Bill Jenkins Interview partial transcript/notes

Bill Jenkins TAPE 1 SIDE A

1923 hired in at Briggs on Jos Compau--bodies
on the line  trimmer
trimmers varied in skill, depending on car
ref. to Joe Adams  Trimmers in Dodge had a very conscous sense of being trimmers, which I didn't find in most other plants   Iwas working on a cheap car, but the Dodge was a pretty nice car re. higher class of trimmers
Like most auto workers I bounced around to a lot of different plants

330  Hired into Packard 1928; hired a number of Germans who had never worked in any mechanical work--supervisor thinks he's got an old country tradesman . . . 
458  Ford Trade School . . . job descriptions . . . Ford way ahead of other companies in employment of Negroes
827   (from Tennessee)  first job at Briggs, good many of workers were Polish in Hamtrmck not many from South
on southerners in chrysler locals local presidents southerners seemed to monopolize job; I was from Tenn, the indiana presidents were from tennessee; bill marshall first pres local 7 was southerner
Pat Quinn from Ireland  :

925   Big change after depression in workers' attitudes; clung to job more
re coal miners from Ky:  good % of miners native americans not immigrants  had been UMW members, very loyal to union
many came here because they lost their job in the 1922 strike, coal miners lowest ebb . . .
re southerners at packard: quite a few I worked in the die room, after depression i hired in at chrysler as grinder
plant in det with large number of southerners: after union organized in 30s local 7 no doubt had em--got the tag hung on em the hillbilly local
at fords unquetonably a great deal of sutherners
Flint southerners

1090    union backgrounds (european)
southerners at packard--I worked in die room--but later  ws local president)

the sit down strike plant had plenty of southerner in there guns blood bath murphy
Flint  had seen large groups of people from arkansas--pontiac motors--this is something no one asked me before. In pont. so many from ark in some of these plants that they'e been accused of monopolizing things hired to send back to ark to get their friends, and the city of pontiac one of the political powers to be reckoned with there was the Arkansas organziation--the ark peole had an org.
incidentally this is unusual.  the southers don't usually organize--in 1960 when they had the arkansaas picnic every politician in 1400   pont goes to that picnic--in one plant chmn of plant was from ark family and neighbohhods come up from ark
Pontiac Burt Hensen  fin secy at Pont Motor southerners in pont plants
edwards in mayoral race (1640)  hillbillies and unions, churches
1810  on busing controversy

2103   SOCIALISM My grandfather was a socialist in Tenn, he was a dr, one of the most popular men in the county--he didnt make any convert to socialism  2 cong districts in Tenn
pf: 1933-40 looking at sutherners:



PF: RE Tom Watson: re. Homer Martin and southerns
A lot of people make big decisions on some pretty petty stuff . . .
323  SOCIALISM  Undoubtedly the fact that the Reuthers were socialists impressed me
ghost of the populist movement might identify with the unity caucus
helping Homer Martin were some of the most amazing people in the world--the Lovestonites-here was a group of people who tried to take on stalin and couldn't do it and they ended up up in the labor movement

in 1939 I was pres of local 490 chrysler Highland Park 3000 members; southeners in minority group that originally in sitdown strike that chose me for steward came from Hungary and Romania: real devoted in sitdown strike; chose me for steward: I was afraid to make an offhand remark that somebody should be killed because they might really do it: they were really loyal to me
Later when the migrtion came up no doubt an awful lot of souterners voted for me because I was a southerner
other immigrant workers than polish and italian   our plant located on corner of davison and oakland, and we seemed to have there a great deal of the smaller nationality groups
re smaller nationality groups: couldn't say that they were devoted union members--it was a little bit beyond most people's imagination to imagine organizing the automobile industry anyway. it was too large.  These nationality groups were more class conscious than the others.
Just as I told you the story about Phillip Raymond there was an organization in that plant that I wsn't aware of, years before the cio, it was --the man who was head of it frank kaiser--it was a union the same one rj thomas belonged to aiwa.

Phil Raymond's outfit was the awu
I joined the dodge local in 1936--we didnt have a local in our place (Highland Park) some of us went over to dodge, remained there until after the sitdown strike, and then we got our charter
638  re Homer M --split came in our local just before i became president--where to pay the per capita.  when the minutes came up--our local was 10-1 against homer martin; we didnt have the serious problems of the plymouth local
gibson ran against jenkins for pres, was a wwi vet had been active in veterans organizations, but didnt seem like an unuslally reactionary man
gibson from ohio native american; ted kranz? ws mayor of this city--came from pa.
George Morelli was with Homer Martin (Lovestonites in charge of all departments)
Silver opposed reuther after reuther became establishment
both martin people became foremen gibson, kranz
NLRB election there was about one out of ten voted against the union
HM by dept: my end of plant press room there and in the dept next to us where we had a great deal of the imigrants working some of the old metal finishing none of that end of plant for martin.
the buick plant was anti reuther
Burt Henson in pontiac contact; tim daley retired rep; office workers, secretaries the girls
mary goldsmith secy plymouth leo know her, she was SP

Mary costello works for ken morris region 1B: then tucker smith, McCauly, _______ , mary was a member of a junior sitdown strike in 1937--many thhings were discussed before these secretaries
she took an active interest in labor movement.
Tim Daley good detail man; kept track of vote
What was behind HM?  Lovestonite group
Martin a better speaker that Reuther; so many leaders are demagogic when their own job is threatened
Most radicals went with Reuther
My impression of poles they were very class conscious



400   wire room Dodge Main edith van horn cp  joe ptazynsky interview
van horn fired, got back

Martin about 10%

520 some cp in that Jenkins end of shop but never assumed any leadership in the local didnt speak good english---they were of diferent nationalities   roumanians and hungarians particularly strong in their support
league of nations among smaller more obscure nationalities; finns? Oh yeah.
Gibsons dept heat treat Martin mterial div gibson organized some Martin support, but just didnt get off the grund

G. Morelli ws with Martin talk to him

re. Plymouth HM Sweet