Cornell University

Catherwood Library

Catherwood Library, Ives Hall, 607-255-5435

Question of the Month

From the Catherwood Library reference librarians

January-February 2008

PLEASE NOTE: The Reference Question of the Month is kept current only during the month for which it was written. Archived questions will not be updated, and over time may contain inaccurate information or broken web links. We provide archived questions as a service, since much of the information will remain accurate and of continued interest to the ILR community.

Question: Where can I find information about which unions can be found in my local area?

Answer:

Whether you are looking for the corporate offices or local representatives for a certain union, there are a few good resources to help you out.

One great source is your state’s Department of Labor. Most states have an office that oversees state laws and regulations and collects information regarding unions operating in that state. To find your state’s Department web site, visit http://www.dol.gov/esa/contacts/state_of.htm. Of course, each state will have different information available, so it might take a bit of searching to find where the information is kept, if it is made public at all.

For the Ithaca area, the appropriate source is the New York State Department of Labor, whose web site is: http://www.labor.state.ny.us/. This site contains the Directory of Labor Unions & Employee Organizations in New York State, http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workforceindustrydata/apps.asp?reg=nys&app=unions.
This directory “includes private and public employee organizations, and contains the name, address, telephone number (if available), and principal or executive officer of nearly 4,000 locals.”

The directory lists labor organizations by region of the state, so if you were interested in local Ithaca organizations you would need to select “Southern Tier” from the “Select a Region” drop down menu. You may also limit your search by type of organization, whether you are interested in locals in the public Sector or private sector. One drawback, however, is that the information is updated infrequently and hasn’t been updated since 2002.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards (http://www.olms.dol.gov) is also of great use. Each local must file a report with the Department of Labor each year indicating membership and other vital statistics. These reports are available online and are now able to be searched. The web site is the “Union or Trust Search” page (http://erds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do). Fields that can be searched include city, state, or zip code range allowing you to limit it to the area in which you are interested.

The records that are retrieved include the name of the organization, and the assets, liabilities and membership of each. Links are provided to the PDF version of the most recent report on file with the Department of Labor, and a list of previous reports can be found by clicking on the organization’s name. From the page listing the reports, the most recent version of the local’s constitution and bylaws are also sometimes available.

More great resources for information about labor unions can be found in the Catherwood Library’s own “Labor Unions” subject guide (http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/research/subjectGuides/laborUnions.html) as well as the Best of the Web guide entitled “Labor Unions and the Internet” (http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/library/research/subjectGuides/laborUnionsInternet.html).

Both of these sources have been created by experts in the subject and contain numerous valuable resources for all your research needs on labor unions.


— Researched by Christian Miller