Scope and Content
Restrictions on Use
Restrictions on Access
The Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council coordinates the efforts of local unions in the building trades, including contract negotiations with employer organizations and apprenticeship and training programs. It was formerly the Seattle Building Trades Council. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 11246, requiring equal employment opportunities in federally funded construction projects, the low numbers of minority workers in the constructions trades became a target of scrutiny. In Seattle and other cities across the country, there were efforts to increase minority membership in the building trade unions. As part of Seattle's participation in the federal Model Cities Program, Seattle issued affirmative action guidelines in 1969 for contractors seeking city contracts. The Seattle Urban League developed a program called Labor Education and Advancement Project, or LEAP. The Washington State Labor Council endorsed the establishment an apprenticeship "Outreach" program, to be funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and operated locally by the Seattle Opportunities Industrialization Center. The Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council favored instead a program with the Apprenticeship Information Center. Construction industry employers formed Affirmative Minority Construction Opportunity, Inc., to implement its minority hiring plan. None of these programs enjoyed the support of all of the industry, labor, and community interests needed for success.
In the meantime, community-based organizations were staging protests and fighting in the courts. In fall 1969, several lawsuits resulted when protests by community activists at publicly financed construction sites led to work stoppages. In October 1969, the U.S. Department of Justice brought suit against four buildings trade union locals and three apprenticeship and training committees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the suit, U.S. v. Ironworkers Local 86, et al., the Justice Department alleged that the practices of named unions and apprenticeship committees for admission, training, and job referrals discriminated against blacks. On June 16, 1970, U.S. District Judge William Lindberg found that the defendants did discriminate against black workers and ordered a variety of relief measures. To implement the relief measures, Judge Lindberg ordered the formation of an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the construction industry, unions, and community organizations. The Court Order Advisory Committee first met in July 1970. Austin St. Laurent, the executive secretary of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, was a member of the committee.
Scope and Content
The Building & Construction Trades Council (Seattle, Wash.) records document the activities of the council in the 1960s and early 1970s. Over half of the accession is related to competing efforts to increase minority participation in the building trade unions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Correspondence, case files, minutes, court files, subject files, and other records relate to the council's role in negotiations with employers regarding such issues as affirmative action and apprenticeship programs with the King County, Washington, Superior Court and the University of Washington. The various committees and plans, which sought to resolve issues out of court with the aid of federal funds, are documented in the General Correspondence series. These files contain a mix of correspondence to, from, and about the referenced entity as well as other related materials. Such plans include the Philadelphia Plan, which was the Nixon Administration's prototype envisioned for adoption across the country; the Seattle Urban League's LEAP Plan; and the Menasco Plan, which was the basis for construction industry employers' minority hiring program. The Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council's own efforts are documented in files titled "Outreach" and "Outreach Program."
Materials related to U.S. v. Ironworkers Local 86, which the council referred to internally as Court Case #8618 (after its civil case number), can be found in the General Correspondence and the Case Files series. The Court Order Advisory Committee subgroup contains general correspondence, minutes, bylaws, and court papers of the committee. The Miscellany file in this subgroup appears to have been maintained personally by Austin St. Laurent. While the committee continued to work into the mid-1970s, no documents in this subgroup are dated later than 1972. Because the committee existed to implement the court's order, material related to the advisory committee can also be found in the Court Case #8618 files. Likewise, the Court Order Advisory Committee subgroup contains materials on the court case.
The remainder of the collection focuses on other aspects of the council's work. These materials date from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s. The General Correspondence series includes files regarding the University of Washington and the Washington State Higher Education Personnel Board (HEP Board) that document the council's representation of University of Washington employees. The HEP Board files contains minutes from many of the board meetings from 1969 to 1974 as well as memoranda and correspondence. There are also subject files on issues of interest to organized labor, including situs picketing and President Nixon's suspension of prevailing wage regulations. These files contain correspondence and other materials.
Also included are materials relating to the King County Affirmative Action Advisory Committee, the King County Central Labor Council, the King County Housing Authority, and Washington State Board Against Discrimination.
Restrictions on Use
Literary rights have been transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.
Restrictions on Access
Access restricted. Contact the Special Collections division of the University of Washington Libraries for details.
Records were given to the Libraries by the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council on August 9, 1974.
Processing completed in 2005.
|Last modified: February 5, 2013|