M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid for the

Records, 1886-92, 1917-30, 1953, 1956-57, 1962, 1964-70, 1972-88

For reference queries contact M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Geoffrey A. Huth
October 31, 1990

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935

VOLUME: .5 cubic feet

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were photocopied onto acid-free paper by the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, of the University at Albany, State University of New York, on the premises of International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 6, as a part of the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., Labor History Project.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


Adminstrative History

Scope and content note

Box and Folder List

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 16
Administrative History

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On July 11, 1886, a meeting of bricklayers was held in the city of Schenectady, New York, for the purpose of organizing a local union of that trade. The minutes for this meeting contain a cryptic note, which might indicate this local's connection to a previous local: the secretary is directed to communicate with the international union "and learn the Amount of Indebtedness of Union 13 up to date." [1] By August, the new Schenectady local had elected its officers and received its charter (dated August 5, 1886) as Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers Union No. 16 of the City of Schenectady. [2] This local was apparently reorganized in response to the large-scale building program begun by Thomas Alva Edison when he moved his Edison Machine Works to Schenectady in 1886. [3]

One of the earliest concerns of the local was the question of whether or not to amalgamate with other building trades unions. Apparently, a informal type of industrial unionism was being considered, most likely as a way to avoid jurisdictional disputes. As early as 1886, Local 16 had begun discussing this option, but had decided against amalgamating with the area's carpenters' and painters' locals. [4] Early the next year, the discussion continued with questions about the best way to work with carpenters "to procure the hours demanded the coming season," [5] and soon after the local voted for "partial amalgamation" with the carpenters. [6] Despite this concern with the hours of work, in 1888 the local instructed its delegate to the international convention to vote against the implementation of the eight-hour movement. [7] Other major concerns in the 1880s and 1890s were scab workers and contractors.

For its early years, Local 16 had no business agent. The union would, instead, instruct two of its members to examine the problems and situations in the area, and these men would report their findings to the local. Sometime during the 1920s, however, the local hired its first business agent, and until the local merged into Local 6 that tradition continued. [8]

During the late 1950s, Albany Local 6 went on strike for a small raise. The failure of this strike heightened awareness of the need for combining forces. As a result the locals in the Capital District formed a district council which held monthly meetings and negotiated area wide contracts. During the 1965 contract negotiations, the bricklayers' district council attempted to negotiate a shorter work week. Negotiations eventually failed, and all locals (except for the Glens Falls local which negotiated its contracts with the Upper Tier Executive Council) went on strike for thirteen weeks, from May until August. Because of the united efforts of the unions, a contract was finally agreed to that shortened the work week (over a period of five years) to 35 hours and which guaranteed double pay for overtime work. [9] After the expiration of this five-year contract in 1970, Local 16 negotiated a contract which included substantial raises and significant increases to benefits. The existence of a strong force for collective bargaining and the building of the South Mall (which led to a shortage in construction labor) seem to have been instrumental in winning this contract. [10]

On July 11, 1986, Local 16 voted to merge into Local 6 of Albany, and the merger was finalized in August. [11] Upon completion of this merger, the business agent for Local 16 became an assistant business agent in Local 6.

Business Agents of Local 16
T. circa "Tom" Ervin, 1930's-1947
Henry Reutzel, 1947-67
Vincent Riggi, 1967-76
Anthony Gugliuzza, 1976-87

New York State Capital Area Bricklayers, Masons, Plasterers Executive Council (Also called the Capital District Executive Committee or, simply, the District Council)
Local 6, Albany
Local 8, Cohoes
Local 10, Troy
Local 16, Schenectady
Local 61, Amsterdam
Local 64, Glens Falls
(Local 64, however, negotiated its contracts with the Upper Tier Executive Council)
Local 67, Gloversville
Local 77, Saratoga Springs

Return to History

1. Bricklayers, Local 16. Minutes, July 11, 1886. An altered charter hanging in the meeting
room of the Schenectady Labor Temple, lists a Bricklayers' union with the local number
scratched out and "16" added in its place. This charter is dated March 1, 1867, and is
probably the charter of Local 13.
2. Ibid., August 5, 1886.
3. Gugliuzza, Anthony. Interview, July 11, 1990.
4. Bricklayers, Local 16. Minutes, August 18, 1886; September 1, 1886.
5. Ibid., January 10, 1887.
6. Ibid., January 19, 1887.
7. Ibid., June 4, 1888.
8. Gugliuzza, Anthony. Interview, July 11, 1990.
9. Ibid.
10. Gugliuzza, Anthony. Interview, October 29, 1990.
11. Bricklayers, Local 16. Minutes, July 11, 1986.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 16
Scope & Content Note

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In 1984 or 1985, water from a burst pipe in the Schenectady Labor Temple flooded the basement and destroyed many of the historical records union locals had stored there. Bricklayers Local 16 was one local that apparently lost some records. Because of this, there are gaps in the minutes (one that lasts for 43 years). Fortunately, most of the early minutes have survived, which are the earliest labor union records ever discovered in Schenectady, New York. The minutes remain an especially good record of the activities of an early building trades union in Schenectady. The contracts are the most significant of any other extant records of Local 16. These provide a guide to the union's success at negotiating contracts for its members from the 1950s until the 1980s

For additional labor collections in the Department, see the online Labor subject guide at http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/labor.htm.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen, Local 16
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Minute Books, 1886-92, 1917-30

   (1921 minutes include a fair list of contractors in Schenectady employing only union men)

Series 2: Agreements, 1953, 1956-57, 1962, 1964-70, 1972-88

Agreements between:

Bricklayers, Masons & Plasterers' International Union of America and the International Association of
Bridge, Structural & Ornamental Iron Workers, 1962

Bricklayers, Masons & Plasterers' International Union of America Locals and Associated General Contractors
of America, New York State Chapter, 1956, 1972-88

Bricklayers, Masons, Plasterers, Marble Tile Workers Local 6 and District Council, 1 Capitol District Tile
& Marble Contractor's Association and the Tile, Marble & Terrazo Workers of Albany, Locals No. 6, 10, 16 of Albany, Troy and Schenectady, 1964-70

Schenectady Builders' Exchange and International Union of Bricklayers', Masons' and Plasterers' Local 16, 1953, 1957

Series 3: Constitutions and Bylaws, circa 1980

Bricklayers, Masons, Plasterers, Cement Masons, Cement Block Layers, Marble Masons, Terrazzo Workers & Tile Workers, Local No. 16, circa 1980

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Last updated November 7, 2003