The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers [U.S.D.A.W.] was formed in January 1947, through amalgamation of the National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers [N.U.D.A.W.], and the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks [N.A.U.S.A.W. & C.].
The N.U.D.A.W. was itself formed by the merger of the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative and Commercial Employees and Allied Workers, and the National Warehouse and General Workers' Union, in 1921.
The N.A.U.S.A.W. & C was established as the National Union of Shop Assistants in 1891, becoming known as N.A.U.S.A.W. & C., after amalgamation with the United Ship Assistants' Union in 1898. It was joined by several other smaller unions before merging with the N.U.D.A.W. in 1947.
An Aberdeen branch of the N.A.U.S.A.W. & C was formed in Oct 1900, and continued to operate as the U.S.D.A.W. after 1947. It is not known if there was an Aberdeen branch of the N.U.D.A.W., though copies of the national journal, The New Dawn, have been deposited with this collection.
Further information about the development of the trade union movement and the history of individual trade unions in Aberdeen can be found in William Diack, History of the Trades Council and the Trade Union Movement in Aberdeen (Aberdeen: Aberdeen Trades Council, 1939), and in Kenneth D. Buckley, Trade Unionism in Aberdeen 1870 - 1900 (Edinburgh and London: Oliver and Boyd, 1955). Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of Trade Unions, 4 vols (Aldershot: Gower, 1980 - 1984) also contains useful information about the development of individual unions, at both the national and local level. Summarised details from each of these sources has been used in compiling this collection level description.