Do you work an eight-hour day? Get paid overtime? Have a safe workplace?
You have unions to thank for all of those, and many other, changes to labor law. The University of Maryland is the official repository of one of the most influential labor unions in United States history, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners (UBCJA).
Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see a display of some interesting materials from the collection.
The exhibit highlights union activities and important moments of union history, including photographs of the influential 1963 Reesor Siding strike, which became one of the bloodiest labor conflicts in Canadian history. You can also see Carpenters marching in 1947 with spears and shields to protest the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act.
Not everything the Brotherhood did was so militant, however. President Dwight Eisenhower was the guest of honor at their 75th anniversary party in 1956, where he lit the candles on a cake adorned with tiny hammers and saws. The union also held conventions where its members discussed union goals and policies. And, when union carpenters were too old to work anymore, the union cared for them in their old age at the Carpenters Home in Lakeland, Florida.
To learn more about the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the role it has played in American history since 1881, stop by the exhibit. Then use the collection to further your research about the union’s efforts toward anti-Communism, an eight-hour workday, open shops and many other issues. Learn about the various professions of the members of the UBCJA, from carpenters, house-framers and lumberjacks to furniture makers, wharf builders and pile drivers.
All of the 700 linear feet of UBCJA correspondence, meeting minutes, official union publications, photographs, blueprints and film recordings are available for your perusal in the Maryland Room. These materials are currently being processed, with the support of the UBCJA, in order to make them more accessible to researchers.
Contact a curator to find out more!