Site Map | Sources | Contact |

Chronology of Rochester Central Labor Bodies

Between 1855 and 2005 labor unions in Rochester were affiliated with a series of Central Labor Bodies which emerged from the changing labor movement. These bodies coordinated a wide range of organizing, mutual support, political, media, educational, and community activities to advance the interests of local labor. While these activities are described in the several topic sections of the Web Site, a chronological list of the Central Labor Bodies may prove helpful:

  • Monroe County Workingmen’s Assembly, 1855 - 1857
  • Rochester Trades Assembly, 1863 - 1875
  • The Knights of Labor, active in Rochester from 1882 through the early 1900s, had their own coordinating bodies: District Assembly (DA) 44, 1881 - 1883, and DA 63, 1883 - 1890.
  • From 1884 - 1888 the Central Labor Union, dominated by the Knights of Labor, sought to coordinate the efforts of Knights and non-Knights local unions.
  • In 1888 the recently created American Federation of Labor reorganized the Rochester Trades Assembly, which became the city’s recognized central body until 1903.
  • The Knights of Labor continued to initiate and dominate alternative bodies through the 1890s — the United Labor Council (1891), the Monroe Labor Congress (1895), and the Central Labor Union of Rochester (1896) — which emphasized politics and social reform.
  • The Rochester Trades Assembly was renamed the Central Trades and Labor Council in 1903 at which time it consisted of about 13,000 members from 103 unions. The CTLC lasted until 1959.
  • The founding of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1935 divided Rochester’s unions between the AFL’s Central Trades and Labor Council (85 locals and 30,000 members) and the CIO’s Industrial Council of Rochester and Vicinity (18 locals and 22,000 members). The two bodies cooperated with each other during the great Rochester General Strike of 1946.
  • In 1958, three years after the national AFL and CIO merger, Rochester’s two councils merged to create the present Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
  • In 2001 the Rochester Labor Council joined central labor bodies from eleven regional counties to form the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation.