apap042
New York State Modern Political Archive
Collection ID: apap042

Solidarity Committee of The Capital District Records, 1978-2009

Collection description

Summary

Creator:
Solidarity Committee of The Capital District
Abstract:
The Greyhound Strikers Solidarity Committee of the Capital District was created by Albany-area labor union activists in support of the autumn 1983 Amalgamated Transit Union strike against Greyhound Bus Lines. After the strike, the group was reconstituted as the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (SCCD) and worked to support hundreds of strikes and labor activities in Eastern New York, across the country, and in Latin America.
Extent:
20.8 cubic ft.
Language:
English and English
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Solidarity Committee of The Capital District Records, 1978-2009. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Terms Of Use:

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Background

Scope and Content:

These records document the formation and activities of the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (SCCD), a group of activists from New York State's capital district-area labor unions and social-reform organizations, and its links to the larger labor movement.

The collection contains minutes of all SCCD meetings held between November 1983 and May 1990; however, the minutes vary greatly in level of detail. Minutes from 2002-'03 (acquired 2005) are missing months and also vary in their level of detail. Additional administrative materials include correspondence, mailing lists, and financial records. There is also an extensive run (July 1984-February 2009) of the SCCD's monthly newsletter, Solidarity Notes, which began publication in 1984.

The bulk of the collection consists of subject files, some predating the founding of the SCCD and its predecessor organization, the Greyhound Strikers' Solidarity Committee of the Capital District. Most of the files concern labor disputes taking place in northeastern New York, but some files document strikes and other forms of protest taking place elsewhere in the United States or abroad (including Guatemala and South Africa). The files shed light upon the activities of a host of unions, including: Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, Amalgamated Transit Union, American Federation of Grain Millers, Aluminum, Brick, and Glass Workers International Union, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees, Civil Service Employee Association, Communications Workers of America, International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Ironworkers, International Association of Machinists, International Federation of Flight Attendants, International Leather Goods, Plastic, and Novelty Workers Union, International Longshoremen's Association, Laundry and Dry Cleaners International Union, National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians, Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Unions, Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, Service Employees International Union, United Auto Workers, United Farm Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, United Mine Workers of America, United Paperworkers International Union, and United Steelworkers of America. Of particular note are copies of personal correspondence between actor and labor activist Ed Asner and SCCD chairman John Funicello.

Many of the files contain photographs, most notably, photos of Cesar Chavez and Jesse Jackson during Chavez's hunger strike in 1988 and photos of Solidarity Committee members at rallies and being arrested.

The subject files in Series 3 are divided into two alphabetical subseries. The materials in those subseries were arranged and described at two different times, several years apart, so rather than try to fit the new acquisitions into the existing subject files (which would have needed extensive rearranging and renumbering), we simply created a second series of subject files, A-Z. With that in mind, a researcher looking for information on the Albany Public Library, for instance, would want to look at both subseries for files on that topic.

Biographical / Historical:

The Greyhound Strikers Solidarity Committee of the Capital District was created by Albany, New York-area labor union activists who supported the autumn 1983 Amalgamated Transit Union strike against Greyhound Bus Lines. After the strike ended, the organization was reconstituted as the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District (SCCD), a standing committee of the Albany County Federation of Labor (ACFL) [Solidarity Council of the Capital District (SCCD) meeting minutes, 12 January 1984; Greyhound Lines Strike folder, in Series 3, Subject Files, 1980-90, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District Records, 1980-90. The Greyhound strike precipitated similar developments elsewhere in the United States. See Kim Moody, An Injury to All: The Decline of American Unionism, Haymarket Series, ed. Mike Davis and Michael Sprinker (London: Verso, 1988), 309-13]. The ACFL was the umbrella organization of area AFL-CIO union locals, but the relations between the SCCD, which welcomed members of non-AFL-CIO unions, and the AFL-CIO were often tense. In early 1990, the Schenectady Central Labor Council complained that the SCCD was overstepping the ACFL's geographic jurisdiction. National AFL-CIO officials then asserted that the January 1984 ACFL meeting minutes made no mention of the SCCD's standing committee status and that the SCCD thus had no formal ties to the AFL-CIO [SCCD meeting minutes, 14 May 1987, 11 January 1990, and 24 January 1990, in Series 1, Meeting Minutes, 1983-90, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District Records; Solidarity Notes, February 1990 and April 1990, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1983-90, Solidarity Committee of the Capital District Records, 1984-90]. The SCCD followed through by drafting a resolution that established their ties to the Albany County Federation of Labor since 1984. The resolution was presented at the March 7, 1990 meeting of the ACFL and passed as a constitutional amendment, thereby recognizing the SCCD as a standing committee of the AFL-CIO [Solidarity Committee subject files, Series 3/Box 1/Folder 10. "Albany County Central Federation of Labor- Solidarity Challenge" (1990)].

The SCCD's mission is "to promote solidarity and understanding of the labor movement, through educating and organizing in times of need". Its founders envisioned an organization that would organize and support strikes, protest closures of manufacturing plants, aid unemployed workers, lobby for political and economic reform, and organize non-union workers [SCCD meeting minutes, 12 January 1984]. Their vision continues to guide the SCCD's activities through the present day. They sponsor showings of labor-oriented films, establish training sessions for labor organizers, and consistently support workers engaged in area labor disputes.

While the SCCD's purpose originated with the Amalgamated Transit Union strike in Albany, NY, it was not long before their helping hands extended well beyond New York's Capital Region. Over the years, the SCCD began supporting labor efforts throughout New York State, then across the northeast, until eventually they were active in national issues (ex. the table-grape boycott initiated by the United Farm Workers). Now their specialty is providing financial and psychological support to workers engaged in labor disputes throughout the United States while raising awareness of labor issues worldwide [For the SCCD's support of the grape boycott, see the Grape Boycott -- United Farm Workers folder, in Series 3, Subject Files, 1980-90]. Although chiefly concerned with labor issues, the SCCD is also actively interested in many other social issues. It has ties to reform-oriented organizations such as the Student Association of the University at Albany, SUNY and the New York State [Family] Farm Association [SCCD Meeting Minutes, 14 May 1987, in Series 1, Meeting Minutes, 1983-90, and Solidarity Notes, July 1987, September 1987, June 1988, and April 1990, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1984-90], and has supported campaigns against South African apartheid Solidarity Notes, April 1985 and March 1990, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1984-90, and Apartheid Protests in Albany, NY folder and Divestment Lobbying Day, Albany, NY (March 19, 1985) folder, in Series 3, Subject Files, 1980-90], human-rights abuses in Central and Latin America [SCCD meeting minutes, 9 July 1987 and 17 March 1989, in Series 1, Meeting Minutes, 1983-90, and Solidarity Notes, February 1988, September 1988, February 1990, and March 1990, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1984-90], nuclear weapons proliferation [SCCD meeting minutes, 14 February 1985 and 9 April 1987, in Series 1, Meeting Minutes, 1983-90, and Solidarity Notes, April 1987, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1984-90], and use of synthetic bovine growth hormone [SCCD meeting minutes, 13 April 1989, in Series 1, Meeting Minutes, 1983-90, and Solidarity Notes, August 1987 and March 1990, in Series 2, Solidarity Notes, 1984-90].

In the 1990s, the Solidarity Committee expanded their international efforts to include Latin America, Asia and Africa. Most notably, the Committee was involved in anti-apartheid demonstrations, boycotts, and food and clothing drives. In Latin America, the SCCD was especially interested in the problems going on in Nicaragua and El Salvador. They participated in a caravan to El Salvador that provided much-needed supplies. They also took an active interest in the role of Coca-Cola Corporation in Guatemala and the UFW's grape boycott.

A chairman, a treasurer, and a secretary perform most of the Solidarity Committee's administrative work. Subcommittees charged with coordinating various activities are formed as needed. Members attend monthly meetings that are open to all, and yearly dues are contributed voluntarily by unions and individuals alike. Some special events and causes require their own fundraising efforts during the year. The SCCD also publishes a monthly newsletter, Solidarity Notes, which keeps activists informed of SCCD's latest concerns [Courtesy of the website for the Solidarity Committee of the Capital District]. The Committee has faithfully maintained its local presence, continuing the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. and Labor Day festivities that it began in Albany years ago.

Acquisition information:

In 1990, materials were lent to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, for photocopying, which totaled roughly .75 cubic feet. In April 2000, 6 cubic feet of material was transferred, including many of the original files as well as some new material. Additional records were transferred in September 2000 (10 cubic feet), March 2001 (3 cubic feet), and June 2005 (2.1 cubic feet).

Processing information:

Processed in 1990-2009 by Geoffrey Huth (1990), Bonita L. Weddle (1999), Rosann Santos (2000), Kerry Lynch (2009).

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Restrictions:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
Terms of Access:
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Solidarity Committee of The Capital District Records, 1978-2009. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).