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American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), records

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American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), records

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American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.):

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
404-413-2880
Fax: 404-413-2881
archives@gsu.edu

June 30, 2010



Profile Description

Creation: EAD version 2002 finding aid created in XMetaL 4.5 by Traci JoLeigh Drummond, June 30, 2010.
Language: English

Collection Summary

Repository: Georgia State University Library, Special Collections and Archives, Atlanta
Creator:AFSCME. Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.)
Title:American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), records
Dates: 1949-2001
Quantity: 70 linear ft. (in 70 boxes)
Abstract:The records of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), 1949-2001, include correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, petitions, constitutions, policy and procedures manuals, grievances, newspaper clippings, flyers, convention materials, photographs, and membership mailings.
Identification: L1986-44
LanguageEnglish.

Arrangement

The collection was processed using minimum-standards processing practices.

Scope and Content of the Records

The records of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.), 1949-2001, include correspondence, meeting minutes, membership lists, petitions, constitutions, policy and procedures manuals, grievances, newspaper clippings, flyers, convention materials, photographs, and membership mailings.

The majority of the collection is correspondence dated from the late-1960s through the mid-1990s that concerns people and organizations based in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Correspondents include Fulton and DeKalb government offices that employ the local's workers, AFSCME's national office, allied political organizations (most notably the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists), and civil rights groups. The collection also includes correspondence related Local 1644's role in Atlanta, state, and national politics. Other notable documentation relates to Local 1644's support of the 1968 Sanitation Workers in Memphis, Tennessee (Box 3), and the work of the local chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (Box 22).

The collection also contains materials pertaining to hospital and healthcare workers from upstate New York under the auspices of the AFL-CIO Hospital and Nursing Home Council. These materials were likely transferred to the local office when Marie Robinson was assigned there in the early 1990s.


History of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.)

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 1644, began as the District Council 14 (Greater Atlanta Public Employees). This organization served as the central administrative body for a number of small AFSCME locals in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

In 1966, District Council 14 contained the following locals: 3 (Fulton County Employees), 315 (Fulton County Court House Employees), 4 (Atlanta City Employees), 20 (Atlanta and Fulton County Board of Education Employees), 359 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Water Department Employees), 1376 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area Motor Vehicle Maintenance Employees), 797 (Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Hospital Employees), 850 (Atlanta Municipal Employees), 1053 (DeKalb County Public Employees), and 1202 (DeKalb County Board of Education Employees).

Because the majority of the District Council's focus was centered in the Metro-Atlanta area, the smaller Georgia locals were reorganized into chapters under the supervision of Local 1644. The reorganization was not welcome by several of the locals and produced some friction, most notably from Local 850, which fought the merger and attempted to separate itself from Local 1644. The change from multiple smaller unions to a larger union seemed to have been motivated by a need for administrative efficiency and to increase the numbers of a declining membership.

After the reorganization, Local 1644 had three major chapters representing the employees at Grady Hospital, the Atlanta Board of Education, and the City of Atlanta. Smaller chapters included the maintenance employees with the Atlanta Housing Authority and the workers at the Highview Nursing Home. One challenge particular to the Local 1644 was a Georgia state law that banned public sector unions from collective bargaining. However, the union was able to negotiate memorandums of understanding instead of traditional labor union contracts.

The DeKalb County sanitation workers struck in 1966, and City of Atlanta sanitation employees engaged in two major strikes in 1970 and 1977. The 1970 strike resulted in Mayor Sam Massel abolishing Local 1644's dues check-off privileges, but he backed down from firing threats and gave the striking sanitation workers a small raise. The loss of dues check-off led to a failed attempt by the Laborers International Union to challenge AFSCME's role as the designated bargaining agent for the sanitation workers from 1972-1976. The outcome of the 1977 strike was unfavorable for Local 1644 because Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson fired the sanitation workers instead of bargaining with them. When Grady Hospital ambulance drivers struck in 1976, Local 1644 only picketed in support and chose not to strike.

Local 1644 was taken into trusteeship by the national in the mid-1970s to help it recover from its damaged administration and financial status after the strikes and loss of dues check-off privileges. Due to declining membership and poor management, the local was taken over by the national union and placed under an administratorship in the early 1990s. George Johnson was sent to Atlanta by the national office with the purpose of repairing Local 1644's finances.

Local 1644 was led by Cleveland Chappell and Leamon Hood in the late 1960s and 1970s, Fosta Brown in the 1980s, and Marie Robinson in the 1990s. Additionally, Lew Peeples, Harlon Joye, James Howard, and Ron Reliford played key roles in managing the union over time as area directors and national union representatives. James Howard, national union representative, played an important role in the union's organization efforts in the early 1970s but had a troubled tenure when he returned in the 1990s.

In the early 1990s, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (national union) introduced the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees (NUHHCE) District 1199c, as a subsidiary of both the AFL-CIO and AFSCME in order to organize and service this fast growing pool of workers. Like many unions who work in the public sector, AFSCME devoted serious time and resources to fighting the growing trend toward privatizing public services during the 1990s.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Georgia State University Library online catalog (GIL). Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

AFSCME
AFSCME. District Council 14 (Atlanta, Ga.)
AFSCME. Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.)--Archives
National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees. District 1199
Strikes and lockouts--Sanitation workers--Georgia--Atlanta.
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (U.S.)
Collective bargaining--Government employees--Georgia.
DeKalb County (Ga.)--Politics and government.
Fulton County (Ga.)--Politics and government.
Strikes and lockouts--Sanitation
Sanitation workers--United States.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Access to materials with personal or sensitive information has been restricted. Please consult with archivist for more information about accessing these records. This collection is stored off-site. Contact archivist in advance to view these materials; 24-hour notice is required. All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

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 reference archivist to determine copyright holders for information in this collection. Reproduction of any item must contain the complete citation to the original.


Administrative Information

Citation

[item], [folder title], American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (Atlanta, Ga.) Records, L1986-44, Southern Labor Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University, Atlanta.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Anna Olive and other representatives of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Local 1644 (L1986-44, L2002-04, and L2003-02).

Processing Information

Processed by Harold Victor Hansen, Jr., April 2010.


Related Material

Related materials in other repositories: The Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University is the official repository for the records for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Access their finding aids here.

Related materials in this repository:

Oral history interview with Harlon Joye, Voices of Labor Oral History Project, Southern Labor Archives
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Local 3 (Atlanta, Ga.) Records


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