IOWA LABOR FILM COLLECTION

 

Click here for descriptions of individual titles.

 

         The Iowa Labor Film Collection contains 137 films consisting of over 89,000 feet and over 41 hours of film.  The collection is comprised of films from a national and a local perspective, but most items are on industrial health and safety, the Sioux City labor movement, and the UAW international union.  The collection consists of six series; health and safety films, union and company histories, political films, films from KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa, films that deal with local unions in Iowa, and fictional story and animated films.  There are two separate inventories that log each of the labor films.  The first inventory differs from the second in that the content of each film is discussed on a very basic level.  The second inventory (on computer only) is much larger and states a large number of details within each film, including changes in sound quality, and almost all scene changes within the films.  Both inventories contain descriptions for all the films, including the KCAU-TV films, which contain more data than the other series.  The inventories contain the exact title as it was written on masking tape labels on each role of film (see the series description for more information on the series).  The exact titles are underlined in the individual film descriptions.  Because the title are printed exactly as they appeared on the film originally, there may be multiple misspelled words within the titles.

 

         The first series in the film collection contains labor union and industry histories.  Included in the series are films on Walter Reuther, the United Automobile, Agricultural Implement, and Aerospace Workers of America International Union, the labor movement in Iowa, the labor movement in the United States, and several films on individual struggles between workers and employers, such as J.P. Stevens and Willie Farah.  The series contains call numbers FR 3 1.1 through FR 3 1.20, is over 16,000 feet long and runs for over 7 hours 30 minutes.

 

         Series two is comprised of political films from labor unions in Iowa and other places within the United States.  The films run around 6 hours 30 minutes, and are over 14,150 feet long.  The films in the collection have call number ranging from FR 3 2.1 to FR 3 2.16.  The footage contains speeches by several presidents, campaign videos from candidates for an office from Iowa, and films on individual topics and elections used to educate union members.

 

         The fictional film series contains few films on labor unions, but contains films that tell stories meant to educate labor union members on topics such as ethnic discrimination, free trade, the National Farmers Union, the elderly, and assisting post-World War II Germany.  The series contains call numbers FR 3 3.1 to FR 3 3.5, runs around 2 hours, and is almost 4100 feet long.

 

         The fourth series in the Iowa Labor Film Collection is comprised of films from local unions within Iowa.  Within the series is a film with boxing from UPWA Local 3 in Cedar Rapids, a portion of They Met At The Fair from UPWA Local 46 in Waterloo, and a film of strike activity by UPWA Local 46 in Waterloo in 1948.  The series’ call numbers are from FR 3 4.1 to FR 3 4.3.  The films are 275 feet total, and run around 8 minutes total.

 

         The series on health and safety films is largely made up of films from the UAW on safety in the workplace.  Included in these are films on ventilation, noise, flammable liquids, hazardous substances, and mechanical safeguarding.  Other films in the series cover national health insurance, OSHA, pensions, the grievance procedure, and shop accidents.  The series is around 8 hours 15 minutes long, and is around 17,700 feet.  The call numbers of the series are from FR 3 5.1 through FR 3 5.22.

 

            The collection’s largest series of films is made up of short television outtakes from KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.  The series was put together by manually sifting through approximately 1300 cans of outtakes that each contained between one and ten separately rolled films.  While going through the cans, masking tape labels (that contained one or two word descriptions) on the rolls of film were used to find rolls of film that could possible lead to industry or labor union scenes.  The rolls inside the individual cans could be anywhere from 10 seconds to approximately 5 minutes in length.  Because the rolls were usually housed without plastic cores, wound extremely tight, and lay dormant for over 20 years, the film itself was difficult to handle and occasionally in an advancing state of decay, including vinegar syndrome, and the magnetic sound strip sticking to the back of the film, hence losing the sound for that portion of footage.  The film rolls from 1976 to 1978 were inside cans that were labeled with appropriate dates, but the film cans from 1975 were previously designated a number that is loosely correlated with the specific day of the year, i.e. 1 equals January 1, and 365 equals around December 31.

 

         A large portion of the series is very rich in information on Sioux City are labor unions, mainly from 1975 through 1977.  Though the series contains numerous industries and unions including construction workers, sheet metal workers, the Sioux City Stockyards, the Teamsters, Dynatech, Nipco, IPS, and theater projectionists, the two most complete groups represented are the police officers’ union and films from IBP and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters & Butcher Workmen of North America (AMC&BW) Local 222.  The series is split into nine sub-series, IBP and AMC&BW Local 222, other meat processing facilities, livestock and the Sioux City Stockyards, truckers and Teamsters, the police union, grain elevators, IPS, electronics industry, and others that are not included in the first eight.

 

         The IBP films take up a large portion of the KCAU-TV series, and are from 1975 to 1978.  The film reels are numbered FR 3 6.1 through FR 3 6.20, are approximately 5.7 hours long, and are over 12,200 feet.  The outtakes of the IBP plant and workers from Dakota City, Nebraska are largely distant views of the plant exterior, views of striking workers, and interviews with striking workers from AMC&BW Local 222, including talks with Local 222 business agent and future UFCW International Vice President Lewie Anderson.  The IBP films also contain some outtakes of meat cutting inside the plant, stockholders meetings, local union meetings, and pieces of productions for IBP including soundtracks and non-edited footage. 

 

         The films from other meat packing facilities includes items from Armour, Swift, Dubuque Pack, Raskin Pack, Floyd Pack, Spencer Foods, and Flavorland.  The films are call numbers FR 3 6.21 to FR 3 6.24.  This sub-series is a little over 40 minutes of footage and is over 1400 feet long.  The footage mainly contains exterior views of the plants, striking workers, and information on plant closures.

 

         The next sub-series consists of film footage of livestock and the Sioux City Stockyards.  The call numbers of the films are FR 3 6.25 through FR 3 6.33.  The footage is almost entirely made up of beef inside the stockyards, being shuttled in between pens and sold at auction.  The footage is around 3 hours long and is 6400 feet.

 

         The truckers and Teamsters sub-series contains footage of the 1976 Teamsters strike in Sioux City, and local union and business officials speaking about the repercussions and reasons for the strike.  The footage is around 45 minutes long and 1600 feet.  The call numbers of the film are FR 3 6.34 and FR 3 6.35.

 

         The police union film runs approximately 50 minutes long and around 1800 feet.  The film is from 1976 to 1978, and has call numbers are FR 3 6.36 and FR 3 6.37. The footage is mostly short clips of negotiations between the City of Sioux City and the police involving Bruce Patterson (city official) and a police official named Watson.  There are also short interviews or parts of interviews with the officials from both sides.

 

         The grain elevator film consists of footage of mostly Bartlett Grain in Sioux City, and its explosion in 1976.  The explosion footage contains exterior views of the massive destruction and bodies being taken from the rubble.  The footage runs approximately 30 minutes and is over 800 feet long, and are call numbers FR 3 6.38 through FR 3 6.40.

 

         The next sub-series contains footage from the IPS (Iowa Public Service) power plants around Sioux City, and are call numbers FR 3 6.41 through FR 3 6.43.  The footage is mainly exterior views of the power plants, but also contains some interior views in the control rooms, and a small amount of footage of the Carpenters’ Local 948 strike at the power plant.  The footage is around 55 minutes long and 1900 feet.

 

         The electronics industry footage contains scenes from Zenith and Dyna Technology, Inc. (Dynatech), in Sioux City and inside an unknown electronics manufacturing plant.  The Zenith footage is mainly concerned with the possible elimination of the plant in Sioux City, the Dynatech footage is mostly exterior views of the plant and reporters speaking to Machinists’ District 162 President Dick Sturgeon on the proposed moving of the company.  The footage is 1600 feet long and approximately 45 minutes.  The call numbers of the films are FR 3 6.44 and FR 3 6.45.

 

         The final sub-series in the KCAU-TV series is of other footage that does not fit with the previous eight sub-series.  This includes films on several industries and local union interests including films with multiple industries on the same reel.  Some industries and unions in the sub-series include bakers, packing plants, asbestos workers, plumbers, city workers, Nipco, projectionists, construction workers, bus drivers, industrial development, Terra Chemical, UPS, Truckers, and Purina.  The footage is approximately 7200 feet long and runs 3 hours 20 minutes, and are call numbers FR 3 6.46 through FR 3 6.63.