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Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO Council: Tom Turner Records

Identifier: LR000053

Scope and Content

This addition to the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO Council Collection consists primarily, though not exclusively, of correspondence, reports, minutes, and clippings relating to the administration of President Tom Turner and to his career as a labor and civic leader. It also documents the work of the Council and its affiliated locals, including their political and community service activities, both prior to and during Mr. Turner’s tenure as president.

Important subjects in the collection: A. Philip Randolph Institute Affirmative action programs--Michigan AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education AFL-CIO merger Afro-American civic leaders--Michigan Afro-American labor leaders--Michigan AFSCME (metro Detroit locals) AFT (metro Detroit locals) American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Building trades--Segregation Civil rights movements--Michigan--Detroit Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Community development, Urban--Michigan Comprehensive Health Planning Council Detroit Economic Growth Corporation Detroit Federation of Labor Detroit Plan Discrimination in employment--Michigan--Detroit Histadrut Hospitals--Michigan--Detroit Human Resources Development Institute J. P. Stevens Co. boycott Labor and laboring classes--Education Labor Day parades Labor movement--Michigan Medical care--Michigan--Detroit Michigan Democratic Party Michigan State AFL-CIO NAACP (National & Detroit Branch) Occupational training--Michigan--Detroit Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Race relations--Michigan--Detroit School integration--Michigan--Detroit SEIU (metro Detroit locals) South East Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA) Teamsters (metro Detroit locals) Trade Union Leadership Council Trade-unions--Political activity Unemployment--Michigan--Detroit United Food & Commercial Workers United Foundation United Minorities/Women Leadership Training Project United Steelworkers District 29 Wayne County AFL Wayne County (Mich.)--Politics and government

Important correspondents in the collection: Al Barbour James Blanchard Jerome P. Cavanagh John Conyers, Jr. Charles C. Diggs, Jr. John Dingell Philip Hart Benjamin Hooks Russell Leach Frank X. Martel William Milliken Henry J. Mueller Mike Novak William Oliver Mel Ravitz Donald Riegle George Romney G. Mennen Willaims John Williams Coleman Young

Series Description: Series I, Subject Files, 1920-1984

Series II, Executive Board and Delegate Body Minutes and Constitutional Conventions, 1920-1984


  • 1920 - 1984
  • Majority of material found within 1968 - 1984


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


Tom Turner served as president of the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO Council from 1969, when the Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County AFL-CIO Councils merged, until 1986. Prior to his election as president, Turner worked in the United Steelworkers of America Local 1299 as a steward in the Checking Department. He worked his way through the administrative ranks with the USWA and was appointed to the staff of District 29 in 1964. The following year Turner went to work for the Wayne County AFL-CIO as the administrative assistant to President Al Barbour. In 1967 he won election to the organization's vice presidency. The Wayne County AFL-CIO Council's Executive Board elected him president in 1968. The Executive Board of the Metro Detroit Council approved his election overwhelmingly at the merger convention in 1969.

Turner was active in the civil rights movement, serving as president of the Detroit NAACP from 1968 until 1970. He sat on the national board of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, and on several committees of New Detroit, Inc. He also served on the board of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and on the National Council for Health Planning and Development. Other organizations in which he has been involved include the United Foundation's Labor Participation Committee, the Metro Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Trade Union Leadership Council, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and the Oakland-Livingston Human Services Agency. He has been a staunch advocate of youth programs like the Boy Scouts and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Detroit.


124 Linear Feet ((124 SB), 1 OS folder)


Subjects include: civil rights; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; political education; Detroit government and politics; Detroit Federation of Labor; school desegregation; health and hospital services; Histadrut; labor education; Wayne County government


Arranged in 2 series- Series 1 (Boxes 1-114), and Series 2 (Boxes 115-124).

Related Materials

AFL-CIO collections


A large number of constitutions, by-laws, contracts, books, newspapers and constitutional convention proceedings received with this collection have been transferred to the Archives Library, and numerous photographs and items of memorabilia have been placed in the Archives Audiovisual Collection.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO Council: Tom Turner Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA