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Read an extended summary of each historically distinct period:

Lists of Affiliates

Unions listed represented nearly a half million Rochester workers in hundreds of construction, manufacturing, transportation, communications, and service sector jobs:


The story of Rochester’s central labor bodies unfolds over a century and a half that falls into three distinct periods, shaped in part by the sources of information.

Era 1 (1855-1909) comprises the early history, from the emergence of short-lived workingmen’s assemblies through the District Assemblies of the Knights of Labor to the AFL’s Central Trades & Labor Council. In the absence of labor journals and original records, much of this story derives from secondary sources. Click here for an extended summary of Era 1 »

Era 2 (1910-1959) represents the middle period, recorded extensively in a series of official labor journals and covers the development of the Central Trades & Labor Council through the rise of the AFL, the Depression and recovery, and the rivalry with the CIO. Click here for an extended summary of Era 2 »

Era 3 (1960-2005) is the modern period, a story described in some detail in Labor News, supplemented to some extent by Council minutes: the growth of the Council following the AFL-CIO merger, its emergence as a vibrant central body, and its struggles to defend workers from the blows of global capitalism. Click here for an extended summary of Era 3 »

While these eras describe the arc of the narrative, this Web Site organizes the story of Rochester’s central labor bodies in terms of topical sections, each of which is presented chronologically. This arrangement is intended to facilitate entry at many points and to enhance links between the topics and sub-topics which together comprise the story.