The National Archives and Records Administration holds records created or received by the U.S. Government on issues of labor and labor rights, including records on unions, strikes and responses, debates about women and children in the workplace, and the Government’s role in providing economic security and workplace rights. These records document and detail the struggle to define and assert workplace rights. We not only hold these records, we provide access to them. View a collection of records from the National Archives Catalog.
The Way We Worked
From December 2005 to May 2006, the National Archives presented "The Way We Worked," a photo exhibition focusing on the history of work in America, in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Below are links to photographs and other content related to that exhibition.
Records relating to Samuel Gompers (1850–1924) (Gompers was president of the American Federation of Labor and a member of the President's First Industrial Conference in 1919, and the President's Unemployment Conference in 1921
- Letter from American Federation of Labor President Samuel Gompers to Joseph Cannon
- Letter from Samuel Gompers, president of the AFL, to Mr. L. White Busbey
- Samuel Gompers’s correspondence when he chaired the Committee on Labor.
Records relating to The United States of America v. Eugene V. Debs. Debs, a leading member of the Socialist Party, gave an antiwar speech on June 16, 1918. He was indicted for violating the Espionage Act of 1917, convicted, and sentenced to Federal prison. Debs appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, but the earlier verdict was upheld. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and campaigned for the Presidency while in jail. In December 1921, President Harding commuted his sentence and he was released. Read "Free Speech on Trial" in Prologue magazine.
Records About Major Collective Bargaining Agreements, 1974–1995. U.S. Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (so-called “Rackets Committee”) 1/30/57–3/31/60.
Social Media and Blogs
A hot dog for the King - When King George VI ate his first hot dog
What’s Cooking Wednesday - Exploding Ketchup!
Labor-related Records Groups
RG 9 - National Recovery Administration
RG 100 - Records of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
RG 102 - Records of the Children’s Bureau (child labor laws)
RG 150 - National Bituminous Coal Commission
RG 174 - General Records of the Department of Labor
RG 220 - President's Committee on Migratory Labor
RG 257 - Records of the Bureau of Labor Statistics
RG 432 - Records of the Economic Stabilization Programs
Artworks and Mockups for Cartoons Promoting the War Effort and Original Sketches by Charles Alston, ca. 1942 - ca. 1945. Record Group 208: Records of the Office of War Information, 1926 - 1951. View in the National Archives Catalog.