The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America came into existence in January 1897. Unlike many unions, it contained both craft locals (in retail butchering) and industrial locals (in packing houses). In both cases, the union faced difficult organizing problems and failed, in many cities, to control conditions in the industry until the 1930s.
Philadelphia meat cutters formed local unions in 1936 amid a major organizing drive by the national union. Influenced by CIO organizing and the Wagner Act, the locals grew rapidly but then ran into jurisdictional problems with other AFL unions and the drive stalled. Finally in 1939-1940, locals 195, 198 and 199 established themselves in the city and began securing collective bargaining rights. However, despite the national union's progressive stance and its support for industrial organization, the AMC & BW continued to work within the AFL.
Local 198, because of the context in which it emerged, maintained an active interest in labor's political action, legislation and progressive policies. The local, both in its own activities and as part of the area-wide Joint Council, pursued its goals through a variety of measures and methods, including cooperation with other unions, economic pressure, and influence with employers.
The papers of Meat Cutters Local 198 document organized labor in this important branch of retail trade. Controlling conditions in such major chains as A & P and Acme, the Meat Cutters grew into a power in the local trade union movement. The minutes of both executive board and general membership meetings document day-to-day problems of labor relations and union administration. International, Pennsylvania state and Philadelphia area joint council materials provide information on relationships with the higher levels of the union. In addition, there are contracts, financial records and printed material.
The records are arranged in the following series:
- Series I: Minutes
- Series II: Agreements and Printed Matter
- Series III: Financial Records
- Series IV: International and Joint Council Material
- Series V: Elections
Series I. Minutes. Minutes of Local 198 Executive Board, general membership and special meetings.
Series II. Agreements and Printed Matter. Includes contracts, union constitutions, and various other union pamphlets.
Series III. Financial Records. Financial statements, receipt books, stewards' receipts, and office receipts.
Series IV. International and Joint Council Material. Correspondence, minutes, memos, and published material from the Joint Council and International Union of the AMC & BW.
Series V. Elections. Correspondence, ballots, memos, returns and hearings concerning elections and election irregularities.
Series I: MinutesBox 1
1-7 Executive Board, 1944-1963 (volumes)Box 2
8-10 Executive Board, 1963-1977 (volumes)
11 General and District Meetings, October 26, 1970-
October 15, 1975, and Junior Council, 1970 (volumes) 12-13 Special Meetings, 1960-1972 (volumes)Box 3
14-20 General Membership and Meetings, 1942-1970 (volumes)Series II: Agreements and Printed MatterBox 4
1-10 Union, Organization Pamphlets, 1950-1983
11 Constitutions, 1960-1972
12 Contract Changes, 1973
13 Acme Increases, 1976Box 5
14-32 Agreements, 1947-1983Series III: Financial RecordsBox 6
1 Financial Statements, 1961-1981
2 Miscellaneous Receipts, February 1, 1940-December 31, 1943
3-4 Stewards Receipts, October 1940-December 1957
5-6 Office Receipts, January 1944-December 1956Box 7
7-15 Office Receipts, January 1957-December 1976 (volumes)Box 8
16-20 International Finance Reports, 1965-1969Box 9
21-25 International Finance Reports, 1970-1976Series IV: International and Joint Council MaterialBox 10
1-6 Meat Cutters Union Papers, 1971-1975Box 11
7-12 International Correspondence, 1965-1972
13-14 International Instructions and Literature, 1969 and 1972
15 Pennsylvania State, Federal B.W. Minutes, 1972- 1976
16 Joint Council Strike Fund, 1947-1958
17-19 Joint Council Correspondence, 1964-1968Box 12
20-22 Joint Council Correspondence, 1970-1972
23 Joint Council Bulletins, 1975-1980
24-25 Joint Council Minutes, 1971-1973
26-27 Executive Board, 1970-1971
28 Executive Board Minutes, 1982
29-30 AMC BW Local 198, 1971-1972
31 Local 198 Notices, 1971-1972
32-33 Local 198 Meeting, April 9, 1978
34 Philadelphia Council Minutes, 1971-1979Box 13
35-37 Negotiations, 1971-1980
38 Strike Instructions and Organization Problems
39 Listing of Members to Receive Pension booklets, 1972
40 AMC BW Statement to United States Senate, 1959
41 Merger between AMC BW and UPWA, 1968-1972
42-43 Problems (BC/BS) Miscellaneous BenefitsSeries V: ElectionsBox 14
1-9 Elections: 1963, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1978
10 Hearings Concerning Election Irregularities, 1964