Scope and Content
Title: International Association of Machinists, Lodge #284 Records,
Date (inclusive): 1917-1966, mainly 1940s
Accession number: 1991/103
International Association of Machinists
Extent: 2.3 cubic feet
San Francisco State University. Labor Archives & Research Center
San Francisco, California 94132
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Center's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Labor Archives & Research Center. All requests for
permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing
to the Director of the Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf
of the Labor Archives & Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be
obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], International Association of Machinists, Lodge #284 Records, 1991/103, Labor Archives & Research
San Francisco State University.
These records were donated by International Association of Machinists Lodge #284 in 1991. The collection was processed by
Amy Holloway in the fall of 1998.
The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Lodge #284 was originally founded around the turn of the 20
th century. The early Lodge #284 has been characterized as militant due to its history of acting without sanction from the Grand
Lodge. In his dissertation
The San Francisco Machinists from Depression to Cold War, 1930-1950(1988), Richard Prime Boyden states that the Oakland Lodge was founded by members of San Francisco Lodge #68 (Boyden, pp.186-187).
Joint by-laws for the two Lodges are included in the 1908 journal in the collection for Lodge #68. Throughout the years, Lodge
#284 and Lodge #68 worked together; and in 1936, when Lodge #284 faced suspension from the International Association of Machinists,
Lodge #68 led supporters.
The International Association of Machinists (IAM) was founded in 1888. San Francisco Lodge #68 was organized in 1885, even
before the IAM, and became the oldest local. In 1895, the International Association of Machinists affiliated with the American
Federation of Labor (AFL), which was founded in 1881.
Boyden notes that in the early decades of the century, both the San Francisco and Oakland lodges were known as 'boomer lodges',
"stronger and more militant", because a number of their members were 'eastern men' (Boyden, p. 71). The International Association
of Machinists did not officially integrate until 1948 when its executive council ordered the qualification that members be
white be stricken from the union's initiation ritual. Although the American Federation of Labor required that no statement
of a color line be explicit in an affiliate's constitution, many unions, including the International Association of Machinists,
excluded people of color unofficially through their initiation rituals. In the 1917 and 1919 minutes, Lodge #284's support
of Chinese exclusion from employment and industry is noted. Women are mentioned in the journals, first as members of the Ladies
Auxilary in 1917 and later as employees/union members receiving strike benefits. In the International Association of Machinists,
women members were formally accepted in 1911. Mark Perlman touches on the issues of race and gender in his book
Democracy in the International Association of Machinists (1962). He is also the author of
The Machinists: A New Study in American Trade Unionism(1961).
The predominant strikes or conflicts in the early minutes (1917-1919 and 1919-1920) refer to the Marchant Company and the
Hall and Scott Company. The 1917-1919 minutes ledger mentions a resolution to strike in early 1919 with or without sanction
(p. 482). Much of the 1919- 1920 ledger documents recommendations for $6.40 for an 8 hour day, a 44 hour week and retroactive
pay based on the Macy Award, which had fixed a wage level for shipyards (p.5, 45). Robert Edward Lee Knight mentions the Macy
wage schedule in his book
Industrial Relations in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1900-1918 (Knight, pp.360-61).
In 1936, there was a walkout of machinists on both sides of the Bay. IAM President Wharton had already taken on a number of
issues with the Oakland and San Francisco locals. He demanded that they join with other locals in forming a district organization
and they refused. Also, 284 refused to accept a new production worker classification. Wharton had given conditional sanction
to the strike, but after negotiating with a leading employer in the strike, Atlas Diesel, Wharton withdrew sanction. His action
emboldened strikers. The national office ordered the strikers back to work and encouraged police to harass the pickets. The
strikers sent Lodge #68's Ed Dillon to negotiate with Wharton. Dillon "hinted that western machinists might secede from the
International Association of Machinists rather than lose this strike" (Boyden, p. 179). Wharton ordered the Oakland local
suspended. "The entire regional labor movement rallied to the machinists' defense," providing 284 with funds and other support
At the National Convention in Milwaukee, "the Oakland strike commanded the most attention" (Boyden, p.181). Ed Dillon made
the main speech in Oakland's defense, however when asked by Wharton if he and the appellants would abide by the convention's
decision, Dillon's " refusal to commit himself in advance to support an unfavorable decision caused a large majority of votes
to go against the Oakland strikers" (Boyden, p. 186). The remaining strikers returned to work and the next year the local
received a new charter from the CIO to become Local 1304 of the Steel Workers' Organizing Committee.
The Oakland and San Francisco machinists' lodges, one CIO, the other AFL, continued to operate jointly...despite the...enmity
between the rival federations. [IAM and AFL] officials would for the next ten years relentlessly pursue twin goals of destroying
Local 1304 and purging the militant leadership of Lodge 68.
(Boyden, p. 187)
When Lodge #284 was suspended, Local 1304 SWOC-CIO organized in many shops which had previously been under the jurisdiction
of Lodge #284. As noted, Lodge #68 began working with Local 1304, although it met with the regrouped Lodge #284 also. Lodge
#284 and Local #1304 rivaled each other for members.
Throughout the history of the International Association of Machinists and the American Federation Labor, there has been an
effort to retain the status of the skilled worker. The Congress of Industrial Organizations, with its focus on industry not
craft, has highlighted that issue of status as a limit in the AFL's ability to represent all employees. In IAM Lodge #284,
workers came to gain employment at three general levels: journeyman, specialists and production workers.
There is much information about apprenticeship training in Dave Wilson's Business Agent files of the late 1940s. There were
numerous joint committees of the East Bay and with San Francisco which focused on the apprentice training issue. The proposal
for the formation of the junior college system in Alameda-Contra Costa Counties came about in 1948.
Over the years, Lodge #284 operated offices or met at 453 8th Street, Oakland; Moose Hall at 12th and Clay; the Labor Temple;
Danish Hall at 164 11th Street; Cooks Union Hall at 1608 WebsterStreet; and 1117 Webster Street.
Lodge #284 has been affiliated with: International Association of Machinists, District Lodge No. 115 and its locals; Metal
Trades Council; Iron Trades Council; California Conference of Machinists; California State Federation of Labor; and the Central
Labor Council of Alameda County.
The jurisdiction of #284 includes machinists employed as welders, diemakers, diecasters, tool crib attendants, oilers and
screw machinists. Its geographic jurisdiction includes Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville and San Leandro. Employers include
Aircraft Engineering and Maintenance Co., Albert Wright Screw Products, Caterpillar Tractor Co., Food Machinery Corporation,
Hall Scott Motor Car Co., and Leslie and Morton Salt Cos., and Marchant Calculating Machine Co.
Scope and Content
The IAM Lodge 284 collection is organized into eleven series: Minutes, Committees, Grievances, Print Material, Business Agent
Administrative Files, District 115, Grand Lodge, Affiliations, Agreements, War Labor Board, Artifacts.
The earliest material in the collection is the 1917 minutes ledger. The most recent material is 1966 correspondence in the
Agreements Series. Most of the records in the collection are from the 1940s. Of the nine minutes ledgers, two date from 1917-1920
and seven date from 1941- 1949. Documents in the Agreements Series range from the 1940s to the 1960s. The Business Agent files
are primarily from 1948 although there are items dating from 1942 through 1950.
There is one committee file, the Labor Day Parade and Picnic Committee of 1947. Other committees mentioned throughout the
minutes ledgers include Strike Committees, Trial Committees (which address grievances with strike breakers, business agents
or other members), and Social Committees.
Researchers interested in labor's stance on ethnic groups and women will find information about this in Lodge #284's minutes
ledgers. In the 1917-1919 ledger there is mention of a motion regarding the lodge's stand against Chinese immigration (p.77,
91, 479). The 1919-1920 journal also mentions the exclusion of the Chinese (p.166). The October and November, 1942 minutes
of the 1941-1942 ledger mention the "woman question" in trainee programs. The "colored question" is mentioned in the September
21, 1943 minutes of the 1943 ledger. The April- November 1945 journal addresses women with mention of female Caterpillar employees
(May 8), and the physical condition of women workers (July 24). The December 4, 1945 minutes mention that a statement by the
West Coast NAACP on the labor situation is received but the letter is tabled (May 21, 1946).
The Business Agent and the Agreements Series represent the bulk of the collection, with 22 and 44 files respectively. Aside
from the Minutes Series with its 9 ledgers and 7 accompanying folders, the other eight series contain from 1-5 files each.
A file of California State Federation of Labor weekly newsletters was removed from the collection to be placed with LARC periodical
There were many addendums taped into the bound minutes journals. Most were removed for conservation purposes and photocopies
were put in their stead. The originals are in folders following each journal.
Related collections in the Labor Archives include the records of the International Association of Machinists Lodge #68 and
the Automotive Machinist Union Lodge #1305.