Briggs—Bob Morris, Built in Detroit (2013), Notes

Mack Ave plant: five stories and nearly half a mile long
Ken Morris a Jew; bildungsproletarian
press room; quarter panels

Hamtrack plant: small parts
Meldrum plant: high-end bodies for Lincolns and Chryslers
Highland Park plant: former Ford plant, bodies for Ford

Emil Mazey; Cass Tech HS; played violin; uncle an unemployed Socialist
Jan 33 Briggs strike: AWU and PP
Emil in cushion dept

early 37: sitdown strikes in departments re local problems. December 1936 Time article story re “an epidemic of departmental sit-down strikes.”  “UAW claims that there were 51 sit-downs in 50 days at Briggs Mack Ave. (p. 39)

Jan 37: Meldrum plant strikes (country club); located about a mile west of the Mack plant, near East Grand Blvd; made bodies for upscale Lincoln Zephyr, and other high-end models for Dodge, Chrysler and Hudson.  Here, workers were allowed time to work on their product; they were given better machinery and felt they were skilled workers as compared to the production workers at Mack Ave or Highland Park.  Unknown to men like Emile Mazey, however, there was worker dissatisfaction at the Meldrum plant, and some workers had already made initial contact with Dick Franensteen pres of Dodge Main UAW 3 and member of UAW exec bd.  (42)

Wagner Act replaces NIRA 1935
Chrysler forms works council to comply with law 43
Frankenstee, AIWA 1935


Jan 37 Meldrum strike; worker fired for union acitivty the spark; Meldrum strike on (several departments)
Ralph Knox at Meldrum plant
Frankensteen, Dodge FS used
Initially, 800 of the 2000 workers Meldrum workers took part in sitdown. . . .  After ten days of sitdown, there were only six actual sit-down participants inside theplant  45
Jan 19 incident x-ref Paul Silver re ball bearings  48

Role of Ford in settling Kelsey Hays, Briggs strikes 49

Feb 14 Briggs get UAW charter local 212

re. suppport for Flint sitdown: feb 3 court order to vacage; 5000 UAW members converge on Flint, including 200 Briggs members led by Emile Mazey

when local 212 charter had been finalized just a few weeks after the Meldrum strike, the majority of local 212 members were from the Meldrum plant (n=2000), not the Mack Ave plant (n=15000).
Mazey works for internatonal; Ralph Knox (Meldrum)becomes Pres of local

Knox as racist.  63
large % of workers white southerners; Knox’s base white southerners CHECK
Knox incompetent 64
by june Knox realized tht Mazey was controlling his board.  Gets Martins help 65
dec 2 1937 Mazey elected pres by 2-1 66
Incubator for many CIO activists who came to Detroit: Brookwood  73
Lovestone staff at odds with Brookwood graduates  73

FS 77; Mazey asks Art Vega (Mack) to spearhead forming 212 FS; 200 men signed up for FS; telephone tree 79; “this calling tree turned out hundres of supporters within fifteen minutes
Rarely did Ken witness violence.  The presence of the FS ws usually enough . . . Det police usually bakced away. 79
Federal Screw Strike (80-82)  late march 38

Ken Morris, Bill Lamson, SP; Georege Edwards: Brookwood  86

Jan 33 briggs strike started in Highland Park.  Roy Reuther was working as an electrician met emile
FERA roy reuther taught in Flint, made contacts with workers.  eventually moved on to Brookwood
Walter R developed relationship with a small west side local, ternstedt local 86.  WR attended south bend convention because was only ternstedt worker interested in paying his own way to south bend.
“As 1936 ended . . . Roy and Victor, who had returned to Detroit, became UAW organizers.  Roy working for Intenatioal, was sent to Flint, terrotiry he knew well from his FERA days.  Victor worked at Kelsey-Hayes, where he, walter, and geo edwards and merlin bishop organized the plant in earyly Dec.  Roy and Bob Travis were the chief strategists of Flint sitdown.  Shrtly after flint sitdown becan, internatinal uaw asked victor to join roy in flint.

On 4-9-38, not even a week after successful conclusion of Fedeal Screw Strike, walter and may (a techers union organizer) hosted a small birthday party for victor’s wife sophie. in attendance: Victor, Roy, Geo Edwards, Frank Marquart, Tucher Smith (pres. of Brookwood), etc.
Near end of 38 WR hers that Martin holding secret negotiations with harry bennett.  If successful Bennet would be in control of uaw.  100

On Unity Caucus 103  (gratuitous anti-communism)

Within weeks of the Milwaukee convention (Aug 37) Homer Martin broke fragile agreement between the progressive and uity caucuses over the issue of wildcat strikes at GM plants in Pontiac.  104

1938 Mich CIO convention.  “In early spring of 1938 Frankensteen lost his influence with Homer Martin.  Frank. and CP make own deal  105

Reuther “purgges” communists in local elections 174  p. 106
Martin begins secret negotiations with Bennett: “Beginning in the summer of 1938, Bennett had his man John Gillespie convene a series of secret meetings with HM.  Martin informs UAW exec bd in fall of 1838  of secret negotiations.   107
Mazey radio address re factionalism  jan 1939; looks to Cleve conv 3-39
Ken Morris runs for local-wide  office in feb eletion.  against incumbent “Kid Paducah”  112


Emil contacts Ken to accompany him to meeting with Addes re. money problems of the International UAW.
“Unlike many other local unions, local 212 had a high percentage of actual dues-paying members . . .  work of stewards, flying sqad and union dues drives had provem effective.  114   together with several other big locals, 212 provided advances.

Feb 39: chevy ggear and axle 238 story; 8 cars 35 member 212 FS show up at membership meeting.  On podium waiting to speak anti-Martinite Frankenstee and Ed Hall; Adolph Germer, head of newly formed Mich CIO.
“A disturbance broke out at the main entrance to the hall as Homer Martin and his entourage of heavyset men pushed their way into the meeting.”  Martin allowed to speak; 212 FS blocks his bodyguards.  Martin red-baits, jeered.  Calls on all good union men to follow him out.  ‘Geo Merrelli, who had been aligned with Martin and the conservative Catholic forces inside the local, move quickly to grab the floor micropone near the front of the hall.  He yelled into it, “Don’t go out, fellows!  Stay here—stay with the CIO.  Only a handful of men left with Martin.  115
1939 UAW Cleveland Conv.  “With MNartin and his very conservative forces out of the UAW leadeership, the political center of the UAW moved to the left.”
“In local 212 about 60% of delegation was comprized of Mazey forces, which now meant more cetnrist support for people like Walter Reuther.  However, about 40% of the local were even further left.  They tended to support Geo Addes, the effective yet left-leaning leader whose support came from the Communists within the union.

During the Cleve convention Ken Morris became part of Reuther caucus, along with Bill Marshall, pres of chrysler local 7 jefferson plant; Tracy Doll, pres of uaw local 154; etc. 118
on Hillman’s intervention  119
“The CIO worried that an Addes election might make Martin’s UAW-AFL more attractive to moderate labor activists.  119
1939 Briggs strike cio vs afl

Emil Mazey [see Shelton Tappes] integrates support staff.  White wome resissts.  Mazey give ultimatum (re Levi Nelson case a Midland)  134
issue of seniority system  138.  election of jan 1941 mazey and ferris in dead heat; harry mcmillan takes mazey’s place.