This project is proudly sponsored by U-ACT!

History and Future of U-ACT

The U-ACT group, since it was founded in the late 80's, has been a group for self-help, education, and coordination of activities of help to working people in the areas surrounding Lock Haven, Pa. and Clinton County in general.  At first, its members coordinated an area food bank for workers needing assistance because of the paper-workers' strike of 1987 or due to continuing unemployment.  The group also coordinated and referred people with work-displacement problems to counselors, and state-related job service or retraining agencies.  As the need for some of these services decreased in the early 90s, the group began to devote time more to educational work in the community, with a focus on raising community awareness of labor history and education.  To this end, the group now holds bimonthly meetings, open to the public, but held primarily for working people in the area and their families; it airs films and discusses current books or articles regarding working people's problems, history, and avenues of community and labor service.  Sharing literature, publications, films and current educational videos on labor related issues is often a focus of meetings. Members are also updated at such meetings on current projects of a social and local self-help nature.  Dinners and an annual picnic are used as social and recruiting events for new members from the community in general and labor or ex-labor community members specifically.  The group also attempts to maintain correspondence with other similar groups of working people in outlying areas in Pennsylvania so as to stay abreast of events elsewhere and then convey such information back to the local community.  It has also attempted to attend and participate in educational forums where the history and concerns of average working people are being discussed, such as at the local college, in other organizations, schools or groups. Members individually and as a group have been contributing to a collection of audio and video tapings of local workers' history, with a view to making such narratives available eventually to the local and general public.

Into the new millennium, U-ACT will continue, further, and expand its goals as established in the late 80's.  It will broaden the scope of its educational work to include the publication and development of the oral histories, recorded in both text and film versions, of its members' worker history.  It will also seek to promote and develop for publication the oral histories of other groups of workers or citizens, disenfranchised or voiceless, just as were many of its members during and following the paper-workers' strike of 1987.  In the process of recounting and trying to have made public their own history in the immediate region, U-ACT members have learned much about the history of other workers and citizens in the larger national arena.  The expanded goal of the group is to network further with other individuals and groups, workers and citizens, in order to share with and educate each other and the larger public as to their common and divergent experiences.

U-ACT thanks the Labor Center at IUP and the Indiana University of Pennsylvania for their generous grant support in making available these project materials to the public.

an Oral History Project by Dr. Bob Allen, Technical Assistance Ron Gruici
Copyright 2007