Labor leader visits his archives in Kheel Center

10/21/15

Forty years ago, William B. Gould IV was a young attorney working for renowned labor lawyer Theodore W. Kheel. Last week, Gould visited his own archives, preserved in the center that bears his former employer’s name.

“Ted Kheel was my boss in New York City when I worked at his firm, and that experience was a very important part of my own development,” said Gould, LLB ’61, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), who spoke at the Law School Sept. 23 and at the ILR School Sept. 24-25. “The Kheel Center seems like a natural repository for my papers.”

Gould, now chairman of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the Charles A. Beardsley Professor Emeritus of Law at Stanford Law School, said his decision to place his archives with Cornell University Library’s Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives was threefold: his respect for the ILR School as “the leading labor relations school in the country”; his decadeslong friendship and collaboration with ILR professor James Gross; and his personal connection with Cornell and with Kheel.

Gould chaired the NLRB from 1994 to 1998. During his tenure, he and the NLRB played a critical role in ending the longest strike in Major League Baseball history, which last from 1994 to 1995. Documents from that period, in which the NLRB obtained an injunction from then judge and current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor that effectively ended the strike, are among the highlights of the collection.

“We’re honored to serve as the archive for the William B. Gould IV Papers,” said Cheryl Beredo, director of the Kheel Center. “Over the past 50 years, Professor Gould’s work has had an incredible impact on the field, and now researchers can access some of the materials that informed his work while chairman of the NLRB.”

Gould is a scholar of U.S. labor law, workplace racial discrimination and workplace conflict resolution procedures. He’s the author of 10 books, most recently “Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relations in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil.”

Gould stopped by the Kheel Center Sept. 25, where he spent a few minutes thumbing through his archives, which also include U.S. Congressional hearings on his NLRB confirmation. He toured the Kheel Center after chatting with Gross, Beredo and Curtis Lyons, the Harriet Morel Oxman Director of the Hospitality, Labor and Management Library, about topics ranging from Kheel to baseball.

Gould, Gross said, is a “fanatical” Red Sox fan.

“I was recently asked a question about my love for the Red Sox,” Gould said. “It’s one of those things I can go on forever about.”

Gould said he hoped his papers will offer historians insight into the workings of the NLRB and labor law.

“The agency still plays an important role in aspects of labor relations, and the protection of the exercise of employees’ rights,” he said. “So anyone who’s interested in labor or labor law or the NLRB will, I think, at least want to consult this archive.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.