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Inventory of the Carpenters Local 180, Vallejo. United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, 1900-1981
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Carpenters Local 180, Vallejo. United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America,
    Date (inclusive): 1900-1981
    Accession number: 1997/076
    Creator: United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America. Local 180
    Extent: 1.25 cubic feet
    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


    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], Carpenters Local 180, Vallejo. United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, 1997/076, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    The United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America, Local 180 donated these records in June 1997. They were processed by Kim Klausner in July of that year.


    In 1881, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners formed as a national trade union; San Francisco's Local 22 organized the following year. In May 1899, 52 carpenters in Vallejo applied for a local charter and the next month held their first meeting as Local 180 of the carpenters union. M.B. Grace was acting chairman of the organizing group and J.A. Andrews presided at its first meeting. Later that year, Local 180 joined with the Shipwrights, Joiners & Boatbuilders Union to form the Trades and Labor Council of Vallejo, a group now known as the Solano County Central Labor Council.
    In its early years (1899) Local 180 was successful in obtaining the eight-hour day and soon expanded its role to offer a health and welfare plan (1900), one of the first of its kind in the country. Later it represented carpenters at Mare Island's military installation and others working in the fast-growing Solano County.
    Business agents have been William Leshe, 1949 to 1973; Joseph McGrogan (1973-1989), Gary Ross (1989-1994), and Curtis Kelly (1994-present). * Percy Lunn preceded Leshe as business agent.
    * the title is now Senior Field Representative

    Scope and Content

    An incomplete set of Local 180's executive board meeting minutes comprise the bulk of the collection. The minutes start in 1900, a year after the Local began, and continue through 1981, with gaps from 1902 to 1904 and 1917 through 1941. Until 1967 handwritten minutes were kept in bound volumes; after that date they were typed. A few financial statements are included with the minutes and there is a letter from William Leshe, the Local's business agent, with the 1973 minutes.
    Other items include membership applications from 1908 through 1912; a letter from a dentist detailing treatment of a union member is included with the applications.
    There is a small file about jurisdictional disputes with other building trades unions that includes badly deteriorated xerographic copies of job site photographs that have been copied onto acid-free paper.
    Lastly, there is a file that had been marked "history" that contains a news clipping from about April 1957 of the union's history; a handwritten chronology; an ACLU leaflet decrying vigilantism in Santa Rosa, probably from the 1930s; two 1902 pamphlets advertising the American Federationist and other AFL materials; and a 1923 "Injunction Decree" enjoining implementation of the American Plan, * a business strategy ultimately harmful to the union.
    *Definition of "American Plan":
    During the early 1920's business leaders were anxious to curb the strength which unions had gained during World War I. They backed an anti-union campaign aimed at maintaining the open shop, an arrangement which meant that an employer was free to hire any workers he chose regardless or whether or not they belonged to a union. In practice, managements usually discriminated against hiring union members. More important, however, a group of workers was usually unable to force its employer to engage in collective bargaining because no union repre- sented them. State employers groups helped organize open shop associations throughout the country and gave this principle the patriotic name "American Plan."
    ( The Labor Reference Book, Adrian A. Paradis)

    Related Collections

    For further information on the Carpenter's Union refer to the following sources in the LARC collection.
    • Vallejo Labor Journal: Nov. 1920 - July 1922, 1925, 1930-1931, July 1955 - Dec. 1970 (the Labor Archives has a run of this periodical for the time periods listed).
    • Building California: The Story of the Carpenter's Unionby Paul Bullock (Center for Labor Research and Education, Institute for Industrial Relations, UCLA, 1982). Location: Labor Archives Book Collection.