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Communications Workers of America, East Tennessee Office


The National Federation of Telephone Workers (NFTW), the former institution of Communications Workers of America, was founded in 1937. It was more of a confederation, a union of unions, than a federation of local unions. A high degree of decentralization and local autonomy made the NFTW a weak and ineffective organization; nevertheless, in terms of membership growth, the NFTW thrived. In 1947 a reorganization occurred, and the union was renamed the Communications Workers of America.

The end of the bitter 1947 strike and the organization of the CWA did not end the union's troubles. Occurring almost simultaneously with the organization of the CWA, the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) established the Telephone Workers' Organizing Committee (TWOC). This challenge of the CIO was a serious threat to the continued survival of the CWA, because some of the CWA's strongest affiliates and effective leaders left it to join the TWOC. As a consequence, in 1949, the CWA formally joined the CIO and merged into one organization, the Communications Workers of America.

During the years following the CIO affiliation, the CWA gradually strengthened its collective bargaining position, expanded its membership, and increased the authority of the national office. The CWA maintains its national headquarters in Washington, D.C. and holds an annual convention. In 1985, the CWA reported a membership of 650,000 located in 910 local unions. It publishes the CWA NEWS monthly and the CWA NEWSLETTER weekly.

The East Tennessee-Kentucky Office, closed in February 1980, was one of the regional offices of CWA. It was responsible for representing East Tennessee and southern Kentucky. This included workers from:

United Telephone................Bristol, Tenn. Southern Electric Company..Greeneville, Tenn. Wright & Lopey, Inc.,..........Bristol, Tenn. Sammons Communications..Bristol, Morristown, Tenn. Highland Telephone Cooperative...Sunbright, Tenn. Star Constructive Company, Inc.,.Knoxville, Tenn. North Electric Company........Johnson City, Tenn. General Telephone...............Lexington, Ky

Like many other unions, CWA office of East Tennessee-Kentucky served its members by conducting negotiations with respect to pay, wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.
Directory of Labor Unions by Gary Fink

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Communications Workers of America, East Tennessee Office Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AppMs-63
Arrangement The collection is divided into two series: Series 1, General Office Files and Series 2, Training Materials. Series 2 is divided into two subseries: Subseries 2.1, CWA Leader Information and Subseries 2.2, Steward Training Material.
Dates: 1959-1979