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Labor Studies

Union Websites

Unions are a manifestation of collective action of employees in particular workplaces or industries. They themselves also organize into larger entities to allow for collective action in a larger arena. These are links to a few such organizations. You can also search the Internet for individual union websites, such as some that represent University of California workers:  United Auto Workers (UAW), University Council-AFT (UC-AFT), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), University Professional and Technical Employees (UPTE), California Nurses Association (CNA).

What Is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source.

In art, literature, and cultural studies, primary sources include original creative works, such as paintings, architectural plans, music, poems, novels, movies, television shows, and even advertisements.

In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other sources of information from people who were participants or direct witnesses to the events in question. Examples of commonly used historical primary sources include government documents, memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

In the sciences, primary sources are usually articles or data resulting directly from experiments, fieldwork, or clinical trials.

Note that the "primacy" of a source can be relative. In cases where original records were lost or a live performance was never recorded, a review or commentary from a third party may be the most primary source available.


Enjoy this video introduction to UCLA Library Special Collections!

Los Angeles Labor & Working Class History

Primary Sources That Include Documents About Labor Movements

Labor History Archival Collections

Labor unions have deposited their historical files in archives around the country. The catalogs of many archives of labor unions are available for searching online, either in university collections or on private websites. A Google search for labor history archives will get you a long list to look through.