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Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (Calif.) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (Calif.)

Historical Note:

The Los Angeles Federation of Labor was officially organized by five distinct unions on June 23, 1889: printers, cigar makers, tailors, carpenters, and bakers. On September 7, 1890, the Los Angeles Typographical Union procured a charter from the San Francisco Federated Trades in order to form the Los Angeles Council of Labor. In 1894, the earliest Los Angeles Council of Labor, in an effort to create strength and unity, affiliated itself with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). During the 1930s, the National AFL was rocked by an internal split that resulted in the establishment of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The National CIO chartered the Greater Los Angeles CIO Council in May 1937, which maintained a separate existence for two decades. The National AFL and CIO merged in 1955 and the California State Federation of Labor in 1957. This set in motion a countywide merger in Greater Los Angeles between 1957 and 1959. By early 1959, the Los Angeles Central Labor Council and five other central labor bodies — Long Beach, Pomona, San Gabriel Valley, San Pedro-Wilmington, and Santa Monica — as well as the Greater Los Angeles CIO Council, merged to create the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

The Los Angeles Central Labor Council, AFL, under the auspices of Executive-Secretary William J. Bassett and other local labor councils organized the Los Angeles County Labor Committee to Save-Our-State. The Committee led the fight against the Employer-Employee Relations Initiative; reached out to civic, community and religious groups; and educated Californians on the "Right-to-Work" issue. Such groups as the California State Federation of Labor, the Greater Los Angeles CIO Council, the Los Angeles Citizens Committee Against Proposition 18, and the Southern Californian Citizens Committee Against Proposition 18 joined national labor organizations to stop the "Right-to-Work" initiative.

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