Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding Aid to the Rene Battaglini oral history, 1979, MS 3539
MS 3539  
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Contains a transcribed copy of Lucille Kendall's 1979 interviews with San Francisco labor organizer Rene Battaglini documenting his involvement in the labor movement of the 1930s and 1940s in San Francisco, as well as the history of the San Francisco hotel strikes of 1937 and 1941-1942.
As a member and officer of Local 44 of the Hotel & Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union, Rene Battaglini was active in the San Francisco labor movement of the 1930s and 1940s, serving leadership roles in the hotel strikes of 1937 and 1941-1942. Born in Grenoble in 1905, Battaglini received his early labor education in France, where he participated in the syndicalist trade union movement. After stints in the French army and as a sous chef in Singapore, Battaglini moved to San Francisco, where he found work as a cook at the St. Francis Hotel, joining the Cooks' Union, Local 44, in 1931. The 1937 hotel strike was the turning point in Battaglini's labor career. During the strike, he headed Local 44's Patrol Office, later serving on the Board of Arbitration to establish a new contract. He then ran for union office on the progressive, rank-and-file ticket, holding successive offices as recording secretary, secretary-treasurer, and president of the Cooks' Union. As a union officer, he was active in the organization and conduct of the 1941-1942 hotel strike. At the age of 37, Battaglini was drafted into military service, serving in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) behind enemy lines. When he returned from the war, he resumed his duties as president of the Cooks' Union, a position he held until 1948, after efforts were made by the International Union to oust him and other suspected communists and communist sympathizers from office. Unable to find work as a cook in San Francisco, Battaglini returned to France and studied at the Sorbonne. Eventually, he moved back to San Francisco, where he began a new trade as a ship's clerk, joining Local 34 of the International Warehousemen's and Longshoremen's Union (ILWU).
1 folder (0.1 Linear feet)
Copyright has been assigned to California Historical Society. Materials in these collections are protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) and may not be used without permission of California Historical Society. Use may be restricted by terms of CHS gift or purchase agreements, privacy and publicity rights, licensing terms, and trademarks. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
CHS is not taking appointments for research at this time. Please check the Library's website updates: https://californiahistoricalsociety.org/collections/north-baker-research-library/ Readers must sign an agreement of use form.