Union History: 1901-1978
1901 - United Textile Workers of America receives American Federation of Labor (AFL) charter.
1901 - First Canadian local of Amalgamated Meat Cutters founded in Stratford, Ontario.
1902 - Catherine Schultz is dubbed “Joan of Arc of Retail Clerks” in Chicago strike.
1904 - International Fur Workers Union (IFWU) formed.
1910 - Mary Anderson of the Boot and Shoe Workers Union (BSWU) is named Director of AFL’s Women in Industry Service.
1913 - Major strikes secure minimum wage standards.
1920 - Mary Anderson (BSWU) is named first head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.
1937 - Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) charters the National Leather Workers Association (NLWA).
1937 - United Retail Employees of America receives CIO charter. The union’s name is later changed to Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
1938 - Fur and Leather Workers of America created by IFWU and NLWA merger.
1940 - Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee (PWOC) begins organizing meat industry plants across Canada.
1942 - Patrick Gorman elected to top office of Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (AMCBW). Known as “Mr. Amalgamated” for more than half-a-century, he strongly supported a merger with Retail Clerks that later created UFCW.
1947 - James Suffridge elected to top leadership position at the Retail Clerks International Association (RCIA), which he holds for 21 years.
1948 - Holford Harris, first African American elevated to Executive Board of AMCBW.
1948 - RCIA begins organizing workers in health care and non-profit hospital field.
1960 - National Agricultural Workers Union merges with Amalgamated Meat Cutters.
1968 - United Packinghouse Workers Union merges with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters.
1968 - James Housewright elected International President of the RCIA.
1970 - Canadian Region of Retail Clerks is established.
1972 - Retail Clerks Minority Coalition is created during the RCIA Convention to promote diversity and inclusion within the labor movement. Name changed to UFCW Minority Coalition when RCIU and AMCBW merged.
1976 - Addie Wyatt elected first woman Vice President of Amalgamated Meat Cutters.
1977 - RCIA changes name to Retail Clerks International Union (RCIU), and is 5th largest AFL-CIO affiliate.
1977 - BSWU merges with the RCIU.
1977 - William Wynn elected International President of the RCIU.
1977 - Richard Perry is first African American elected Vice President of RCIU.
1977 - Norma Steill elected the first woman Vice President of RCIU, and in 1984 becomes the first woman UFCW Regional Director.
1978 - Consolidated Independent Union Local 951 affiliates with the RCIU.
“Amalgamated women know that they have made progress because of the union. They know too that banding together in true trade union solidarity will attain for them improved benefits. Women are ready to become full partners in the struggle for a decent way of life. Their skills and talent are needed and they are willing to contribute to the union cause.”
~ Addie Wyatt