The labor collections included in the Archives of Public Affairs and Policy (APAP) date back to the first union in Albany, the Albany Typographical Union No. 4, organized in 1850. The collections document the printing trades, building and construction trades, manufacturing in textiles and the electrical industry, government employee unions, educational workforce, and labor advocacy organizations. The labor collections included in APAP also document the lives of working people with material on worker's culture and social welfare organizations. Click here to view an alphabetical list of the labor collections in APAP. This information can also be viewed by industry. The finding aid for each collection, which is linked from the collection lists, provides detailed information regarding the size of the collection, the types of records included in that collection, and the kinds of information that can be obtained from those records. The amount and types of materials available vary for each collection.
The acquisition of labor records by the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives began in earnest in 1989 with its selection to administer the Capital District Labor History Project. With funding from the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Labor History Project, the goal of the project was to survey and preserve labor records in New York's Capital District.
Although the Capital District is officially defined as the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area, an area that encompasses approximately 450 public- and private-sector labor unions and related organizations, the Capital District Labor History Project's focus was expanded to conform to the New York State Department of Labor's broader definition of the "Albany District" which runs from the Mid-Hudson Valley to the Canadian border and includes the cities of Glens Falls, Gloversville, Hudson, Johnstown, Plattsburgh, and Poughkeepsie. This wider area includes over 850 labor organizations. The map at the right gives an idea of the area covered by the "Albany District."
The initial Capital District Labor History Project was coordinated by archivists Don C. Skemer and Geoffrey Huth and resulted in the acquisition and/or preservation microfilming of the records of over thirty labor organizations (representing over eighty current and former locals), before funding for the project was discontinued in 1991. In Fall 2000, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives received new funding from the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr. Labor History Project and is conducting another survey for labor records in the Albany District.
The Department of Special Collections and Archives is always interested in increasing the breadth and depth of its coverage of labor in the "Albany District" and inquiries from labor organizations and individual unionists, workers, and labor activists interested in preserving their records and making them available to researchers, are welcome. No local is too small to document and the records of locals no longer in existence are just as important as those that are still active. Nor do records need to be extremely old or related to a well-known person, place, event, or organization for them to be of historical importance. Inquires should be sent to:
Brian Keough, Head
M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives
UAlbany Science Library LE-352
Albany, NY 12222
Telephone: (518) 437-3931
Fax: (518) 437-3930