Labor Archives of Washington Saves Labor History, Wins Major Award

Labor Archivist Conor Casey and AFL-CIO's Jennifer Dorning at the Sessions Award Ceremony in Chicago, June 2013.

Labor Archivist Conor Casey and AFL-CIO’s Jennifer Dorning at the Sessions Award Ceremony in Chicago, June 2013.

Five years ago, labor history in Washington State was facing a crisis. Labor activists and unions played central roles in the region’s history, but the evidence of their accomplishments was being lost. Their papers and records were being thrown away forever, or when saved, sitting forgotten in local libraries.

Recognizing the urgent need to preserve and share its history, Washington’s labor movement, teamed with the University of Washington’s Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries, to launch the Labor Archives of Washington. Local unions raised the funds to establish the Labor Archives in 2010. Spearheaded by a 3-year, $150,000 matching grant from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and a 3-year fundraising campaign by the Washington State Labor Council. County labor councils and unions throughout Washington State have provided critical support. To date nearly 100 labor organizations and over 175 individuals have contributed almost half a million dollars to the Labor Archives Fund.

After less than three years of operation, the Labor Archives won a major award from the American Library Association and was honored at the ALA national conference. The 2013 John Sessions Award is granted by Reference and User Services Association of the ALA and sponsored by the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. Each year the award recognizes a library or library system that has brought recognition to the labor movement in the United States.

This year’s prize committee chose the Labor Archives of Washington, citing “its steady stream of exhibits, outreach efforts to the community and the impressive LibGuides site and digital collections portal site. In addition to meeting with unions and holding events in the community, Casey and his many volunteers who help at LAW, have mounted a steady stream of exhibits in the UW Libraries; some of them have traveled to off-campus locations.

Labor Archivist Conor Casey received the award on behalf of the Labor Archives at the June meeting. Casey, who has led LAW since it was founded in 2010, describes the award as a “great honor.” “This is really a testament to the amazing support that we have received from the labor movement in our state.” He added that “the funding for LAW comes almost entirely from working people and their unions. I think the prize committee understands how unique and important that is. We look forward to continuing to serve the communities that are our main users and to building bridges and enhancing access to groups of new users.”

Housed in the University of Washington Special Collections, LAW has grown quickly under Casey’s leadership. It includes more than 200 labor related collections comprising more than 3,000 cubic feet of material. An impressive number of fully digitized collections, including thousands of photographs are accessible through the University of Washington’s website. In October of 2013, the Labor Archives will dedicate a special plaque recognizing donors in the lobby of the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library.

Related Links:

Labor Archives Website:
Labor Archives Digital Portal:
Labor Archives Collection Guide:

Posted in Labor Archives of Washington, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

New episode of Labor Archives of Washington’s radio show on women’s labor history, “Women in the Trades” exhibit

Pacific Northwest Features

The latest episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s regular segment on the KSVR radio show We Do the Work is now streaming online via KSVR and Public Radio International’s Exchange.

This ‘Learn Yourself’ will be about the women’s labor history, woman workers and leaders. In this segment, special guest Assistant Labor Archivist Crystal Rodgers reports back about a pop-up exhibit she curated on “Women in the Trades”, employing LAW’s collections relating to working women in the building trades.

Special guest Crystal Rogers, assistant archivist for the Labor Archives of Washington, Part 1 [Crystal Rodgers reports on LAW’s “Women in the Trades Exhibit”]

The regular segment, called “Learn Yourself”, features Labor Archivist Conor Casey (Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections) being interviewed about a history topic by host Mike Dumovich with an emphasis on archival collections and secondary sources related to the topic in the hopes…

View original post 226 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New episodes of Labor Archives of Washington’s radio show on Pablo O’Higgins Mural, UW Student Activists, and Ship Scalers Union now streaming online

Pacific Northwest Features

The latest episode of the Labor Archives of Washington’s regular segment on the KSVR radio show We Do the Work is now streaming online via KSVR and Public Radio International’s Exchange.

This ‘Learn Yourself’ will be about the Ship Scalers Union, UW student activists, and the Pablo O’Higgins mural “The Struggle Against Racial Discrimination”, which hangs in Kane Hall at the UW Seattle campus.

For more information, go Pablo O’Higgins and Ship Scalers Union or read Becoming Pablo O’Higgins by Susan Vogel or to learn more about Gigi Peterson, go to , to read her…

View original post 255 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Past Forward”: Labor Archives latest exhibit on display at the LERC!

Pacific Northwest Features


The exhibit I curated for the Harry Bridges Labor Center for Labor Studies and the Washington State Labor Education and Research Center partnership is titled Past Forward: Snapshots of Social Justice Labor Organizing and looks at ten moments throughout the history of labor organizing in the Pacific Northwest. Organized around four progressive issues, the exhibit covers a wide range of both organized labor and labor activists’ social justice victories. To gather the stories that are told in the exhibit, I explored collections suggested by Conor Casey, the Labor Archivist and Director of Labor Archives of Washington, UW Libraries Special Collections; spoke with other labor researchers at the UW; and read up on labor history in our area using resources such as the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project. The exhibit drew heavily on the collections of the Labor Archives. There are so many interesting stories to be…

View original post 128 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Labor Archives of Washington Event: Public Screening and Talk: One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, October 31

Pacific Northwest Features


One Generation’s Time: The Legacy of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes tells the story of Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, two Filipino American cannery worker activists who were murdered in Seattle in June 1981.

A free screening* of the one-hour documentary will take place, Thursday, October 31, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Museum of History and Industry, 860 Terry Ave N Seattle, WA 98109 (206) 324-1126 ext 165

Admission to the preview screening is free, however seating is limited. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.; screening at 6:10 p.m.; followed by a post-film discussion led by Seattle Channel Senior Producer.

*The screening is free but does not include museum admission. People attending the event may proceed to the screening; regular admission rates will apply only for those who wish to visit MOHAI’s galleries before the event. People attending the event to proceed to the screening but not MOHAI’s galleries.


View original post 238 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Exhibit-Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Art of Richard V. Correll

This gallery contains 8 photos.

Originally posted on Pacific Northwest Features:
Images of Labor and Social Justice: The Art of Richard V. Correll New Additions to the Collection of the Labor Archives of Washington State, UW Special Collections December 6, 2012 – April 19, 2013…

Gallery | Leave a comment

New Digital Collection: The Richard V. Correll prints and papers

Pacific Northwest Features

Richard_V_Correll_in_studio_1953 (1) Richard Correll in his studio painting Paul Bunyan, a part of a series of paintings created for the Federal Art Project of the WPA, ca. 1938-1940.

The Labor Archives of Washington is excited to announce that the prints and papers of famous West Coast artist, Richard V. Correll, are now viewable (almost) in its entirety, on the UW Libraries Digital Collections site! Consisting primarily of original artwork created by Correll, including a variety of prints, original drawings, and paintings, the collection contains nearly the full body of his work! This collection truly demonstrates the expansiveness of his artistry both in technique and subject matter, encompassing themes of working people, civil rights, and social justice as well as nature scenes, figure drawings, Paul Bunyan, and a scrapbook of holiday cards spanning over 39 years.

Fire_Hose.jpgFire Hose/Fight Back, 1971 (linocut print)

size“No Wars For Big Oil”, 1979 

In 2012-2013, the…

View original post 312 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Help document May 1 marches, strikes, and actions by donating photos, video, signs

Pacific Northwest Features


The UW Libraries Special Collections and its Labor Archives of Washington are documenting and collecting items from the upcoming May 1, 2017, marches in the Puget Sound region.

We are interested in your:

Photographs and video of signs and crowd scenes. High-resolution files from DSLR cameras are preferred, but they will accept camera phone images. Please review your images and edit out blurry or repetitive images. To make submissions, Email Conor Casey, Labor Archivist, and in the email:

  • In the email title or text, note that submissions are for a labor or labor-related organization and name the organization/banner you marched behind
  • That they are destined for the Labor Archives of Washington’s digital collections.

Labor-related physical signs and flyers used in the march. Email Conor Casey, UW Libraries Labor Archivist Conor Casey, to arrange for delivery pickup of your items.

You will be required to sign a donor form…

View original post 44 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment