For most of their history Rochester’s central labor bodies understood communications to be the publication of official Journals, the purpose of which was best described by the 1952 masthead of Labor News: “Rochester’s Only Publication Containing Official Local, National and World News of Vital Importance to All Wage-Earners and All Rochesterians Who Support the Struggle by Union Labor For the Continued Advancement of Social and Economic Standards in the Nation.”
During the 1880s the Knights of Labor published the International Labor Advocate and the Sunday Truth & Advocate & Mail. The AFL’s Central Trades & Labor Council (CTLC) published a series of papers: the Labor Journal (1899-1913), the Labor Herald (1914-1927), and the Labor Herald & Citizen (1928-1935).
During the 1920s the CTLC attempted to use the new medium of radio broadcasting to communicate with the widest possible audience, but the printed page was the medium that endured over time.
The rivalry between the AFL and CIO disrupted labor journalism in Rochester for nearly a decade which saw sporadic independent publications — Labor’s Vanguard (1937) and Labor Herald (1939-1941) — as well as the CTLC’s continued efforts with Rochester & Vicinity Labor (1939) and Labor & Labor Herald (1941).
Regular publication resumed in 1945 with Labor News, published by the CTLC until the AFL-CIO merger, then by the Rochester Labor Council from 1959 through 1996, when ownership was transferred to the Allied Building Trades Council.