Teamsters Labor History Research Center Labor History Collection Development Policy

Created April 2016, by Thomas Connors, Labor Archivist

Purpose of the Collection

The purposes of the Labor History collections are to:

  • Create a body of research materials documenting the American labor movement in a range of record formats
  • Establish and develop an archival collection documenting the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
  • Support the GW Libraries vision to build robust and unique content to attract local, national and international scholars
  • Support University curricula and research
  • Make available primary source materials for the study of American labor history
  • Make acquisitions decisions that are considered through the lens of how the collection will enhance existing holdings and provide added research depth for users.

Subject Coverage

Primary Collecting Interests

The primary subjects to be documented in the Labor History collections are:

  • The structure and function of IBT trade divisions and conferences and staff departments, including the General President’s office and the General Secretary-Treasurer’s office.
  • The history and operations of selected Teamsters local unions and joint councils.
  • Non-Teamster historical documentation that compliments and adds value to the Teamster Archives. Specific topics of interest include records documenting international labor solidarity, American left-wing radicalism, occupational history and lore, and materials relating to the origins of American trade unionism.

Topics of Special Interest

  • African-Americans and IBT (Teamsters National Black Caucus)
  • Alliance for Labor Action
  • Anti-corruption, racketeering (RISE)
  • Boycotts (Coors, Diamond Walnuts)
  • ‘Buy American’ campaign
  • Canadian Teamsters
  • Community outreach, community service
  • Conferences, regional and trade
  • Consent decree
  • Constitutional changes
  • Cooperation with other unions (Mutual Aid Pacts)
  • Culture – occupational, art, poetry, song
  • De-regulation of the trucking industry
  • Disaster response/relief
  • Farm workers
  • GLBT Caucus
  • Headquarters building
  • Hispanic Caucus
  • Labor-management cooperation efforts
  • Latinos in IBT (Hispanic Caucus)
  • Legislative efforts (to be determined)
  • Mergers – Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Maintenance of Way Employees, Graphic Communications, Brewery Workers
  • Mexican trucks and drivers
  • Monitorship
  • National Master Freight Agreement
  • National Truck Check
  • Organizing campaigns
  • Retirees
  • Safety and health issues (Medical Advisory Board)
  • Strategic plans
  • Strikes – UPS, etc.
  • Structural reorganization at IBT
  • Training and education activities – groundbreaking or innovative Union label
  • UNITY conferences
  • Women in IBT (Women’s Caucus/Women’s Conference)


Detailed financial data, member privacy data, items that come with a personal collection that do not fit within this scope.

Collecting Scope


English is the primary language for collecting. Materials in non-English languages are acquitted selectively. (Since Teamsters Canada is a bi-lingual IBT affiliate, French language materials will be strongly considered for acquisition.)

Period of coverage

The main period of coverage for Labor History materials is the late 19th century to the present.


The primary geographical area covered by the Labor History collections is North America. Materials from other areas of the world such as Latin and South America, Western Europe, Africa and North Africa/Middle East may be acquired depending on research value.