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Documenting Labor Inside and Out
Solidarity
Local Solidarity

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Button, date unknown
Button, date unknown (Helen Quirini Papers).

The pin shown on the right, one of the many collected by labor activist Helen Quirini, notes one of the benefits of solidarity among labor organizations--there is strength in numbers. The call for solidarity is particularly strong during a work dispute. Members of other locals of the union or of related unions may join the picket line as a show of support for the striking union or take some other action of support, such as a monetary contribution to the striking union's strike fund.

Letter from chairman, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, November 8, 1985
Letter dated November 8, 1985, from the chairman of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District requesting support for a rally to be held by the Albany Chapter of United University Professions (Records of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District).

While many shows of solidarity are the efforts of individual labor organizations, in the Capital District, solidarity displays have also been coordinated by the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District. Formed in January 1984, the Solidarity Committee has sought to "promote solidarity and understanding of the labor movement, through educating and organizing in times of need," by supporting strike activities, protesting manufacturing plant closures, aiding unemployed workers, lobbying for political reform, and organizing non-union workers.

For example, in 1985 the chairman of the Solidarity Committee asked its members for their attendance at a rally being held by the Albany chapter of United University Professions (UUP). As a further show of solidarity and support for UUP, the chairman also wrote on behalf of the Solidarity Committee to the director of the Governor's Office of Employee Relations urging him to resume negotiations with United University Professions and to conclude those negotiations fairly, providing UUP members with similar benefits achieved by the other state employee unions. Such displays of support do not go unappreciated, as evidenced by a July 1984 letter from the Glove Cities Area Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union thanking the Solidarity Committee for its monetary and moral support of 1,600 glove and leather workers in their labor struggles.

Letter dated July 6, 1984 from the Glove Cities Area Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union
Letter dated July 6, 1984 from the Glove Cities Area Joint Board of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union to the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (Records of the Glove Cities Area Joint Board).

The records documenting solidarity between labor organizations provide a useful way to examine the larger labor movement and how individual labor organizations help each other to achieve their goals. The records also document when various labor unions have been in conflict with each other. The collections that make up the Archives of Public Affairs and Policy provide a convenient way to explore these interrelations. Not only do they include the records of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District, but the records of many of the unions that the Solidarity Committee has helped over the years, including United University Professions and the Glove Cities Area Joint Board. In addition, the records of the individual unions and locals included in the Archives of Public Affairs and Policy contain documents relating to their own solidarity efforts, such as those of the Solidarity Committee of United University Professions.

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Digital Exhibit created by Cynthia K. Sauer, Consultant, and Brian Keough, Head, 2002
Copyright 2002 M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives
Comments to bkeough@uamail.albany.edu