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?


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
  • Last Updated Jan 15, 2019
  • Views 110
  • Answered By Sarah Lebovitz

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