MS 371 - Jane R. Gust Collection
|MS 371 - Jane R. Gust Collection
The materials in the Jane R. Gust Collection span the years 1945 to 1983. The four and one-half linear feet of records primarily consist of printed materials illustrating Gust's involvement with the United Food and Allied Workers, AFL-CIO (formerly Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen) and Local 626 as president, business representative and Health and Welfare Fund secretary-treasurer. Correspondence and financial records as well as a copy of the plan show Gust's involvement in developing an insurance plan for members of Local 626. As business representative, Gust acted as an organizer for the national union. This is evidenced in the collection by the materials from various organizer's, conferences and flyers from the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen's efforts to organize the Gerber plant in Asheville, North Carolina. The large number of union newsletters and periodicals would be helpful to the labor historian in identifying important issues and concerns of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen during the 1960s and 1970s. This collection provides the researcher with a solid overview of the national and local issues facing the meat cutters' union during a period of time when the meat industry was becoming increasingly mechanized and many jobs were being eliminated, due in part to the introduction of boxed beef.
Taped interviews with Jane Gust were completed between November 1982 and April 1983 and are available at the Center for Archival Collections.
The collection was donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections on September 5, 1985 by Judith Gust, daughter of Jane Gust. The collection was processed and register prepared by Susan M. Hughes, a manuscript processor, through a grant provided by the Ohio Historical Society.
Jane R. Gust was business representative and president of Local 626, United Food and Allied Workers (formerly Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen). Born in Toledo, Ohio, she graduated from Scott High School in 1931 and married Elroy Gust, with whom she had three children.
Gust had experience in both the labor and management fields. From 1927 to 1942, she worked part-time for Tiedtke's Department Store in Toledo as a sales clerk. In 1942, she went to work at Bunning Brass and Bronze, a defense plant, where she was timekeeper for employees producing piecework. At the War's end in 1945, Gust went to work for Lamson's Department Store as a junior executive trainee.
Gust's career in the meat industry began when she was hired by Kroger in 1952 as a meatwrapper. In six months, she had become union steward and later, recording secretary. Always vitally interested in the welfare of workers, she became business representative of Local 626 in October of 1962. At that time, Gust was the only woman in the meat cutters' union to hold such a position. As business representative, Gust was in on all contract negotiations and visited each retail store in the Toledo area to discuss any employee problems or grievances.
Gust also helped organize many of the retail stores in Local 626's jurisdiction which extends from the borders of Indiana and Michigan to Norwalk and Lima, Ohio. In 1964, she also helped the AFL-CIO organize the Gerber plant in Asheville, North Carolina during a long strike.
Gust was elected president of Local 626 in 1973 and also served as secretary-treasurer of its Health and Welfare Fund. As a legislative representative, she traveled to Washington, D.C. in order to lobby with other representatives of meat cutters' locals for legislation important to the national union.
Outside of Local 626, Gust served on the Executive Board Steering Committee of the AFL-CIO and the Arbitration Group of the Toledo Labor-Management-Citizens Committee. She was a member of the League of Women Voters and a charter member of the Status of Women Commission.
Gust retired from Local 626 in 1978. She died April 13, 1984.
|Scope and Content
The Jane R. Gust Collection consists of materials relating to the United Food and Allied Workers, Local 626 (formerly Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen). The national union, founded in 1897, represents retail butcher shops, chain stores, meat packing and food processing plants, the fur and leather industry, retail clerks, migratory agricultural workers and sheepshearer. A large number of printed agreements in the collection illustrate much of the work Gust performed for Local 626 as business representative. Conference and convention materials show that Gust was quite active in the national union, as well as the northwest Ohio local. Several conferences were sponsored by the Committee on Political Education in order to inform union members about national issues which effected them. Gust's file pertaining to the Farm Bureau Organizing Bill (H 536) of 1977 is an example of her political involvement. Among the correspondence, newsclippings and copies of the bill is a copy of Gust's testimony before a House Committee asking for defeat of the bill because of the detrimental effect it would have on the packing industry.
Gust was also interested in the plight of migratory laborers. Several reports and published articles are contained in the collection which outline the awful conditions under which these laborers existed and the need for unionization.
As secretary-treasurer of the Health and Welfare Fund of Local 626, Gust dealt with union members' problems and concerns in collecting insurance payments. Several years of Fund correspondence and a 1975 audit report detail the work Gust performed in administering the employees' insurance plan.
As an organizer for the national union, Gust was involved in organizing many companies in northwest Ohio as well as the Gerber plant in Asheville, North Carolina in 1964. An interesting report entitled "Typical Signs and Behavior Patterns Among Employees That There is Union Organizing Activity Occurring in a Small Business," written for the Toledo Small Business Association, is included within the miscellaneous printed materials.
Also included in the collection are two banquet programs autographed by Patrick E. Gorman, whom Gust greatly admired. Gorman was international secretary-treasurer of the National Union for over fifty years. Copies of "The Butcher Workmen" for 1960 through 1979 clarify some of the political and economic concerns facing members of the meat cutters' union. This periodical was edited by Patrick Gorman.
In 1968, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters merged with the rival United Packinghouse Workers of America. A copy of the agreement is found in the collection. This merger was to signal a new era for the Meatcutters' Union and solve such problems as declining membership and a job displacement due to increasing automation.
Of special interest are a series of taped interviews of Jane Gust by Paulette Weiser who was a graduate assistant at the Center for Archival Collections at the time the collection was donated. The interviews were conducted between November 1982 and April 1983. A subject listing of these tapes is included with the finding aid.
HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND
FARM BUREAU ORGANIZING BILL
MEAT APPRENTICESHIP STANDARDS
NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE
ORGANIZING GERBER PLANT
HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND
GENERAL PRINTED MATERIALS
Printed Materials: Books:
Box 11Folders: Tapes and Transcripts
8 Tapes (Copies) and 4 Master Tapes - Of Interviews with Jane Gust, Nov. 1982-April 1983 Located in Tape Recording Drawer
Tape One, Side One
Counter Number; Subject
Tape One - Side Two
920 Active in National Union
Tape Two; Side One
Tape Two; Side Two
267 Fair Labor Standards Act
Tape Three; Side One
009 Politics and Unions
008 Lobbying on State Level
Tape Four; Side One
008 Lobby to Get (H 536) Defeated
Tape Four: Side Two
000 History of Amalgamated and AFL-CIO