The Beaver Valley Labor History Society Collection contains material primarily documenting the successful 1930s organizing drive of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee of the Congress of Industrial Organizations at Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. The organizing drive resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, National Labor Relations Board v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, which upheld the National Labor Relations Act and established the legal right to organize labor unions. The collection was created by members of the Beaver Valley Labor History Society who conducted oral history interviews, compiled subject files, and published a newsletter focused on the early history of what became United Steelworkers of America Local 1211. Recorded from 1978 to 1980, the collection’s twenty-four oral histories also document the European immigrant experience in America; African American migration to the industrial north; work in a steel mill; and the social, political, economic, and cultural life of Aliquippa, 1900s-1930s.
With the support of United Steelworkers of America Local 1211 and the Philip Murray Retirees Club, the Beaver Valley Labor History Society was established in 1978 to “inform people of the important role that our valley has played in American labor history” so that “they may be aware and proud of their heritage.” For a four year period, the Society collected material, conducted oral history interviews, and published a journal focused on documenting the history of steelworkers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. In 1981, the Beaver Valley Labor History Society transferred the organization’s subject files, oral histories, and copies of its publications to the Archives of Industrial Society at the University of Pittsburgh and ceased publication of its journal.
History of the Beaver Valley Labor History Society By Tony Francschini