Read an overview of each period:
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.