New Collection Available: United Brewery Workers Records, 1888-1977

Submitted by LHRC on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 16:59

The United Brewery Workers records are now open and available for research within The Teamsters Labor History Research Center. Founded in 1886 as the National Union of Brewery Workmen, the union was largely composed of German immigrants, with its convention proceedings and publications printed in German until 1903 and bilingually until 1917. Affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) from the time of its founding, the United Brewery Workers Union withdrew from the AFL in 1946 to affiliate with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).  A particularly violent series of jurisdictional battles between the United Brewery Workers and the Teamsters took place in Pittsburgh in 1946 which included strikes, picket lines, street fights and lawsuits resulting in what would later be known as the “Pittsburgh beer war”.

In 1973, after many years of jurisdictional disputes with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery Workers of America merged with the IBT, becoming the Brewery and Soft Drink Conference of the IBT.  The decision to merge with the Teamsters stemmed from the closing of hundreds of local breweries in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the expanded competition with large national brewers such as Anheuser-Busch.

The United Brewery Workers records contain official proceedings and reports from the United Brewery Workers conventions dating from 1888-1973 as well as General Election Board session minutes from 1935-1973.  These materials provide an insight into the workings of one of the fist industrial unions in the U.S., from its earliest inception through its merger with the IBT. To learn more about the collection please visit the online finding aid