On November 14, 1934, 29 men–supervisors at the Chicago & North Western Railway–met at Harmony Hall in Chicago. There they founded what would become the American Railway Supervisors Association (later adding the word “Airway”).
One of the founders, John Nuter, recalled that in 1934, the supervisors “worked not less than 10-12 hours a day. We were assigned two rest days a month and most of the time we worked the rest days with no additional compensation.” Ironically, those railroaders working under their supervision already had the benefits of unionization and were paid more for fewer hours.
The Supervisors’ first contract was signed in 1936, and from that beginning ARASA went on to organize supervisors at railroads around the country. In 1980 the Supervisors Union merged with TCU and a separate Supervisors’ Division, operating under its own By-Laws, was established.