The Records of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union (BC&T), Local 235, in Meyer Library’s Special Collections and Archives is a large collection from a local union that was chartered in 1905 in Springfield. Some material in the collection dates back to 1929.
Through the years, Local 235’s jurisdiction was extended to include Columbia, Jefferson City, Boonville, Carrollton, Rolla, Poplar Bluff, and Sikeston. The scope of Local 235 has also expanded since its inception. As part of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) International Union, it has roots among a number of unions that merged and grew through the decades. The union’s earliest roots reach back to 1886 when the Bakery and Confectionery Workers International Union of America, one of the pioneers of the North American labor movement, was organized. In 1957, the American Bakery and Confectionery Workers’ International Union was formed. In 1969, the two organizations united.
This collection contains a diversity of materials about the BC&T. The bulk of the material concerns bakery-related aspects of the union, with most of it dating from prior to 1978, when the Bakery & Confectionery Workers merged with the Tobacco Workers Union. Researchers will find materials on the organization of the union and how it operated, as well as publications on specific issues. The greater part of the collection helps document the membership of the local, while the shop files detail the local’s interaction with various businesses. These include numerous contracts, correspondence, and details on strikes or other conflicts.
Among the materials are records of Earl Trotter. Trotter served as secretary of Bakers Local 235, as well as secretary of the Springfield Central Labor Council. He also took an active role in the organization of the new American Bakery and Confectionery Workers Union, and later served on the executive board of the International Union from its foundation until his retirement.