Scope and Content
Important Subjects and Personalities
Title: Sign, Display and Allied Crafts Union - Local 510 Records,
Date (inclusive): 1901-1969
Date (bulk): (bulk 1956-1968)
Accession number: 1986/008 & 1986/082
Display and Allied Crafts Union - Local 510
Extent: 1.0 cubic feet
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.
Collection is open for research.
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.
[Identification of item], Sign, Display and Allied Crafts Union - Local 510 Records, 1986/008 & 1986/082, Labor Archives &
San Francisco State University.
This collection of records and miscellaneous materials from the Sign, Display
and Allied Crafts Union, Local 510 was donated to the Labor Archives and
Research Center through the courtesy of Michael Harderman of Local 510 in
February 1986 and made available for research in June 1987. The collection
was processed and arranged by Loren C. Pigniolo, archives intern, Spring 1987.
Organization of this union began in the winter of 1899-1900 when tradesman
Peter J. Doyle became "greatly perturbed" over issues such as non-standard
hours, shops working 9 or 10 hours days without formal overtime, and low wages
which averaged $3.00 per day for sign painters, and $2.00 for helpers on a six
day week basis. Doyle gathered "a dozen or so men who were willing to form a
union and applied for a charter" which was granted March 10, 1900 by the
Brotherhood of Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers of America.
Upon arrival of the Charter, the first formal meeting was held in a rented
hall on City Hall Avenue, San Francisco, March 27, 1900. The obligation was
given and temporary officers were appointed. It was known as Brotherhood of
Painters, Decorators and Paperhangers of America, Local 132. (When first
chartered, the parent Brotherhood was having difficulty with an Eastern
faction which had seceded. That group later asked to rejoin on condition that
their old charter numbers be returned, so the original charter was returned
and Local Union Charter 510 was given in its place.)
1900, Tuesday, April 10: this marked the third meeting which set about to
enforce the 8 hour day, and set a minimum wage for the various classes of
painters and helpers. These proposals were all accepted by employers. The
union continued to add members during 1900 to close with 54 members in good
standing their first year.
Some further highlights of the early years of Local 510:
- 1902, March: the Union doubled dues and initiation fees, and a new higher scale of wages went into effect.
- 1902, March 10: Local Union 510 "had the distinction of being the first union in the Brotherhood to initiate a woman--Miss
May Longest, a sign and pictorial artist who later opened a studio in San Jose."
- 1903: moved to Building Trades Temple, 927 Mission Street, San Francisco.
- 1904 saw the rise of the Citizens' Alliance which launched an open shop campaign, with no lasting success.
- 1906: the earthquake and fire managed to injure only one member. All the records of Local Union 510 remained intact except
the books of 1900-1901 and the union seal.
- 1910: J.M. Mahaffey unsuccessfully attempted to have Local 510 secede from the Brotherhood (as they had in Los Angeles and
Salt Lake City) to join his Sign and Pictorial Painters of America.
- 1915 proved a good year for Local Union 510 as many painters came from around the country to work in San Francisco during
- 1930: the seven hour day was instituted with wages of $12.00 per day.
- 1932: during the depression, a wage reduction of 10% was instituted. Several months later wages were lowered an additional
15%, provoking a 14 week long strike in 1933--Local 510's first.
- 1939: The scenic Artists of Northern California & Nevada (formerly Local 621) affiliated with Local 510. Show Card Writers
and Displaymen, Local 319 were also absorbed into the membership of Local 510 the same year.
- Since World War II, "notable changes" have occurred under the guidance of Richard Wendelt, Business Representative for Local
The current name of this union is Sign, Display and Allied Crafts Union, Local 510.
Scope and Content
Except for the minutebook, Pension Trust records, printed price lists and
misc. papers, the physical bulk of the material included in this collection
concerns the technical training, methods, materials and styles studied and
used by the members of Local 510. The formal training received by union
members was regarded as being of high quality and gave Union membership an
increased value as it also implied card carriers were skilled, thoroughly
In cases where they were more relevant to other organizations, subjects, or
for proper storage, certain materials have been removed from the collection.
These are listed at the end of the inventory section. In the collection
proper will also be found sheets listing removed materials.
Important Subjects and Personalities
- Minutes excerpts regarding San Francisco General Strike
- Information regarding Pension Trust and amendments
- Original Charter, Local 510
- Constitutions and By-Laws
- Price lists for sign work, working rules, agreements, etc.
- Technical material pertaining to training of sign painters, art and sign techniques
- Roster of Painting & Decorating Contractors of SF operating under joint labor agreement of June 10, 1938
- Dave Russ Painting Company
- Richard Wendelt
- May Longest