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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. Click here for the new 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.

Digitally Preserved Labor Websites

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

Online Exhibits

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Labor Archives of Washington

Special Collections

University of Washington Libraries

Box 352900

Seattle, WA 98195-2900

United States of America


Phone Number

  • Office: (206) 685-3976

Email Address

  • cmcasey@uw.edu
Harry Bridges bust

Related Resources

Getting Started in Using Special Collections

Video Tour of the Labor Archives and How to Get Started in Research

      Related Collections

        • International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Ann Rand Memorial Library and Archives- Online selection of the publications of the ILWU and its precursor organizations. Digital resources include the The Dispatcher digital archive, 1942-2014; Voice of the Federation digital archive, 1935-1941; and the Waterfront Worker digital archive, 1932-1935.
        • Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory- The directory is organized by state, then by repository, with Canadian repositories listed last. Please contact officers of the Labor Archives Roundtable, Society of American Archivists, if you have additions, comments, corrections, or questions
        • Map of Labor Archives in the United States and Canada: A Directory- Interactive map of directory above, created by Conor Casey for the Labor Archives Roundtable.

        Labor and Public History Websites

          • Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects- Labor and civil rights movements have been central to the Pacific Northwest's history and remain a powerful force in contemporary society and politics. This page is a gateway to a set of labor and civil rights history projects directed by Professor James N. Gregory at the University of Washington and supported by the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for the Study of Pacific Northwest.
          • HistoryLink.org- Welcome to the first and largest encyclopedia of community history created expressly for the Internet. HistoryLink.org is an evolving online encyclopedia of Washington state and local history. It provides a free, authoritative, and easily accessible history reference for the benefit of students, teachers, journalists, scholars, researchers, and the general public.

            Labor Landmark Maps and Walking Tours of the Pacific Northwest


                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.

                    Tacoma Labor Landmarks Walking Tour

                    Tacoma Labor Landmarks Walking Tour.pdf — PDF document, 5,648 kB (5,784,429 bytes)

                    Walking Tour Centralia brochure draft

                    Walking Tour Centralia brochure draft.pdf — PDF document, 264 kB (270,475 bytes)

                    Walking Tour for Centralia Tragedy Commemoration

                    Walking_Tour_for_Centralia_Tragedy_Commemoration_Oct._23,_2009.docx — application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document, 12 kB (12,828 bytes)

                    Vancouver Labor History Walking Tour

                    Vancouver Labor Walking Tour.pdf — PDF document, 7,159 kB (7,330,830 bytes)

                    Vancouver Labor History Walking Tour

                    Vancouver Labor Walking Tour.pdf — PDF document, 7,159 kB (7,330,830 bytes)