1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Processing note

4.   Inventory

5.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Larry Budner Research File

  on Browne & Sharpe

 Documentary film-maker, of North Kingstown, R.I.

 Research file, 1981-1995

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 1042

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, November 1999

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            In October of 1981, the machinists employed at the Brown and Sharpe Manufacturing Company called a strike over the company's refusal to continue honoring seniority rights. It became one of the longest and most bitter strikes in Rhode Island history. The machinists, represented by the International Association of Machinists, District 64, picketed the plant for several years in an often violent confrontation, facing pepper gas and court injunctions. They also hired Corporate Campaign, Inc. in an attempt to reach the company through boycotts of related firms. The company hired replacement workers in February of 1982, and faced charges before the National Labor Relations Board that it had not bargained in good faith and had intentionally provoked the strike to break the union. Although the pickets were discontinued in 1983, the hearings on these N.L.R.B. charges continued in the courts through the late 1990s, making it technically the longest-running strike in the United States.

Return to top

Scope and content:

            Film-maker Larry Budner completed "Wonder of the World," his documentary on Brown & Sharpe, in 1996. This collection represents his research file for the project. It consists mostly of newspaper clippings concerning the strike, dating from 1981 to 1993. Also included are some of the brochures and fliers produced by Corporate Campaign in 1982; a sement of the NLRB ruling from 1989; and miscellaneous correspondence and notes. While much of this material is available elsewhere on microfilm, this file simplifies the task of studying Rhode Island's most important labor conflict of the late twentieth century.

            The video produced from this research, "Wonder of the World," can be found in the Graphics Division as accession #1997.49.90.

Return to top

Processing note:

            Newspaper articles were sorted chronologically. Original clippings and oversized microfilm copies were copied onto acid-free paper.

Return to top


Box 1, folder 1. Newspaper articles, 1981

Box 1, folder 2. Newspaper articles, 1982

Box 1, folder 3. Newspaper articles, 1983

Box 1, folder 4. Newspaper articles, 1984-1989

Box 1, folder 5. Newspaper articles, 1990-1993

Box 1, folder 6. Corporate Campaign, Inc. materials, 1982

Box 1, folder 7. N.L.R.B. case, 1989

Box 1, folder 8. Miscellaneous:

            Letter, Edward McElroy to "Brothers and siusters", 8/12/1982

            "Gallagher Presidents' Report," 10/26/1982

            "The Great Textile Strike of 1934," by James Findlay, in R.I. History, 1983

            Letter, William Winpisinger to "Dear Friend," 3/7/1986

            Letter, Ray Rogers of Corporate Campaign to Larry Budner, 11/20/1995

            Undated notes by Larry Budner

            Notes on interview with John Elder Dick on family's history with B&S, undated

Return to top


Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company

International Association of Machinists

Strikes and lockouts - Machinery industry

End of finding aid - return to top