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Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University

Few regions can rival the rich, lively labor history of the San Francisco Bay Area. This history is preserved in primary source and vintage history materials at the Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC). Founded in 1985 by trade union leaders, historians, labor activists and university administrators, the Labor Archives is a unit of the J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University.

The Labor Archives collection includes materials from the counties surrounding San Francisco Bay, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. More than 6,000 feet of primary source material is available for research. From the beginning of the twentieth century to the present, a wide scope of Bay Area labor activity is represented.

Many unions have made the Labor Archives the official repository for their historical records -- minutes, office correspondence, membership files, publications and contracts. Labor leaders, attorneys, arbitrators, and rank-and-file workers have donated their personal papers. Personal memorabilia, photographs, ephemera, and oral histories document the lives and stories of working men and women. Visual material, in addition to photographs, includes cartoons, banners, posters, prints, handbills, picket signs, and buttons.

Contact Information:

Labor Archives and Research Center
J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
Room 460 - 4th floor
1630 Holloway Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94132
Telephone: (415) 405-5571
Email: larc@sfsu.edu

Hours and Directions

Monday - Friday, 1 - 5 PM, or by appointment.
Please call (415) 405-5571 at least two days in advance to arrange an appointment.

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Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
May 16, 1997 Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Central figure in labor movement of Vallejo, California, from World War II until retirement, 1968; organizer for Vallejo Plasterers Union, early 1930s to 1941; in 1941 revitalized Retail Store Employees Union Local 373 of Solano and Napa counties; led Local 373 for twenty-seven years; greatly expanded local's membership and influence while taking central role in civic affairs and Democratic Party politics. Collection Guide : Stanley Lathen...
Topics: californialightandsound, Clerks (Retail trade)--California--Labor unions, Labor...
Source: 3 Tapes of 3: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Member, ILWU Local 6 for thirty-four years; recalls student life at UC Berkeley and part-time waterfront work, 1938-1941; Left politics in East Bay, 1940s to early 1990s; serving as steward in Office and Professional Employees Union, CIO, 1945-1950; and activist career and work-life in Local 6, 1950-1984. Collection Guide : Terry Green Oral History Rights : Copyrighted. Rights are owned by Labor Archives and Research Center (LARC), J. Paul...
Topics: californialightandsound, Schwartz, Harvey, Green, Terry, 1920-, Labor union...
Source: 2 Tapes of 2: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
May 9, 1996 Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Avelino "Abba" Ramos retired in 1997 after long career as ILWU activist, organizer, business agent, and International Representative; describes youth in Hawaii as son of Filipino sugar worker, coming of ILWU to Islands in 1940s, CIO organizing work in Hawaii, and career in California with Local 6, ILWU, 1962-1997, including rich exploration of the closing of the Colgate plant, East Bay, 1981; interview formed basis for an oral...
Topics: californialightandsound, Filipino Americans--California--Interviews, Filipino...
Source: 2 Tapes of 2: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Retired from Local 10, ILWU, 1993, after sixty years on the San Francisco waterfront; veteran of 1934 strike; remembers boxing days, early 1930s; longshore work, 1933; witnessing S.F. police shooting workers during 1934 strike, being arrested for own union activity in 1934, meeting Henry Schmidt, Local 10 pioneer, and Harry Lundeberg, SUP leader; SUP schooner sailor, World War II; and Relief Business Agent, Local 10, ILWU, 1960. Collection...
Topics: californialightandsound, Longshoremen's Strike, San Francisco, Calif., 1934, Labor union...
Source: 3 Tapes of 3: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Community activist, champion of underdogs and labor rights; professor, Social Work, San Francisco State University; describes posts with Avalon-Carver Community Center, Los Angeles; Center for Community Development, Fresno; and National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO), Washington, D.C.; Administrative Director, NWRO, 1967-1970; analyzes techniques of successful community organizing; recalls Cesar Chavez, Saul Alinsky, and George A. Wiley;...
Topics: californialightandsound, Community organization--California, Political...
Source: 7 Tapes of 7: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Employee, State Conciliation Service, 1948-1976; describes a variety of San Francisco strikes, including Machinists Union Local 68 in 1946, asparagus pickers in 1947-1948, and nurses and farmworkers in 1966; reflects on California Governor Reagan's administration, the effects of the Wagner Act, and his impressions of a variety of local labor leaders. Collection Guide : Tom Nicolopulos Oral History Rights : Copyrighted. Rights are owned by...
Topics: californialightandsound, Arbitration, Industrial--California--History, Labor...
Source: 5 Tapes of 5: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Retired in 1993 from Ship Clerks' Local 34, ILWU; reviews work-life and activism in Marine Cooks and Stewards, CIO, late 1940s-early 1950s; and in ILWU, 1955-1993; remembers waterfront screening, McCarthy period; recalls Jimmy Herman and racial integration of Local 34, early 1960s; led ILWU efforts to aid California farm workers' union movement, 1960s-1970s; Secretary-Treasurer, Northern California District Council, ILWU, 1982-1993; co-founded...
Topics: californialightandsound, Employee screening --California, Labor union members--California--San...
Source: 8 Tapes of 8: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Selvin's parents immigrated from Russia to Tooele, Utah in 1909, drawn by family ties to the Jewish agricultural community which had settled in the central part of that state. Selvin's father maintained a store in predominately Mormon township of Tooele and also served as a senator in the Utah state legislature. David moved to California to attend college, receiving his undergraduate degree in Commerce and Master's in Labor Economics at the...
Topics: californialightandsound, Longshoremen's Strike, San Francisco, Calif., 1934, Labor union...
Source: 7 Tapes of 7: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Business agent, Teamsters Local 921; worked as a "route man" delivering newspapers throughout the Bay Area during the 1930s and 1940s; describes the Teamsters' split from the San Francisco Labor Council in the late 1950s, as well as his impressions of Teamsters leaders Dave Beck and Jimmy Hoffa and his five decades as a San Francisco Teamsters leader. Collection Guide : Jack Goldberger Oral History Rights : Copyrighted. Rights are...
Topics: californialightandsound, Bakalinsky, Adah, Goldberger, Jack, 1905-1988, Truck drivers--Labor...
Source: 3 Tapes of 3: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : President, Bay Area Typographical Union (BATU) Local 21, 1969-1987; born in 1929, Olson moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1939; worked on Treasure Island during World's Fair; joined ILWU in early 1940s; joined BATU Local 21 in 1951 and elected president in 1969; describes the anti-Hearst newspaper strike of 1968; San Rafael Independent Journal strike, ca. 1970s; the shrinking number of newspapers, 1970s-1980s; and the impact of new...
Topics: californialightandsound, Labor leaders--California--Interviews, Labor unions--California--History,...
Source: 5 Tapes of 5: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Recordings of a Bay Area independent radio news program from 1984-1987 covering labor issues with a primary focus on California. Includes numerous interviews with local labor leaders regarding significant strikes and labor struggles such as the historic Latina-led Watsonville Cannery Strike, United Farm Workers' (UFW) "Wrath of Grapes" campaign, and the month-long SEIU Local 250 Kaiser healthcare workers strike. A majority of...
Topics: californialightandsound, Cannery workers--California, Labor union leaders--California, Labor union...
Source: 27 Tapes of 27: 1/8 inch audio cassette
Labor Archives and Research Center, J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University
- Labor Archives and Research Center
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Call Number : Oral History Collection Description : Longtime labor activist and consultant to unions in California and Hawaii; recalls U.C. Berkeley; labor organizing, 1930s; discusses career as Research Director, California CIO Council, late 1930s-late 1940s; represented International Fishermen & Allied Workers of America (IFAWA) and Marine Cooks and Stewards (MCS) at their CIO purge trials, 1950; consultant to ILWU specializing in employee benefit and union insurance plans; searching...
Topics: californialightandsound, Labor leaders--California, Labor movement--California--History, Labor...
Source: 3 Tapes of 3: 1/8 inch audio cassette