Extent:  1,700 cubic feet

Industrial Relations Scope and Content Note

The Industrial Relations records group contains some of the most important components of the archives. The records provide an invaluable insight into the relationship between CF&I’s management and the labor force. Records documenting the period before unionization as well as after, from both a labor and management point of view, contribute to providing a more well-rounded picture of a company and its workforce than is generally seen in one archival collection. Particularly rare are the glimpses into management decision-making, union avoidance strategies, resolution of grievances and other important labor relations issues.

The record group is divided into nine subgroups: Labor Relations, Employee Relations, Publications, Personnel, Employee Benefits, Medical Department, Sociological Department, Steel Y.M.C.A., and the Mabel Henry Fund.

Records in the Labor Relations subgroup (1894-1993) trace the troubled history of CF&I’s management of its labor force over a great extent of its history. It documents living and working conditions in the mines and steel mill, development of the Employee Representation Plan (Rockefeller Plan) at CF&I. in an attempt to address some of the grievances arising from the Coal Wars of 1913-1914 (which resulted in the Ludlow Massacre), through unionization, and the continuing labor disputes which plagued the company.

The Employee Relations subgroup (1915-1993) contains documentation of employee development and recognition, as well as its steel worker apprenticeship program.

Over the years, CF&I put out many publications, most of them aimed at workers and their families. The Publications subgroup (1901-1996) includes: Camp & Plant, 1901-1904; the Industrial Bulletin, 1915-1929; the Steel Works Blast, 1922-1928; the CF&I Blast, 1924-1976; and CF&I Today, 1987-1992, 1996. These publications are a rich source of documentation on the lives of both miners and steel workers. CF&I’s advertising department also published Turnover, 1929-1931, a journal directed at the vendors who marketed CF&I’s coal as fuel.

The Personnel subgroup (1880-1993) contains employment records for CF&I employees, both miners and steel workers. Some of the most valuable of these records are employment cards, ca. 1910-1950s, and personnel files, ca. 1950s-1990s, which detail an employee’s entire work history, noting jobs worked and time periods in each job, layoffs, illnesses, and often, physical descriptions, national origin, family relationships, education and other interesting information. This subgroup also includes records relating to employment status, seniority and job descriptions.

Employee Benefits (1915-1993) is by far the largest subgroup, containing pension files, workman’s compensation files and records relating to all other benefits received by employees.

The Medical Department subgroup (1905-1993) includes detailed medical files for employees from ca. 1940s to 1990s. One notable group of records is the Black Lung X-Ray files which document the incidence of the disease in CF&I’s coal miners. Earlier records are sporadic, but include the Surgeon’s Personal Injury Reports from 1905, which document how the company’s doctors dealt with injuries and treatment and how the company managed compensation for its employees in a pre-union environment.

Under the direction of its chief surgeon Richard Corwin, the company created a Sociological Department in 1901. The Sociological Department subgroup (1901-1915) contains reports detailing the activities of the department and its efforts to “better” the lives of its workers by offering lectures on such topics as hygiene, civics, politics, home economics, history and the dangers of communism as well as offering adult education classes and kindergardens for employees’ children.

The Steel Y.M.C.A. (1910-1949) was a successor to the Sociological Department after its demise in 1915, and become the center of social life for many of the company’s employees. This subgroup consists primarily of publications of the Steel Y.M.C.A.

The Mabel Henry Fund subgroup (1930-1965) contains records documenting the fund’s efforts to provide monetary assistance to employees during the Great Depression and later.

Arrangement: Currently organized into ten subgroups

SG 2.1, Labor Relations, 1901-1992.

SG 2.2, Employee Relations, 1915-1992.

SG 2.3, Publications, 1901-1996.

SG 2.4, Personnel, 1880-1992.

SG 2.5, Employee Benefits, 1915-1992.

SG 2.6, Medical Department, 1905-1992.

SG 2.7, Sociological Department, 1900-1915.

SG 2.8, Steel YMCA 1910-195.0

SG 2.9, Mabel Henry Fund, 1930-1962.

S.G 2.10, Undefined,

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RG 2 
CF&I Industrial Relations  1892-1993