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Inventory of the California State Federation of Labor (CSFL) Photograph Collection #15
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Intoduction
  • History
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: California State Federation of Labor (CSFL) Photograph Collection #15
    Accession number: 1989/072
    Creator: California State Federation of Labor
    Extent: 25 folders
    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], California State Federation of Labor (CSFL) Photograph Collection #15, 1989/072, Labor Archives & Research Center, San Francisco State University.


    This photograph collection was generated by the California State Federation of Labor (CSFL) and its newspaper, the California AFL-CIO News. The collection was donated to the Labor Archives and Research Center by Greg Castillo, Librarian, CSFL Library. This collection was processed by Carol Cuenod under the supervision of Karen Lewis.


    Representatives of sixty-one unions and five central bodies convened in San Francisco, January 1901, and organized the State Federation of Labor. The only group of workers which refused to affiliate was the building trades unions. They, in turn, formed the State Building Trades Council later that same year. This situation was reversed however in 1910 when P. H. McCarthy, President of the Building Trades Council, permitted building trades locals to affiliate with labor councils in their community and with the CSFL.
    The next division occurred in 1936 when locals which affiliated with the emerging Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) either withdrew or were expelled from the CSFL. The CIO unions formed the California Industrial Union Council, which was the second state labor federation until 1956. With the merger of the national AFL and CIO that year, a committee from the two California federations was established. It took almost three years to agree upon merger language which resolved the problems of jurisdiction and feelings of enmity between the two groups.
    One of the major functions of the Federation has been political and legislative activity. They lobby for and against legislation which affects the welfare of workers, and endorse candidates based upon their record and commitments to the labor movement.
    The most powerful office holder in the CSFL is the secretary-treasurer, who usually serves as the Federation's political spokesman in Sacramento as well.

    Scope and Content

    The collection is made up of 147 black and white images, 113 of which are 8" x 10;" the balance range from 2" x 3" to 5" x 7." All photographs are housed in one document box. They span the years from 1934 to 1950. The bulk are in the 1940s.
    There are two series: 1) portraits of individuals or groups of individuals, arranged alphabetically by the key person in the photograph. Others are cross-referenced. 2) Subjects, arranged alphabetically according to headings determined by the archivist. There is a master list of individuals from both series which lists the number(s) of the folder(s) in which the person appears.
    There are images of the CSFL secretary-treasurers--Paul Scharrenberg, Edward Vandeleur, C. J. (Neil) Haggerty, and the presidents--Anthony Noriega, Charles Real and John F. Shelley. Reflecting the political activity of the Federation, there are many photographs of California legislators and governors. Governor Earl Warren is seen addressing the CSFL Convention in 1949, at legislation-signing ceremonies with labor leaders, and speaking at a dedication of a Sailors Union of the Pacific War Memorial. AFL and CIO unity is recorded in two subject folders--the radio broadcast "Unity for Victory" and the Screen Office Employees' Guild strike with picket signs stating "CIO supports AFL Picketline." A major strike in agriculture was at the Di Giorgio Farms in Arvin from October 1947 to May 1950. There are photos of food caravans from supporting unions with men and women unloading boxes of food. Other photos show strikers and supporters with vineyards in the background, men and women pickets with C. J. Haggerty, William Mitchell, President of the National Farm Workers' Union, and William J. Bassett, Secretary-Treasurer, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. There is a dramatic photo of James Price, a strike leader who was shot, lying wounded on the floor (he recovered and continued his leadership in the strike).