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Founders Circle

Harry Bridges bustFounded in 2010, the Labor Archives of Washington is a collaboration between the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the University of Washington Libraries. Funding for the Archives comes largely from the labor movement. The contributions of dozens of unions and hundreds of individuals make this possible. Their names will be recorded on a plaque accompanying the statue of Harry Bridges in the entrance to Suzzallo Library on the University of Washington campus.

Major donors include the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Longshore Division ($150,000); Washington State Labor Council ($30,000); Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies ($30,000).


Donors who have given $500 or more to the Labor Archives of Washington State will be memorialized as members of the Labor Archive Founder’s Circle. Founder’s Circle names will be inscribed on a plaque and displayed with the Harry Bridges statue in the entrance to the University of Washington’s Suzzallo Library.


Campaign Background

Recognizing the need to protect the heritage of labor in Washington state, a group of labor leaders and labor scholars associated with the Harry Bridges Center launched the campaign to create a Labor Archives in 2008. They called themselves the Labor Archives Organizing Committee. The campaign quickly drew the support of the Washington State Labor Council which endorsed the plan at its annual convention and pledged $10,000 a year for three years. The Harry Bridges Center pledged a similar amount.

The biggest commitment came from the Longshore Division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ILWU issued a matching challenge, pledging to match contributions up to a total of $50,000 during each of three years from 2009-2011.

Dozens of unions, labor councils, and other organizations have responded to the challenge and have been joined by more than one hundred individual donors.

In Spring 2010, the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies and the UW Libraries finalized an agreement about managing the Labor Archives and announced a national search for an experienced Labor Archivist to manage the enterprise. Conor Casey was chosen and accepted the position. The Labor Archives of Washington officially opened in October 2010.


Labor Archives Organizing Committee


  • Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council
  • Dave Freiboth, Executive Secretary, M.L. King County Labor Council
  • Patty Rose, Secretary-Treasurer, Pierce County Central Labor Council

  • Past Co-Chairs

  • Rick Bender, Former President, Washington State Labor Council

    • Steve Conway, State Senator 29th District
    • Robert Duggan, ILWU lawyer, retired
    • James Gregory, Harry Bridges Chair of Labor Studies, UW
    • Holly Hulscher, Vice President, ILWU Local 23
    • Ian Kennedy, past President, ILWU Local 52
    • Vance Lelli, President, Pierce County Central Labor Council
    • Margaret Levi, Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies
      Department of Political Science, University of Washington
    • Thomas Lux, IAM District 751
    • Ronald Magden, historian, Tacoma Community College
    • Terri Mast, Secretary-Treasurer, InlandBoatmen’s Union
    • David Olson, former Harry Bridges Chair, UW
    • Ross Rieder, President, Pacific Northwest Labor History Association
    • Rick Sawyer, Vice President, UNITE-HERE
    • Sandra Schroeder, President, AFT-Washington
    • Mike Sells, Secretary-Treasurer, Snohomish County Central Labor Council
    • Conrad Spell, past President, ILWU Local 23
    • Eugene Vrana, ILWU Director of Education Services, retired