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Printers in early America were the first craftspeople to form Local Unions and formed the first International Union in 1852 called the International Typographical Union, originally named National Typographical Union. Technological advancements in printing influenced its Unions so much over the next 60 years that many workers broke away from the ITU into five printing unions that represented workers in different job classifications, Pressmen, Bookbinders, Lithographers, and also the obsolete job descriptions of Photoengravers, and Stereotypers with Electrotypers. From the early 1900's until the 1960's all six printing unions thrived. The mergers began with Platemakers, Photoengravers, Stereotypers and Electrotypers and then Lithographers, Pressmen and Bookbinders. The ITU broke up into the Teamsters and the Communication Workers of America. All of the printing unions were together by 1983 and their Union the Graphic Communications International Union had its International Offices in Washington, D.C. in the building that had belonged to the Bookbinders Union originally. In 2005, after printing technology going digital required a merger to keep Strength and Stability in the Union the GCIU merged with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Printers have their own segment within the Teamsters, called the Graphic Communications Conference. Adding the vast history of the printers to their own great history makes the Teamsters Union the most historically important Union in Labor. If you would like to read more about the history of our Union visit our Local Union Office Library and Exibit.  


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