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Finding Aid to the Bay Area Typographical Union. Local 21 (San Francisco, Calif.) Records
larc.ms.0001  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Collections
  • Acquisition
  • Processing Information
  • Arrangement
  • History
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Contents

  • Title: Bay Area Typographical Union. Local 21 (San Francisco, Calif.) records
    Date (bulk): 1906-1990
    Date (inclusive): 1842-1998
    Creator: Bay Area Typographical Union. Local 21 (San Francisco, Calif.)
    Collection number: larc.ms.0001
    Accession number: 1985/001, 2013/009, 2011/009, and 2009/021
    Extent: 75.5 cubic ft. (26 cartons, 114 boxes, including 7 oversize boxes, 8 bound volumes)
    Repository: Labor Archives and Research Center
    J. Paul Leonard Library, Room 460
    San Francisco State University
    1630 Holloway Ave
    San Francisco, CA 94132-1722
    (415) 405-5571
    larc@sfsu.edu
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English.
    Abstract: The Bay Area Typographical Union (BATU) collection contains organizational records and materials donated by the San Francisco Typographical Union Local 21, the bulk consisting of the records of Local 21, Oakland Local 36, Palo Alto Local 521 and San Jose Local 231. The records include organization histories, historical documents and memorabilia, administrative records, files on contracts and negotiations, International Typographical Union material, membership documentation, apprenticeship and journeyman records, financial ledgers and records, samples of printing art and technology, printed materials, commemoratives and medals, photographs, and an addition of records from the office of the president.
    Location: Materials are stored offsite; requires advance notice.

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives and 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 and 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], Bay Area Typographical Union. Local 21 (San Francisco, Calif.) Records, larc.ms.0001, Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University.

    Related Collections

    International Typographical Union Minutes, 1849-1853. 1 Volume. The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Acquisition

    The Bay Area Typographical Union (BATU) collection was donated by the BATU in January, 1985, accession number 1985/001. The following accessions have been incrporated into the initial accession: 2013/009, Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 39521; 2011/009, International Typographical Union records; and 2009/021.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Labor Archives and Research Center staff; additional processing by Alexandria Post. Additions to collection processed as received.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Printing industry--Employees--Labor unions--California.
    Printing industry--California--San Francisco.
    Printers--California.
    Labor unions--California--San Francisco.
    Strikes and lockouts--Newspapers.

    Arrangement

    The Bay Area Typographical Union, Local 21 records are arranged in fourteen series, some of which have been further arranged in subseries
    • Series 1: Minutes
    • Series 2: History
    • Series 3: Administrative Files
    • Series 4: Contracts and Negotiations
    • Series 5: International Typographical Union
    • Series 6: Membership
    • Series 7: Apprenticeship
    • Series 8: Financial Records
    • Series 9: Technology and Art
    • Series 10: Printed Material
    • Series 11: Commemoratives and Medals
    • Series 12: Photographs
    • Series 13: Oversize Material
    • Series 14: President's Records

    History

    As the San Francisco Bay Area's oldest trade union, Bay Area Typographical Union Local No. 21 can trace its roots back to the Gold Rush when, in 1850, printers in San Francisco first organized the Pacific Typographical Society to protest wage cuts. In 1855, the Union obtained a charter from the National Typographical Union and became Local No. 21. The local survived in various forms and was instrumental in the formation of the short-lived San Francisco Trades Union. It fought a constant battle against deflation and falling wages, but a strike in 1870 against the San Francisco Call and Bulletin crushed the local. No union for printers existed in San Francisco for two years until the local reorganized as the San Francisco Typographical Union and secured a charter from the International Typographical Union (ITU) in 1872. During the 1890s, women printers won the right to become union members and to equal pay in union shops. Local 21 was one of the first unions, locally as well as nationally, to do so.
    During the first two decades of the 20th century, the local successfully fought open shop campaigns and attempts at wage cuts, and preserved the eight hour day. In the post-war years, Local 21 faced the challenges all unions endured under the Taft-Hartley Act and offered vigorous resistance against it, as did the entire ITU. The 1950s began an era of expansion in contract bargaining as Local 21 negotiated broader health and life insurance benefits. The sixties and seventies were characterized by major strikes and Local 21's printers walked picket lines repeatedly to protect working conditions, wages, benefits and the very right to have a union. Despite the strikes, the local continued to expand through the seventies and eighties, and merged with other locals such as Local 729 in San Rafael, Local 389 in Vallejo, and Local 577 in Santa Rosa. In 1998, Local 21 merged with The Northern California Newspaper Guild to form the Northern California Media Workers Guild/Typographical Union, Local 39521 of The Newspaper Guild sector of Communications Workers of America. Following several more mergers, the Guild is now called Pacific Media Workers Guild, Local 35921.

    Bibliography

    Knight, Robert E.L. Industrial Relations in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1900-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960.
    Interview with Leon Olsen, President of BATU #21 and Ed Nielsen, Secretary-Treasurer of BATU #21.
    Selvin, David. A Century of Democratic Unionism: San Francisco Typographical Union Centennial. San Francisco, San Francisco Typographical Union, 1972.
    Selvin, David. "History of the San Francisco Typographical Union". Unpublished M.A. thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1933.
    Selvin, David. Sky Full of Storm. Berkeley: Institute of Industrial Relations, University of California, 1966; San Francisco: California Historical Society, 1975.

    Scope and Contents

    The Bay Area Typographical Union (BATU) collection contains organizational records and materials donated by the San Francisco Typographical Union Local 21, the bulk consisting of the records of Local 21, Oakland Local 36, Palo Alto Local 521 and San Jose Local 231. The records include organization histories, historical documents and memorabilia, administrative records, files on contracts and negotiations, International Typographical Union material, membership documentation, apprenticeship and journeyman records, financial ledgers and records, samples of printing art and technology, printed materials, commemoratives and medals, photographs, and an addition of records from the office of the president.
    The earliest piece in the collection is an 1842 British union card of a San Francisco Typographical Union member who immigrated from Liverpool, England. Many records prior to April 1906 were destroyed in the earthquake and fire of that year, and the San Francisco Typographical Union was relocated shortly thereafter. The BATU office has retained most files from 1980 onward.
    The BATU Local 21 minutes span 1906-1996. Minutes prior to 1906 were destroyed in the fires caused by the 1906 Earthquake. Beginning in 1916, the minutes were bound and contained the San Francisco Typographical Union Local 21 Official Bulletin mailed to members. The Bulletin announced the date and time of the next union meeting, gave a monthly account of union financial transactions, listed union officers, delegates to other bodies and local committee members and published a directory of San Francisco union printing shops. Standard minutes included Report on the Committee on Membership, Secretary's Report, Treasurer's Report, a detailed Executive Committee Report, Reports of other committees (Label Committee, Scale Committee, etc.), Reports of delegates to other bodies, and visiting delegates. This format continued until 1948 when the minutes were printed in the Typographical Union Bulletin, a newsletter which also included stories about the local and its members. The minutes are a lively and detailed record of history of Local 21.
    The History Series Group contains many single items collected by Morris Goldman, BATU's first Vice President. Most of these items date from the 1880s and include notices for social events, working and traveling cards, articles on the union and on individual members, election notices, lists of officers, and union pamphlets. All material in this series is from SF Local 21.
    The largest series, and most recent addition to the collection, President's Records (1962-1998), contains contracts and negotiation records, grievance and discharge reports, arbitration records, merger documents, and miscellany. The bulk of the records were produced or collected by the office of Local 21 President, Charles Tobias (1990-2001).