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Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 732 records

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 732 Collection

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Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 732 (Atlanta, Georgia):

A Guide to Its Records at Georgia State University Library

Georgia State University
Georgia State University
Special Collections and Archives
100 Decatur St., SE
Atlanta, GA 30303-3202
Fax: 404-413-2881

February 2002

Profile Description

Creation: EAD Tagging by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Aubrey Underwood February 2002.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator: Amalgamated Transit Union. Local 732 (Atlanta, Ga.)
Title: Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 732 Collection
Dates: 1919-1981
Quantity: 20.5 linear feet
Identification: L1982-02

Organization and Arrangement

The three accessions comprising the records of the Amalgamated Transit Union are divided into eight series: (1) History, (2) Administration, (3) Legal, (4) Membership, (5) Trial Committee, (6) Financial, (7) Publications, and (8) Artifacts.The collection contains 26 pamphlets on several other unions, including the International Association of Machinists, the Airline Pilots Association, the AFL-CIO, and others. These have been added to the Southern Labor Archives Pamphlet Collection. In addition, more than 60 constitutions from various unions have been added to the SLA Constitutions, and about 5 contracts have been transferred to the SLA Contracts.

Scope and Content of the Records

This bulk of this collection contains the administrative, financial, legal, and membership records of Division 732. A small series on the history of the organization (Series I) contains a copy of the first contract of Division 732 (1919-1920), a typescript of the Union bylaws (1962), and a brief article outlining the history of Division 732. Administrative records (Series II) include correspondence, general office and subject files, minutes and notes, as well as log books containing records of the daily activities of Union officers. The minutes cover Division 732's Executive Board meetings, membership meetings, and committees, as well as of the Board of Directors meetings of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). The minutes and other documents concern transit conventions, research reports on transit systems, correspondence to the national office of the ATU, MARTA, and the Atlanta Transit System, working conditions, cost of living allowances, and testing of employees.

Legal documents (Series III) include various arbitration documents, especially the November 1975 arbitration proceedings between the Union and MARTA, contracts and agreements, and a small group of proceedings of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Also included are numerous grievance reports from the Union membership, dating mainly from the late 1940s through the late 1970s. Membership records (Series IV) contain membership application forms and lists, and isolated records of votes and sample ballots dating mainly from the 1970s. The Trial Committee records (Series V) provide information on the 1978 trial, suspension, and subsequent appeal of C. J. ("Jake") Jacobs, then President of Division 732.

Series VI contains financial statements, ledgers, and files (mainly from the 1960s and 1970s), which chronicle the financial records of the Pension Fund as well as those of the whole division. Publications (Series VII) include the Union's Constitutions and By-Laws, partial runs of newsletters and other periodicals from the Union and management, and a small group of pamphlets. Two small artifacts (Series VIII), a convention name tag and a button, complete the collection.

History of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 732 (Atlanta, Ga.)

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which was founded in 1892, is the largest labor union for transit workers in North America. Originally called the Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Employees of America, in 1903 the organization changed its name to Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America and in 1934 to the Amalgamated Association of Street, Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America. The union became officially known as the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) in 1964.

Division 732 of the ATU (Atlanta, Georgia) was recognized by the Georgia Railway and Power Company as a union in 1918, after two strikes in 1916 and 1918, in which strikers fought for acceptance of the union. The first contract was negotiated in 1919-1920. During the early years the union fought for survival, especially during the 1920s, when management throughout the United States sought to dominate unions, and during the Depression of the 1930s. Nevertheless the union became powerful enough to strike for higher wages in 1946 and again in 1949 and 1950. The last of these strikes, which lasted 37 days, resulted in a favorable settlement for the transit workers and caused the sale of the Georgia Power Company to a group that became the Atlanta Transit System.

The relationship between Division 732 and the Atlanta Transit System, which lasted from 1950 to 1971, was relatively peaceful. After the purchase of the ATS by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in 1971, the relationship between the union and management gradually deteriorated and led to the six-day strike in 1973. The period of the 1970s also saw the construction of the Atlanta subway system.

The division grew from fewer than 100 members at its inception to more than 1,600 by 1979. In 2002, with President Elmer Hamilton at the helm, the union local had almost 3,000 members.


Restrictions on Access

Because of the personal information contained in Series III, Subseries C (Grievance Reports) and Subseries D (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission proceedings), see the labor archivist for access to the following boxes: L1971-5, Boxes 29 and 30, and L1982-2, Boxes 13-19.

In addition, because some records in Series VI, Subseries A (General Financial Documents) and Subseries B (Pension Fund Documents) contain personal information, the labor archivist must be consulted for access to the following boxes: L1982-2, Boxes 29-30; Oversize 2 and 3.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

To quote in print, or otherwise reproduce in whole or in part in any publication, including on the Worldwide Web, any material from this collection, the researcher must obtain permission from (1) the owner of the physical property and (2) the holder of the copyright. Persons wishing to quote from this collection should consult the labor archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

L1971-5 only: Quotations from the material to be submitted to the union's officials before printed publication.

Administrative Information


[item], [folder title], [series title], Amalgamated Transit Union, Division 732 (Atlanta, Ga.) Records, [accession number], Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

J. C. Reynolds President, Local 732. Donated in three accessions in 1971 and 1982 (accession numbers L1971-05, L1982-02, L1982-05).

Processing Information

Accession no. L1971-5 was processed in 1972 by E. Lee Eltzroth; L1982-5 was processed by Wallace Washington in 1984; and L1982-2 was processed by Christine de Catanzaro in 2002. EAD finding aid created by Pam Hackbart-Dean and Aubrey Underwood, February 2002; revised by William Hardesty, February 2006.

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