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Retail Clerks International Union. Local 770 (Los Angeles, Calif.) (1942-) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Retail Clerks International Union. Local 770 (Los Angeles, Calif.) (1942-)
Variant Name: Retail Clerks National Protective Union, United Food and Commercial Workers

Historical Note:

The Retail Clerks International Union (RCIU) Local 770 worked to secure rights, negotiate wages, and resolve contract disputes for California-based retail employees. The union was initially conceived as the Retail Clerks National Protective Union in the late 1890s, but eventually rebranded itself as the Retail Clerks International Association, and later, the RCIU. Joseph T. DeSilva helped form the RCIU and led Local 770 as executive secretary for over 35 years. DeSilva realized the RCIU’s political potential, leveraging strikes and shrewd negotiation tactics for local union members. Local 770 supported women’s rights, fair pay for African Americans and other minorities, labor legislation, and worked to address concerns of the surrounding community.

The RCIU was affiliated with The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) for much of its organizational tenure. As a result of this affiliation, it gained greater collective bargaining power and political clout. Today, the union remains active as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) following a series of mergers between The United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) and The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (AMC & BW of NA) in 1979. In 2005, disagreements with the AFL–CIO resulted in the withdrawal of the UFCW and other large-scale unions from the federation, however in 2013, the UFCW re-affiliated with the AFL–CIO. The UFCW now represents approximately 1.3 million workers throughout North America, across industries such as health care, retail food, meatpacking and processing, agriculture, and textile and manufacturing.

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