Inventory of the San Francisco Labor Council Records, 1902-1976 (predominantly 1965-1973)

Processed by Bill Walker; machine-readable finding aid created by James Lake
Labor Archives and Research Center
San Francisco State University
480 Winston Drive
San Francisco, California 94132
Phone: (415) 564-4010
Fax: (415) 564-3606
© 1999
San Francisco State University. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the San Francisco Labor Council Records, 1902-1976 (predominantly 1965-1973)

Accession number: 85-3

Labor Archives & Research Center

San Francisco State University

San Francisco, California

Contact Information:

  • Labor Archives & Research Center
  • San Francisco State University
  • 480 Winston Drive
  • San Francisco, California 94132
  • Phone: (415) 564-4010
  • Fax: (415) 564-3606
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Bill Walker
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1999 San Francisco State University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: San Francisco Labor Council Records,
Date (inclusive): 1902-1976
Date (bulk): (predominantly 1965-1973)
Accession number: 85-3
Creator: San Francisco Labor Council
Extent: 56 cubic feet and 77 bound volumes of newspaper
Repository: San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
San Francisco, California 94132
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


Official records of the San Francisco Labor Council have been generated on a continuing basis since its organization in 1892. Early records were lost in the 1906 fires. Most of the records produced since that time until 1964 were placed in the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley in 1969.
This group of records was placed in the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University by the SFLC in 1985. The collection was appraised by LARC director Lynn A. Bonfield who organized the boxing and transferral of its contents during the summer and fall of 1985. Rough processing, arrangement and description of the collection was done by Bill Walker under the supervision of Lynn A. Bonfield and LARC archivist Leon Sompolinsky in the spring of 1987.


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], San Francisco Labor Council Records, 85-3, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.


The San Francisco Labor Council was organized in 1892 and received its charter from the American Federation of Labor in May of 1893. In 1958 it merged with the San Francisco Congress of Industrial Organizations' Industrial Union Council, some 3 years after the national AFL-CIO merger.
The SFLC is the primary voice of organized labor in San Francisco, currently representing (1987) 130 affiliated union locals with close to 80,000 total members. In the late 1960s membership stood at over 200,000 represented by 150 local bodies. The largest locals came from the service and retail trades, the various machinist and building trades and the numerous marine industries.
The San Francisco Labor Council is one of the major bodies in the California State Federation of Labor and continues to play an active role in the international AFL-CIO.
The SFLC is governed by its Executive Council, members of which are elected by the general membership. The Council is represented by the elected Secretary/Treasurer, who conducts the daily business of the SFLC. Papers of the two of the Secretary/Treasurers are included in this collection. George W. Johns succeeded John F. Shelley in this office in 1950 when Shelley was elected to the U.S. Congress. Johns served until his retirement in 1972. He was replaced by his assistant secretary John F. Crowley who served until his untimely death in 1985. He is succeeded by Walter Johnson, current Secretary/Treasurer of the SFLC.

Scope and Content

The Records in this collection primarily reflect the activities of the SFLC during the 1960s and early 1970s. A number of individual items and files, two of the record series, and most of the long newspaper runs document earlier history of the SFLC and it's affiliates.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of the office files of the SFLC and the personal activities files of two of it's chief officers, George W. Johns and John F. Crowley, from the early 1960s to 1974. This was a period of great social change in America and in San Francisco, and this is reflected in the record of the Labor Council and it's spokesmen. Both Johns and Crowley served on a wide variety of civic and social action boards and commissions, representing not only their personal views but, at least symbolically, that of organized labor. Their papers, and the official files of the SFLC, are filled with material relating to these activities, taken as a whole, these papers document significant facts of the complex social history of San Francisco during this period. Materials are held which relate to civil rights, housing and urban development, poverty, education, the criminal justice system, and changes in the economic base and government of the city.
In addition to this wide range of outside activities, these files also reflect the daily business of the SFLC itself and it's relationship to the many affiliate locals as well as current labor actions, sanctions and boycotts. In addition, records of the Law and Legislative Committee and the Committee on Political Education (COPE) document labor's efforts to represent it's constituency and influence change in local and state legislation and elections.
Among the documents in the collection created before 1960, there are a number of particular interest. The bound volumes of The Labor Clarion, San Francisco Labor and Northern California Labor chronicle the local labor movement nearly continuously from 1902 on.
Also housed in the collection are bound minutes and reports of the Allied Printing Trades Council, and associate body composed of the numerous unions involved in the printing trades. These volumes span most of the years from 1910 to 1963 and document the tremendous changes which occurred in the industry and it's workforce during this period.
A small but significant volume is the bound minutes of the Asiatic Exclusion League, of which the SFLC was a charter member, from 1906 to 1910. This group attempted to document the inferiority of the various Asian races and agitate against their immigration to the United States.
Among the committee records are files which predate the bulk of the collection. The Labor Day Parade files contain letters, reports and papers relating to the demise of the traditional Labor Day Parade in San Francisco in the early 1950s and it's eventual replacement with locally written & produced television specials which were aired on Labor Day for several years. Scripts for these programs from 1955, 1956 and 1957 are included.
The files of the Constitution and Bylaws Revision Committee contain some materials relating to the 1955-56 changes in the SFLC Constitution as well as a larger number from 1956-61 reflecting the merger of the local AFL and CIO affiliates and the later loss of the Teamsters locals. Lists of member locals with their current enrollments, number of delegates and yearly financial contribution to the SFLC are included in some of these files.
Of particular note to historians of racial issues and civil rights are two documents relating to blacks in San Francisco in 1962-63. Attached to the minutes of the Executive Committee for 7/18/63 is a photocopy report on "Negro Unemployment" in San Francisco. In the 1962/63 file of the Law & Legislative Committee is a 25 page report from the Superintendent of Schools outlining the racial makeup of the city and it's schools in 1962.
As of June 1987 this collection has only been roughly processed. It should be understood that assessment of the contents and significance of the collection are tentative and will be revised as time and staffing allow further processing to occur.

Newspapers Published by the San Francisco Labor Council

Labor Clarion
Vol. 1-46
Date: (Feb. 1902 - Mar. 1948)
San Francisco Labor
Vol. 1-21
Date: (Apr. 1951 - Apr. 1973)
Northern California Labor
Vol. 22-31
Date: (May 1973 - Apr. 1981)

Container List


Series 1: Official Bulletin & Minutes

Box 1

Bulletin & Minutes - Bound Volumes 1948-1973


Series 2: Secretary/Treasurer's Papers & Activity Files


George Johns

Box 2

SCOPE (State Committee On Political Education) 1966-?

Box 3


Box 4

Miscellaneous Job Training

Box 5

SFSU Strike(s) 1969-1970

Box 6

Bay Area Crusade


John Crowley

Box 7

SF School Commission, Medical Health Plan

Box 8

SF School Commission

Box 9

Manpower Development & Training Act (MDTA)


Manufacturing Employment, Building Trades Juvenile Justice Committee, Hospital Planning, City Employees Strike 3/70

Box 10

St. Mary's Hospital, City College Board, Board of Permit Appeals, Welfare Commission, Bay Area Regional Planning


SF Charter Revision

Box 11

SF Charter Revision

Box 12

SF Charter Revision

Box 13

Economic Opportunity Council (EOC)

Box 14


Box 15

CAP Grant, Home Health Aide Grant


Series 3: Office Files


Subject/Correspondence Files (1965-1972)

Box 16

1965 A-C

Box 17

1965 C-M

Box 18

1965 M-Z

Box 19

1966 A-H

Box 20

1966 H-Z

Box 21

1967 A-H

Box 22

1967 H-M

Box 23

1967 M-Z, 1968 A-C

Box 24

1968 H-Cal

Box 25

1968 D-W

Box 26

1969 A-P

Box 27

1969 P-Z

Box 28

1970 A-SF

Box 29

1970 SF-Z, 1971 A-SF

Box 30

1971 SF-Z

Box 31

1972 A-SF

Box 32

1972 SF-Z


Labor Organizations Files (1965-1972)

Box 33

1965/66 A-N

Box 34

1965/66 O-Z

Box 35

1967/68 A-0

Box 36

1967/68 O-Z

Box 37

1969/70 A-O

Box 38

1969/70 O-Z

Box 39

1970 A-SF

Box 40

1970 SF-Z, 1971 A-M

Box 41

1971/72 M-Z


Day (Chronological) Files (1960-1969)

Box 42



Series 4: Financial Records

Box 43-44



Series 5: Committee Records

Box 45

Executive Committee (1962-1969)


Elections Committee (1960-1977)


Credentials Committee (1963-1969)


Law & Legislative Committee (1962-1972)


Delano Caravan Committee (12/66-6/68)


Special Committee on Health (1966)


Labor Day Parade (1952-1957)

Box 46

Community Service Committee (1962-1967)


Constitution and Bylaws Revision Committee (1954-1971)


Committee on Political Education (COPE)

Box 47


Box 48


Box 49


Box 50



Series 6: San Francisco Labor Newspaper Files

Box 51



Series 7: Union Hall Association

Box 52


Box 53

Legal Papers, Financial Ledgers


Series 8: Allied Printing Trades Council

Box 54

Minutes, Bound 8/10-4/11


Minutes, Bound 10/12-3/14


Minutes, Bound 3/14-6/17

Box 55

Minutes, Bound 7/17-7/23


Minutes, Bound 8/23-7/30


Joint Council on Closer Affiliation


Minutes, Bound 10/19-6/22

Box 56

Minutes, Bound 8/30-3/37


Minutes, Bound 5/37-12/49


Minutes, Bound 1/50-12/63