlets, company publications, union reports, student papers and theses, and is divided into
five areas of focus: General Labor; Longshore Workers; Minority Workers; Older Workers; and Personnel Policies.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages represented in the collection:
Collection is open for research.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the
Head Librarian, The Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) Library, 2521 Channing Way, #5555, University of
California, Berkeley 94720-5555. Consent is given on behalf of The IRLE Library as the owner of the physical items and does
not constitute permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/library/digitalcollections/permissions.html
California and West Coast labor and industrial relations, selected publications, IRLE-LB01. Institute for Research on Labor
and Employment Library, University of California, Berkeley.
The collection represents publications collected by the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library.
During the mid-twentieth century, the American Labor Movement reached a pinnacle of power and influence within society. The
Second World War required that labor be managed as a strategic resource; the high productivity of workers during the war carried
over in the peace time economy, which experienced a sustained economic "boom." Unlike European labor relations, where unions
play an "official" role in government, the American trade union system does not allow for an official "place at the table"
for unions. U.S. labor unions nonetheless wielded extensive political power and also were in a position to influence social
policy in a wide of array of areas.
The extent of labor's reach was often seen in its concerted efforts to secure better pay, better working conditions and reliable
pensions for its members. These priorities spilled over into the non-unionized workplace, where management actively sought
to stay "union-free" by matching or improving upon union benefits. It could be argued that workers benefited from this competition.
However, even as labor reached the apex of its power, it was already becoming more bureaucratic, more institutional and less
bold in its actions. At the same time, management associations remained virulently anti-union, and the Cold War triggered
widespread probes of unions as potential "hot beds" of communist activity. Even as the U.S. labor movement reached many of
its goals with respect to policy and influence, it found itself beset from all directions with competing and even hostile
forces within the fabric of society.
This multi-disciplinary collection captures some of the flavor of the times. It provides original documents, pamphlets, company
publications, union reports, student papers and theses that explore the state of American Labor during these heady years.
The collection has five areas of focus:
- General labor
- Longshore Workers
- Minority Workers
- Older Workers
- Personnel Policies
The General Labor category offers a cross-section of materials that breathe life into the debate about the leading issues
of the times. Longshore Workers explores the tumultuous post-war history of the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association,
with original materials from both organizations as well as related materials. Minority Workers made important strides in the
workplace, both during World War II and in the years following the war. It could be argued that the workplace of the 1950s
was a front line in the civil rights movement, because work was a forum where all kinds of people came together for a common
purpose. Older Workers and Personnel Policies both explore societal attitudes toward the work force, which was comparatively
"youthful" at the time, but was certain to "age" as the twentieth century progressed. Personnel Policies, including pension
policies of the era reveal a direct look at how policy making was formed and implemented.
This digital collection was funded by the University of California Labor and Employment Research Fund (LERF). The Fund enabled
the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Library to digitize a large percentage of the Federation's publications.
Scope and Content of Collection
This digital repository enables scholars to study broad trends in U.S. labor and industrial relations. It provides access
to original materials from a variety of authors, organizations and government agencies, which together provide a multi-disciplinary
perspective on the life and times of the labor movement between 1945 and 1980.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in
the library's online public access catalog.
Aging--Economic aspects--United States.
Discrimination in employment
Labor unions and communism
Migrant agricultural laborers
Older people--Economic conditions.
Wages and labor productivity