Prepared by Carol A. Beal, February 20, 1979; Prepared for the Web by Justin B. Keiser, July 27, 2000
2 boxes, 1.5 cubic feet, 11th floor
Through the efforts of Debra Bernhardt, Co-Director of the Ohio Labor History Project, the Kent State University archives obtained the records for the International Association of Machinists (IAM), Local 404, from union vice-president Robert Schneibel. On December 20, 1978, Roger Meade delivered the material to the Archives.
Local 404 is a craft union affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). The New Deal Lodge of the IAM was organized in June, 1933, for the machinists, diemakers, and machinery craftsmen in the vicinity of Youngstown, Ohio, and was chartered as Number 404 in July, 1933. The fifty initial members, and most subsequent members, were employees of the Truscon Steel Company, a small manufacturer of iron and steel building products. Proud of their affiliation with the AFL, ALodge 404 has, throughout its history, maintained a competitive relationship with the dominant union at Truscon, the United Steel Workers of America (USW), a Congress of Indestrial Organization (CIO) affiliate. In 1951, the CIO tried to become the bargaining agent for the machinists, buyt was voted down two to one. Since the IAM covered only a minority of the total workers at Truscon, which by 1951 had become a subsidiary of Republic Steel, it had difficulty nogotiating settlements. Indeed the company would settle with the machinists only after settling with "Big Steel" or the production workers covered by the USW of the CIO. Even after the merger of the AFL and CIO in 1955, the two unions at Truscon have fought to maintain the distiction between craft and production jobs. Presently, the IAM represents only forty workers, and the USW, two hundred and fifty.
Scope and Content
The materials in this collection document the founding and first forty years of Local 404 through its minutes, contracts, correspondence. The minutes, which span the period from June, 1933 through February, 1975, offer an interesting perception of the Bread-and-butter issues that occupied union members at the local level. Missing, unfortunately, are the minutes books for July, 1939-June, 1940, as well as those for September, 1956-May, 1959; and January, 1960-October, 1966. The books in this last series were stolen from the recording secretary's car in October, 1966. Also included in the collection are bulletins from the national headquarters of the IAM, job descriptions dating from 1947-1948 and 1958-1960, financial records, and miscellaneous correspondence.
For the period 1947-1971, the collection includes a series of major contracts as well as interim agreements nogotiated during the contract period. Also included are supplemental materials on benefits, contract extensions, and strike planning. These contracts show the continuity of basic labor demands, but also an increasing preoccupation with benefit-related issues. Of particular interest is Folder 29, which deals with the 1959 strike.
Aside from the minutes which have been chronologically arranged within a separate box, the materials have been arranged within topical categories. Correspondence pertaining to contract negotiations, for example, is included in the folders pertaining to the annual contract review.
The contents of this collection offer an incomplete narrative of the history of Local 404, due to the unavailability of many records and to the timeleiness and procedural orientation of what is available. However, if used with historical material about the Truscon Steel Company, general histories of the period, and perhaps even records of the diocese of Youngstown available in this archival depository, the documents of Local 404 should offer the researcher valuable insights onto the concerns of organized labor on the local level.
The Union has agreed to dedicate both literary and property rights to the University Archives.
Folder -- Contents