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Labor Archives of Washington

 

The Labor Archives of Washington (LAW) was founded in 2010 to preserve the records of working people and their unions and to serve as a center for historical research, ensuring that new generations have access to the rich labor history of the region. A unit of the Special Collections of the University of Washington Libraries, the Labor Archives is a collaborative project of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries. Initial funding for the Archives came largely from the labor movement; the contributions of dozens of unions and hundreds of individuals made this possible. Their names are recorded in the Labor Archives Founders Circle.

Reading Rooom

The Labor Archives contains more than 300 separate collections of labor and labor-related materials from individuals and organizations documenting the local, national, and international dimensions of the labor movement in the Pacific Northwest. Collections document the intersection between labor unions and social justice, civil rights, and political organizations  that feature a labor relations or labor rights dimension as part of their focus.

Subject Guide to Labor and Labor-Related Collections (Finding Aids)

    • Union Collections -  Many unions have made the Labor Archives the official repository for their historical records -- minutes, office correspondence, membership files, publications and contracts.
    • Personal Papers -  Labor leaders, attorneys, arbitrators, and rank-and-file workers, and labor rights supporters have donated their personal papers.
    • Organizational Records -  Records from organizations that supported organized labor, worker's rights, and civil rights and also records from labor critics and opponents. Also included are records of employers, some of which were the collective bargaining partners--and sometimes opponents--of unions.

Online Digital Collections

    • Digital Collections -  LAW has over a thousand photographs and digitized documents showing workers, industrial settings, strikes and union activities, civil rights campaigns, and more.
    • List of Projects:
  • SeaTac-Seattle Minimum Wage History Project, a digital archives of documents and interviews. Including audio and video interviews with dozens of supporters and opponents who were in or affected by the struggles over a $15 minimum wage at SeaTac and in Seattle as well as the broader, ongoing effects and efforts at a national level.
  • Oral History Portal, includes dozens of oral histories that relate to workers and their lives. Particular strengths are oral histories of labor activists and organizers, women, African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Jewish Americans.

    Digitally Preserved Labor Websites

      • Union/Labor Websites - Collection of labor union and labor related websites archived by the Labor Archive svia the Internet Archive

      The Labor Archives of Washington is a member of the The International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI)

    Help Preserve and List Regional Labor Records

    Labor and labor related organizations and cultural institutions: Please take the Labor Archives of Washington's regional records survey

      • The Labor Archives of Washington invites all labor and labor related organizations in the Pacific Northwest with records related to labor history and interrelated civil rights and social justice organizations/activism to participate in the Pacific Northwest Labor Records Survey!
      • For labor and related organizations: This information will give LAW a broader knowledge about where records reside, understand the formats you have and are creating, understand your storage conditions, staffing, and concerns about your records.

      Follow this link to the survey for labor and labor related organizations.

      • For archives, libraries, and cultural institutions: This information will give the LAW a broader knowledge about where records documenting labor history in the region currently reside, enabling us to compile a regional directory of labor historical records as well as integrate this information into the Society of American Archivists, Labor Archives Section’s Labor Archives of the United States and Canada: A Directory.

      Follow this link to the survey for archives, museums, libraries, historical societies and other cultural heritage institutions.

        • This survey is being administered in conjunction with a survey distributed to labor organizations in the state of Washington to gather information on the state of labor historical records within union organizational offices.
          If you’d rather complete the survey over the phone or by paper, just contact Assistant Labor Archivist, Crystal Rodgers at rodgercr@uw.edu or 206-685-6903.
        • Deadline to complete the survey is July 31, 2018. Please forward the survey to colleagues who you know have collections relevant to this survey.

          Affiliated Organizations


              • The Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington- The Bridges Center coordinates the efforts of faculty members throughout the University of Washington to develop and expand labor-related components of the University's curriculum and provide encouragement and assistance to young scholars studying work and workers. The Bridges Center co-founded the Labor Archives of Washington in 2010.