Inventory of the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council Records, 1907-1986

Processed by Kim Klausner; 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
Email: larc@sfsu.edu
URL: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/special/larc.html
© 1999
San Francisco State University. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council Records, 1907-1986

Accession number: 1990/078

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: larc@sfsu.edu
  • URL: http://www.library.sfsu.edu/special/larc.html
Processed by:
Kim Klausner
Date Completed:
1996
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1999 San Francisco State University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council Records,
Date (inclusive): 1907-1986
Accession number: 1990/078
Creator: San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council
Extent: 2.5 cubic feet and 2.5 linear feet (volumes)
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

Access

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 Building & Construction Trades Council Records, 1990/078, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.

Introduction

These records were donated by the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council in 1990. The collection was processed by Kim Klausner in the winter of 1996.

History

The San Francisco Building Trades Council (BTC) was formed in February 1893 by several local unions of carpenters, plasterers, painters, cornice makers, and granite stone cutters to represent the interests of the city's construction trades workers. Under the 29-year reign (1893-1922) of its second president, P. H. McCarthy, the organization grew to considerable influence in San Francisco's vibrant labor movement and in the political realm. In 1908 the BTC affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor. At some point the name of the organization was changed to the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council.
The Trades Council was headquartered at 978 Mission Street when the 1906 earthquake struck. Its building demolished, the BTC authorized P. H. McCarthy to purchase land at the southwest corner of Guerrero and Fourteenth Streets in order to construct a Labor Temple. Plans were drawn up and ground was broken within six months. Incorporation papers for the San Francisco Building Trades Council's Temple Association were signed in June 1907 and the building was officially opened in April 1908 at a dedication ceremony attended by 10,000 people (Barons of Labor, page 102).
The block-long, three-story, steel and concrete structure, fronted by Ionic columns, represented status and equity for the BTC as it emerged as a major player in San Francisco's political scene. The building contained nine meeting halls, a 3,000 seat auditorium, offices for most BTC locals, recreation facilities, and employment services. The BTC had outgrown its space and had already expanded into offices on Market Street when the edifice was destroyed by fire in 1961.
The Temple Association financed the building through a combination of loans provided by local unions and the Anglo American Bank and through $5 membership certificates sold to members of affiliated building trades unions. By 1925, under the astute business leadership of W. H. Bemiss and George Newsom, the Temple Association's first two secretary-building managers, all bank debt had been repaid.
In 1942 the Temple Association board of directors voted "to transfer the control of this Association from individuals to local unions and building and construction trades councils." (Minutes, page 199)
The following is a list of Temple Association officials and their term of offices:

President:

  • P.H. McCarthy 1907-1922
  • Larry Flaherty 1922-1926
  • John T. Burns 1926-1936
  • Frank McDonald 1936-1948
  • Jack Smith 1948- ?

Secretary:

  • W. H. Bemiss 1907-1922
  • George Newsom 1922-1948
  • James (Jimmy) Newsom 1948- ?

Scope and Content

The BTC files are divided into two series: the San Francisco Building Trades Council (later known as the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council) and the San Francisco Building Trades Council's Temple Association. Neither series contain complete records for their respective organization. Types of materials within the collection include articles of incorporation and by-laws, title papers and other real estate documents, membership certificates, minutes, wage rates and statistics handbooks, and financial and membership records. A detailed series list is attached.
Among the earliest materials contained in the collection are those dating from the Temple Association's 1907 incorporators' meeting and also include other documents related to the purchase of the Guerrero Street property. The most current materials are wage rates and statistics handbooks from 1952-1976 and a per capita tax ledger from 1949-1986. Volumes one through six are Local and Office Receipts Ledgers from January 1931 to November 1940 (March-April 1935 are missing).

Additional Information

Bibliography

More information about the BTC can be found in:
  • The Barons of Labor: The San Francisco Building Trades and Union Power in the Progressive Era by Michael Kazin (University of Illinois Press, Urbana: 1987)
  • A History of the Labor Movement in California by Ira B. Cross (University of California, Berkeley: 1935)
  • Golden Anniversary Commemorative Edition of Organized Labor: 1900-1950

Material Cataloged Separately

For related materials on the Temple Association's membership certificates see accession 1995/078 donated by Thelma Gilland.
  1. 8x10 group photo, includes Daniel Del Carlo.

    Relocated to Photograph Collection 4: Subjects A-Z (unprocessed)
  2. Panorama photo, 1958 BTC meeting.

    Relocated to Panorama Photographs (unprocessed)
  3. Booklet, "Pilebutt: Stories & Photographs about Pile Driving."

    Relocated to Ephemera-Pile Drivers, Bridge, Wharf & Dock Builders
  4. By-laws of Displaymen and Show Card Writers' Union, 1937.

    Relocated to Ephemera [check with Carol Cuenod where]
  5. Three union pins.

    Relocated to LARC Button & Badges collection

Series Description

 

Series I: SAN FRANCISCO BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, 1912-1986

Physical Description: 14 folders & 8 volumes

Scope and Content Note

Contains constitution and by-laws, Council meeting minutes from January 1912 to December 1912, January 1913 to September 1913, February 1914, and January 1959 to December 1960. Also included are wage rates and statistics handbooks from 1952 to 1976, two photos, and some membership records from January 1932 to November 1940 (incomplete).
 

Series II: SAN FRANCISCO BUILDING TRADES COUNCIL'S TEMPLE ASSOCIATION, 1906-1962

Physical Description: 6 folders & 2 volumes

Scope and Content Note

Contains articles of incorporation and by-laws, title records for Guerrero Street and Market Street properties, financial record from 1906, membership certificates, minutes from meetings of Temple Association incorporators, its board of directors, and finance committee, and a file on the murder of Dow Wilson.

Container List

 

San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council

Box-folder 1/2

Constitution And By-Laws n.d.

Box-folder 1/3

Official Minutes 1912

Box-folder 1/4

Official Minutes 1913-1914

Box-folder 1/5

Official Minutes 1959-1960

Box-folder 1/6

Sec.-Treas. D. Del Carlo Biography 1951

Box-folder 1/7

Pres. J. O'Sullivan Biography 1981

Box-folder 1/8

Wage Rates & Statistics 1952-1967

Box-folder 1/9

Wage Rates & Statistics 1968-1976

Box-folder 1/10

Union Cards 1940-1981

Box-folder 1/11

Photos 1958/n.d.

Box-folder 1/12

State Btc Handbook & Directory (Copy) 1915

Box-folder 1/13

Sf Labor Council Hall Association 1931

Box-folder 1/14

East Bay Labor Journal 1950

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Unlabeled (Oversize) 1932-1935

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Book 1 (Oversize) 1935-1936

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Book 2 (Oversize) 1936-1938

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Book 3 (Oversize) 1938-1939

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Book 4 (Oversize) 1939-1940

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Local & Office Receipts, Book 5 (Oversize) 1940

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Per Capita Tax 1949-1986

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Cash Disbursements Journal 1930-1936

 

Caricatures: John Hogg & Chris O'Callaghan, (Oversize) 1967-1971

 

San Francisco Building Trades Council's Temple Association

Box-folder 1/15

Articles & By-Laws 1907, 1942

Box-folder 1/16

Deed, Promissory Note, Legal 1907-1910

Box-folder 1/17

Financial Record 1906

Box-folder 1/18

Market St. Property Title Papers 1951-1962

Box-folder 1/19

Membership Certificates 1943

Box-folder 1/20

Dow Wilson 1966-1967

Box-folder 2/1

Membership Certificates (Oversize) 1907

Volume Bnd. Vol.

Minutes (Oversize) 1907-1961