Skip to Questions

Ask an Archivist

Useful Tip: Ask questions or search by keyword, e.g., anthropology database

SEIU early history; date chartered; when is 100 year anniversary

I'm reaching out with a request.
Could you pull together a few photos that would help us show/talk about how SEIU was first formed? Our story is that immigrant flat janitors in Chicago got together and formed a union, Local 1. I think that was in 1919 or 1920? When is our actual 100 year birthday, do you know?
Last Updated: Nov 20, 2018  |  0 Views
Was this helpful? 0   0


Quick answers first:

William Quesse submitted the charter application for BSEIU on April 23, 1921. The 100 year birthday will be in 2021. Local 1 was chartered on October 12, 1921.

There were a few Chicago flat janitor unions beforehand that Quesse was involved in (Flat Janitors Union in 1912, International Union of Building Employees in 1905, Federal Labor Union in 1902). I can work to find demographics on these.

Sent Nov. 19: We don't have many photos pre-1930s of actual members (the Chicago photos were actually just photos of the city of Chicago) but the photos here are:

Quesse (both the headshot and the newspaper article) - SEIU Photographs, Box 189, Folder 1
the first BSEIU Convention - SEIU Photographs, Box 189, Folder 8
"yearbook" photos of officers from the earlier janitorial union (there are more of these, I picked the executive board specifically) - SEIU Research Department Historical Files, Box 1, Folder 6

I also sent along some documents in case you wanted to have a look:

A list of the names from the official yearbook so you can see their other positions - SEIU Research Department Historical Files, Box 1, Folder 6
A copy of the letter from AFL-CIO confirming that the charter was issued (in pts. 1 and 2) - SEIU Historical Records, Box 1, Folder 3
A letter from Quesse from his time in the Chicago Flat Janitors Union (in pts. 1 and 2, pre-BSEIU) - SEIU Historical Records, Box 1, Folder 1
Answered by Sarah LebovitzBookmark and Share

Other Answers / Comments (0)

    Browse by Popular Topics

    African Americans  –  African Americans--History  –  Art--History  –  Automotive industry and trade  –  Baseball--Tournaments  –  Black Panther Party  –  Chavez, Cesar, 1927-1993  –  Civil rights  –  Coalition of Labor Union Women (U.S.)  –  Demonstrations--Michigan--Detroit  –  Desegregation  –  Detroit (Mich.)  –  Detroit (Mich.)--Riot, 1967  –  Detroit Commission on Community Relations  –  Detroit Free Press  –  Discrimination in housing--Michigan  –  Immigrants--United States--History  –  Industrial Workers of the World  –  King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968  –  Labor  –  National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Detroit Branch  –  Neighborhoods--Michigan--Detroit  –  New Detroit, Inc. (Detroit, Mich.)  –  Performing arts  –  Police-community relations  –  Polish Americans--Ethnic identity  –  Pollution  –  Poverty  –  Prohibition--Michigan--Detroit.  –  Purple Gang  –  Radicalism  –  Ravitz, Melvin  –  Reuther, Walter, 1907-1970  –  Revolutionary Action Movement  –  Service Employees International Union  –  Sugar, Maurice, 1891-1974  –  Theater  –  UAW  –  Urban development  –  Urban renewal  –  Walter P. Reuther Library  –  Wayne State University  –  Women  –  Women's rights  –  Women employees  –  Workers Defense League  –  Working class--Songs and music  –  World War, 1939-1945.  –  Yamasaki, Minoru, 1912-  –  Young, Coleman A.  
    View All Topics