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Labor History: Unions

A guide to U.S. labor history resources in NYU's Tamiment Library and beyond.


The official AFL-CIO Home Page with links to the pages of its constituent unions, labor education centers at colleges and universities and other sources of information on working people.

American Labor Studies Center
A non-profit organization that collects, analyzes, evaluates, creates and disseminates labor history and labor studies curricula and related materials to educators nationwide. Includes links to labor-related sites and information.

Every Union Website
Use the Big Labor list to locate unions by full name, common name, or acronym.

Historical Statistics of the United States
This subscription database available to the NYU community includes 178 tables of statics on Work and Welfare in Part B, including 18 tables on labor unions.  Topical essays on Labor, Labor Force, Occupations, Wages and Wage Inequality, Hours and Working Conditions, Labor Unions, and Household Production put the statistics into context. 

Industrial Workers of the World
Home page of the Industrial Workers of the World, founded in 1905.

Industrial Workers of the World Photograph Collection
An interpretive online exhibit examining the historical and cultural context of the the Industrial Workers of the World Photograph Collection at the Labor Archives of Washington State, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.

Labor Unions. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977. ISBN: 0837189381. Edited by Gary Fink, this volume provides signed, historical sketches with suggestions for further reading on more than 200 unions and labor federations in the United States. The criteria for inclusion were, "longevity, historical significance, size and economic power, and the influence." Thus the scope is not limited to AFL-CIO affiliates or to unions in existence when the volume was written. Useful appendixes include national affiliations, chronology, union genealogies, executive leadership from the founding, and a glossary. Unions are listed under the first keyword of the organizational name, dropping words like Brotherhood or United. There is an index to names of individuals and organizations.

New York City Central Labor Council
A chartered body of the AFL-CIO that brings together nearly 400 local unions from every trade, occupation, public and private sectors of the New York economy and represents more than one million workers. Find contact information for local NYC unions. 

New York State Department of Labor – Labor Statistics
Find labor market information for New York State, including wages, projections,and the latest job figures.

Service Employees International Union
The fastest growing union in North America. Use the "Find a Local" look-up feature to find contact information for local unions.

Teamsters - International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Home page of the union.  Find locals, leadership personnel, union history, and more.

Union Membership Information from the BLS
See the Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unite Here
UNITE (formerly the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) merged on July 8, 2004 forming UNITE HERE. The union represents more than 450,000 active members and more than 400,000 retirees throughout North America.

Web Archive:  Labor Unions & Organizations
Archived copies of websites collected by the Tamiment Library.  Labor Unions & Organizations contains periodically archived websites of New York City metropolitan area labor unions, especially those whose records are held by the Tamiment Library's Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives (designated by the New York City Central Labor Council as the official repository for their member unions' records). Also contains websites of selected national labor unions; websites of labor movement-related organizations, e.g. organizations that support the goals or activity of organized labor and social and economic justice for working people; and websites that promote democracy within labor unions.  Read more.

Work Stoppages Program and Strike Report from the BLS
The Work Stoppages program provides monthly and annual data and analysis of major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers lasting one full shift or longer and the Strike Report is a summary of strike activity during the Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey reference period.



Images from left to right:
Graphic Arts Unionist, February 1969.
Local 2 Members get vaccinated, 1941. United Automobile Workers of America, District 65 Photographs Collection - Part I: Negatives. ID #: 3218


Also see the Websites tab in this research guide for various and sundry websites related to unions.