Labor Archives of Washington Saves Labor History, Wins Major Award

Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections

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…

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