1872 Union Charter for the International Typographic Union

This video is part of a series made in collaboration with the Workers Arts and Heritage Center as part of the All for 9 and Nine for All project.


When we were first opening the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Center in 1995, I had to go to a printer to go and get some pamphlets printed off. Of course, we went to a good union printer to do that. He asked about what our organization was about. We said we were a labour museum. Then he said: “I think I may have something that will interest you”. And so, he went downstairs and brought back this frame, but the front was all black with soot. I grabbed my sleeve and wiped it away a little bit. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It is the original union charter for local 129 of the International Typographic Union, the Hamilton local. Chartered in 1872 amidst a whole bunch of unionizing that happened around the nine hours movement that year. This is an incredibly interesting union charter. It has beautiful art in its layout, and it symbolizes both the organizing that happened in 1872 around the nine hours movement but the International Typographic union was also based in the United States, so it also symbolizes another trend that we were going to see in unions in the decades to come which was the affiliation of many Canadian unions with American unions.