MS 160 - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 986
|MS 160 - International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 986
The records of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 986, Norwalk, Ohio, date from 1943 to 1979. The history of this local labor union is reflected in four linear feet of minutes, correspondence, agreements, bargaining files and newsletters.
The records of the IBEW, Local 986, were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in the summer of 1980 through the cooperation of John Arbogast, Business Manager, Local 986. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and research. The register was drafted by Jill Morse, graduate student at Bowling Green State University, in May 1981, edited and revised in July 1988, by Susan Hughes, a manuscript processor employed through a grant provided by the Ohio Historical Society. Further additions were made and the register was updated in August 1994 and in August 2002.
The IBEW, Local 986, presently located at 5 1/2 East Main Street, Norwalk, Ohio, was first chartered in March 1947 with George Shaw, Jr., elected as the first president. The International dates back to 1891, with its first convention held in St. Louis.
In December 1960, Local 720 of Galion, Ohio (union of largely female telephone operators, chartered in 1943) merged with Local 986, originally of Galion (union of linesmen and maintenance men) as both Locals consisted of employees of the Northern Ohio Telephone Company. In 1971 there was some talk of a merger of Local 642, Carrollton, Ohio, and Local 986; but 642 eventually decided against the merger.
|Scope and Content
The records of Local 986 and Local 720 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers document the history of this Local and its members from 1943 to 1979. This labor collection consists predominately of minutes, correspondence, agreements, bargaining files and newsletters.
The regular meeting minutes for Local 720 are complete up to the merger with Local 986. These minutes can be of value not only to the labor historian but also to the women's studies researcher. The minutes as well as the correspondence and agreements of this Local point out that the women were generally employed as phone operators while the men were employed as installation and plant workers and that the women's wages have consistently been lower than the men's. In the 1950s, several women found that they no longer had jobs upon return from pregnancy leaves. As late as 1971, a woman was sent home for wearing a pants suit to work. In the 1950s, the women complained that the International was ignoring Local 720 (see correspondence). Thus after early attempts to merge with Local 986 during the early 1950s, the merger became effective in 1960. The minutes show that women were adequately represented in the combined Local 986, though never holding the office of President, except on an interim basis.
There are no Executive Board minutes of Local 986, however, the regular meeting minutes are fairly complete. There is a complete run of Executive board and regular meeting minutes from 1967 to 1978 of the General Telephone Council, an interstate organization of Locals, all employees of GTE, formed to coordinate contract bargaining, enforce safety regulations, and increase worker benefits. The collection also contains some of this Council's newsletters.
Starting in 1971, Local 986 began the practice of unit meetings, since the Local was geographically so widespread. Thus there are minutes, for 1971 to 1979, from such units as Delaware/Galion, Medina, Oberlin, Port Clinton, and Bowling Green, which document concerns of a more local nature.
The bulk of the correspondence both of the individual Locals 720 and 986, as well as the combined Local 986, dates from the 1950s and 1960s. As mentioned previously, the correspondence of Local 720 highlights various concerns of the female operators. Much of Local 986's correspondence is with the Northern Ohio Telephone Company in regards to union concerns or contract bargaining.
Contract bargaining during the 1950s to 1975 is documented, not only by the various agreements between Local 986 and the telephone companies, but also by bargaining files consisting of contract proposals, wage surveys, special negotiations bulletins and union bargaining notes, which contain some interesting personal comments.
The Union newsletter, The Communication Link, complete for the 1970s and 1980's, helps highlight Union concerns of this decade, such as the firing and eventual reinstatement of Union President, Al Goerlich, for refusal of overtime work.
In addition to the Collection's value to the labor or women's studies researcher, all records may be of some value to the genealogist searching for simple verification of names and dates. The dues payment records would be especially helpful in this type of search. The researcher interested in public utilities may also find this collection helpful.
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES-LOCAL 720
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES-LOCAL 986
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES-GENERAL TELEPHONE COUNCIL
EXECUTIVE BOARD MINUTES-GENERAL TELEPHONE COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES-LOCAL UNITS
REPORTS-NORTHERN OHIO TELEPHONE COMPANY AND GENERAL TELEPHONE AND ELECTRONICS COMPANY
DUES PAYMENT RECORDS