|Earl Reynolds Interview partial transcript/notes
at first we had a very weak union centered mostly in the trim shop
then they formed the old AIWA sort of a rump union out of the afl
Frankenstein was head of that; from that Murray came (head of CIO)
in about ayear, not many members
re immigrants: Dodge 65% polish; other 35%: 15% negroes confined at that time in the foundry and core room, might have been 15 or 20 working as sweepers, but they were confined to core and foundry. rest of people 25-30000 peopel, rest would be a cosmopolitan group of various nationalities, but it was predominantly polish.
no app. migrants. therewas a lot of southern people naturally working there who came from down south but they wre mostly people who had lived in michigan for years.
Poles were the best pickets in the world
Murray came in and made one speech for us, and from that time the union picked up tremendously.
struggled through for the first year with the AFL. Then we had the AIWA come in which ws a rump union formed.
more than half of original AIWA from trim, total members only 50
re trim activists: mixed group (ethnically)
Zaremba one of the polish leaders
450 works council brought leaders together then they became acquainted
good story of calling in a rep under works councils
we appealed a couple of decisions to the higher board under the nra which the company had setup, and every one was turned back to us because it was against company policy. They had a rule in this council setup that they had that you could appeal anything that wasn't against company policy. But talking about increasing wages or working conditions that was against compan policy. (PF) We were active, especially in the trim shop. under the nra system there we were entitled to representation. And they put out a particular . . . pamphlet at that time and we were told that if we wanted a representative that you have a right to have one. So I got in a row one day with a foreman there, and I demanded that the rep come over. Well, he come over, but in the process of . . . the foreman fired me for asking for him. So they take me into the superintendent's office and I demanded at that particular time to bring in the representative, well I think the rep was more apprehensive than what I was, because this was the first time that he had ever been called to represent anybody, and the superintendant that we had in the trim shop, he wasn't too bad a guy, so he kind of smothed it over. I guess he wasn't looking for a showdown anyway. (600)
this was back in about 1937 36, right in that area when we had the nra in there.
Frankensteen in trim shop. used to put in carpets.
PF: later it was out of the trim shop that there would come the primary leadeship of the union.
That's right thats right. At the time that I was there Frank. was the trim shop, Reed, Wilson, and I was from the trim shop.
PF: all the earyly presidents were from the trim shop.
That's right. Cause we had the most people, and we also had the most in the union. Texer(?) whose name was on there, we had a fairly militant group that worked in the paint shop. . . I don't think we were too strong numerically in the paint shop, but what we had was strong. Then up in the metal shop we had some militant people too.
PF: were they metal finishers?
they were metal finishers, assemblers, and so forth.
PF: thing I'm getting at skilled
To me that is a misconception, becuase in the Dodge plant that was not so. (700).
IN PLANT COMMITTEE
We at that time when we started really putting the organization drive on within the plant we formed an in-plant comm. and what we would do we would go around at noon during lunch time and wherever we were trying to organize and we would have people opposed to the union we would send our committee down, we would send a committee down of about a hundred people. We had some members down in the die shop, which is a skiilled trade, we had very few active members down there. We did have two or three active leaders there. In the tool room, which was seperated at that time from the die room, we had about one man. The way we finally got them in the union at that particular time I was empowered to take the committee and go down to the tool room that day and threaten to throw all the tools and we threw a few tools out the window and they saw the light. (790)
PF: what year was this?
back in 36 or 37, somewhere in there.
(PF: that's the cio period?)
The cio period. If we had left it to the skilled trades people I think there's a difference when you talk about skilled trades and you talk about militant people back in those days you could talk about the skilled trades people in the job shops, who were militant people
PF: I wsnt so much refering to the skilled trades, I ws referring to the people who were slightly more skilled on the production line. Like when I talked to Al Rightly he said the framers in the Studebaker plant were the center of that kind of activity they were guys who had a more responsible job and a more difficult job that required more skill, and they were the highest paid production workers
ER: I think the trim shop at that particular time--I think trimmers were getting about right up near the top of the high paid production workers, if you even want to call the amount of money they were geting high paid. I think that that compares with what we used to call the body in white, which is a metal shop. Everything at that particular time, you can go back and see where the presidents came from. If we didn't have a strong organization in the trim shop to hold it together--and at times we had rocky going--but we were able to hold it together because we had the members out of the trim shop.
PF: so you had like a solid core of people out of the trim shop who knew what to do who knew how to build a union?
ER: that's right. That's right. that's right.
PF: re thnic bcg in trim
. . . .
ER: I know Johnny well beause he helped me become presdient of the local union. He introduced me to all the priests in Hamtramck.
PF: I want to get to that--the relatioship between Hamtamck local institutions and Local 3, but later . .
. . .
PF: when I look over this list, which was from 1935, . .if 65% of workers are Polish, very few Poles apppear on this list, people running for positions the equivalent of steward or committeeman, representative I guess it was
ER: Frank Semansky was one of our leaders, he ws body in white, metal shop. At that time in his forties.
ER: had no accent
PF: most likey born in this country
ER: Harris was in the body in white, Dick Harris. Zaremba? I dont know where the hell John was. McCann, he was from the press shop. (1114)
. . . .going over list . . . .
PF: very few Polish names on this list
. . . ER: then all of a sudden this changed around (1250) and the polish people the younger element. Novak was in there, Zemansky, --poles took over--
(Novak took over it seems in 1943±) about three years ago--1972 or 3--the blacks took over
ER but for ten or twelve year the polish people controlled the local . . . . 1350
. . . the black people were confined to the foundry and the core room (1377) and for me to get elected I had to make deal with someone 111(1942 or3) . . .deal with blacks: you vote for me and I'll get you out of the foundry (1427)
That ws the first big turnout we ever had of black peole coming down to the local to vote, and I got elected. . . . during one of th strikes we had sme of them went back to work on us, not too many
I was able to transefer some them into the machine shop
PF: when you made that deal, were you running on a slate? Oh yeah. Which caucus, which slate?
ER: not associated with Reuther. I was with the George Addes group. PF: Addes, Thomas Frankensteen?
ER: not so much with Thomas, I was with Addes Frankensteen. I ws a strong supporter of G. Addes.
PF: is it true that one ofthe issues distinguishing the 2 caucuses was that the Addes group had a much more militant program of upgrading blacks?
ER: I think they were more militant about that, but they were more militant on the whole. They semed to have more militant leaders amongst that caucus than what the opposition had.
PF: I want to get into that also, I find it very difficult to understnd the politics of the uaw as they began to developing in 40 or 41.
ER: it wa a struggle for control of the union
PF: 1550 what confuses me is that in the journalistic stuff you read the thomas caucus is called communist. Now to me I know that is not true. The CP was active within it, but it had to have a lot more than the communist party to have the influence it had.
ER: well, in the Dodge plant at that time we had my caucus has at that particular time when Quinn pased out (?) you could call us a leftwing group. We didnt have too many known Communists in the Dodge plant, we had some, but they were outstanding commies that they knew at that partocular time, they all came out of local 155 which was a skilled trades local. We had a left wing caucus but we were not predominantly rj thomas.
PF: re 155 anderson, ganley--I workd out of 155 for about five years, when I as on the staff (1670) they were really dedicated union people.
PF: at time of homer martin struggle . . . was there any reflection of that struggle inside local 3?
ER: Yes. up to the point tht Reed was one of his supporters, Frank Reed. At that particular time I can remember him setting up a plant shop committee there was a couple of active people there, I can't remember their names, and they come in we had not a wide split in the local union but we did have a split in the local union. And they went down to the front office, I think I was a steward at that time, and they went down and said that they represented the workers. And we solved that one in a hurry. By going down and telling them if they went down again we'd throw them out on the street. And telliing mangement also that we would throw them out too. That was one reason I ran for Pres? I was on the shop committee, and anybody who was tainted with any sort of a Homer Martin stain, in the Dodge local at that particular time could not get anyplace.
PF: were there any groups (1793) of workers that supported the Martin faction?
ER: Not any that I could recall, we were strongly anti martin, strngly anti martin. Of course Frankensteen was fighting them and Addes was fighting them . .
PF story from a paper, feb 18, 1938 about at the dodge local Frankensteen was supporting a slate that was running in opposition to the Unity slate, take a look at this (showing paper)1860
ER; this goes way back to the time of Trexler--here's another guy who was active, Eddie Donelowksy, who was our financial secreteary. Harry Ross was from the trim shop. Reed was from the trim shop. more names . . . but these were people who closely aligned lined up with the trim shop.
PF: which slate was supported by Frankensteen?
ER: according to this, he was supporting the Reed slate PF: which is the trim shop slate, in a way . . . ER: not neccessarily so, bcuse he might have been supporting--I can't remember that one, because we would be supporting the Unity slate, I dont know who wrote that, whether its true or not
PF: this is probably Det free press
ER: Frankensteen and Reed were both there, being from the trim shop, and that might have been before reed, before they definitely knew he was lined up with Homer Martin.
PF: 2040) at that time i think Frankensteen ws himself with Homer Martin. originally. Frankensteen changed sides in the middle of that faction fight.
ER: that could be, I cant remember that too well.
PF: my guess is that the IAWA becomes pretty large in 35 and 36
ER: right in that pariticular time, yes
PF: in 35 how large is it
ER: at that particular time it centered mostly around the Dodge plant, the Motor Products plant, and Hudsons.
PF: how large was it in Dodge?
ER: doubts had majority signed up. In those days you never revealed how many members you had. You had more voice than what you had members.
PF: at time of Roosevelt election 36, was there an upsurge in union membership before or after that time?
ER: I cant remember... I can remeber Murray coming and making a speech out there in front of the Dodge plant, and from that time on we were on a (???) although we did have a solid membeship then, were growing by leaps and bounds, bounds, and we didnt have outside organizers, we organized urelves.
PF: after the Flint sitdown strike, right after the sitdown strike, was that the period of the greatest upsurge?
ER: I would say yet, right around that particular time.
PF; was there an contact between organizers inside the plant and polish fraternal organizations in Hamtramck. Different kinds of societies, mostly insurance, or singing groups, or churches?
ER: well I couldt answer that one, I couldnt answer that oe, I was the contact man for the local at that time, although I do know as far as the churchesa re concenred we had their support, . . . I thought we had their support not because the parishoners were for the union but because they tought the workers needed some (???)
PF do yu have any idea whether this support from the churches came before or after the sitdown strike. . . in other words did the churches help in any way in oranizing, by giving vocal support, telling their parishoners?
ER: I cant answer that
ER: this 1940?
PF: yeah. hat's intesting to me is that theunion is connected with dispensing patronage, its connected wih political and community institutions in Hamtamck in a way
ER: not necessarily so, although you do have a certain amount of influence at that particular time because naturally we were a miitant group, and Kana (?) was one of the people, his brother, I dont know if he was a captain in the police in the fire department at that particular time or not, and I knew him. And it works out this way when I got in the picture, that was after Quinn and those fellows, I did play some politics in Hamtramck, but I did it probably a little different from what these fellas did. Right after I was elected I became acquainted with an individual who worked for the chrysler corpiraton who was one of their political emmisaries and he told me if they ever needed any particular help he would give me some help. And of course being the largest taxpayer, we worked out some deals with the people in hamtramck. There was a major and he wanted to fire a couple of people and we didnt want him to do it. To put it bluntly, we was intersted in who was running the police department.
PF: yeah. Ham pd was friendly to union
ER: we wanted to keep it that way. at one particular time they wanted to fire him and I went to this individual from the chrysler corporation and we sit down with the mayor together and convinced him that he sholdnt fire him. Sure, they do have a certain amount of political influence, I ws able to get a few appointments
END SIDE A
TAPE ONE SIDE B
PF: on politics in detroit re upsurge of immigrant voting; new deal, local politics, cio; mentions Ford--cant
ER: when you're the president of a local as large as Dodge was at that particular time, you had contacts with the politicians, we had contacts not only in Hamtramck, but contacts in the city of detroit, and naturally we were having strikes and we were--our flying squadron which Frankensteen was using at that time, although he was the vice president--he wsnt the vp, at first I think he ws a board member--he was usiing our flying squadron to go around the city and organize other plants, and naturally we ran into some trouble occasionally, and we had to have contacts to take care of our people, which we had.
PF: did you deliver anything in retur for this help, like get out the vote for freindly candidates, things like that?
ER: like anyone else, we used to have large membership meetings, ike for instance the average membership meeting toda is not too large, but in those days it was nothing to have the hall packed all the time, and e would invite the candidates who were favorable to us to appear there, and we would use our newspaper to try to get the peole that stood for the things that we stood for to get elected, that's all.
PF: and this is in local politics?
ER: no, this would be for county and state and city politicians.
PF: not so much national as state and down?
ER: state and down
PF: when Frankenstee ran for mayor I think 38 Im not sure [ER corrects me, and is right as I find upon checking, thus demonstrating good sense of hitorical time]
ER: I think it was in the forties that he ran because I was on the staff at that time, I sat in some key meetings with him. I was --this isnt germane to this--I was the about ten year ago I as active--I was the chairman of the 14th Democratic dist for the union out, and I sat down with Dick and several of the meetings we had at that time to try and get away from what the newspapers were calling the left-wing affiliation which they said we had. I dont know if we had it or not.
PF: when was this, what year?
ER: when he ws runnig for mayor, and I know it had to be in the forties, in the late forties. Shud be , cause I was working for him at that time, so he must have been runing for mayor around 46 or 47. Cause I was on his staff at that time.
PF: he also ran in 38 or 37, I'm sure of that, becuse I've just been looking it over.
ER: he might have ran at that time, but when he had the serious--when he really made a run for it--yes, he did run twice, I think you're right. I know the time that he ran he put a real--I don't know if he was out of the union, he wasn't our of the union--I know he ran in 40. just when it was I cant remember, but I know he made a real serious attempt to win at that time. I think the first time he ran it was one of those things, a token opposition.
PF: there was a lot of activity in the late 30s. Did your local support labor party position in the uaw . . .
ER: If your speaking of a group calling itself a labor party and bfreaking away from the Democratic Party, no.
PF: so your political activity was in the framework of New Deal politics?
ER; that's right. because at that time you have election in Hamtramck and the Dems would run about 95%, so from a political standpoint it would be political suuicide to try to form a labor party or try to swing away from the DP. I understand that has changed somewhat now.
PF: Mayor Kanar [looking at a flyer or semthing] this is a whole politial thing on how to vote
ER: ?? he was one of my supporters. In other words just exactly as he states here, the Hamtramck police had the Compau gate, the Detroit police had the Conant gate. And we were having trouble, Serma was one of the--I think he got in office through the support union.
PF: so it look the union was an important part of the politial life of hamtramck
ER: yeah, were were at that time, defnitely
PF: cause you had a large chunk of the voters right there in the plant.
ER: Well at that time I understand it is not that way now, but at that particular time if you ws to go uup and say to us well the labor party and try run for office in the plant and that got around you'de be a dead duck. because it was so pro-democratic. Now whether it is that way or not I havent studied the picture lately.
PF: let me ask you a qustion about your flying squadron. I spoke to Paul Silver about he ws telling me astory about his local. one time they went on strike I dont know when it was, might even have been in the forties, but the police were giving them some troupble, and he sent a signal to dodge
ER: that's right
PF: and maybe two thousnd workers came out marching in formation 8 abreast
ER: thats right
PF: and a lot of that happened around deetroit. To me that's very significant, that's something that hasnt been considered too much by labr historians, caue it looks like there's this--you could almost call it a workers militia, except they didn't have guns or anything, but they were ready there was this organization through the stewards and local commitees that if someone needed help somewhere in the city, if the police were outnumbering them and trying to bfreak u a picket line, you could call on thes other locals, particularly the doge local
ER: thats right
PF: and theyd send out--one thhing I'm intersted in, who were these guys on the flying squadron, were they mostly second geneation poles?
ER: not necessarily so. they were guys like myself, and we had--we might have hd three hndred stewards, it's not difficult to get two thousand people one steaward to bring ten people down
PF: when they would do that, did they make any arengements with the company that they were gonna take so many people from the line, and you make your adjustments, or did they just shut down operations in theplant
ER: in those days you didnt make any arrangements with the chrysler corporation. You just went ahead and done it.
PF: so each time the flying squdron went out they kind of shut down operations
ER: they would curtail it somewhat. The way we would do it if we were gonna have a three shift operation, we would, if we were gonna take a place on in the morning, we would probably use a lot of third shift workers and wed have them come down to the local, give them coffee and donuts, and keep em there til such and such a time, and then they would all go down together, wherever they were assignd to go.
PF: thats if you knew in advance that the next day you had to do something.
ER: yeah, well would know in advance. but if we had an emergency we just automatically went, that all. company raise hell with you, but those were the things you just took in stride.
PF: what was the largest number of people that you ever took out on an emergency?
ER: I would saay the time that we went over to the Briggs Meldrum Plant. They had a lot of trouble Briggs was, and they wouldn't let us picket there, wouldnt let us walk, so we formed the idea that we would run across. We must have had about three thousand there, we would run. and as you would run in front of the gate, actually if we saw somebody coming we would run and bump into em, but we kept the plant down, and alot of our people got thrown in the can that day, Cause wherever the police could grab youd keep em running about a half the length of this room, you just run right across and run right around, and keep on running, and it makes it difficult to control. They were really on a . . . . (?) and then in the Motor Products Strike we had the same thing there, we put a running picket line in there
PF: is that for the reason that it's harder to grab someone when he's running?
ER: that right.
PF: how many cops were in each of these locations compared to the number of pickets?
ER: that's pretty hard to say. They would have a tremedous amount of police there. In the Motor Products thing I think if I rememb er right I think seveal of our boys got injured and one of them got killed in the Motor Products picket line one day. That was down on mack avenue. We were supprting them. But that was nothing to get a call. Everybody accepted it and I guess it was kind of in those day to be perfectly frank I liked it and I guess a lot of other people did to.
PF: Leonard described his local these guys in his local--the hundred that went out out of five hundred, they got a big kick out of it
ER: sure sure. I did too, and I guess the rest of the guys, other wise we werent paying people to go, peole would just go on their own.
PF: did you have standing plan
ER: I want to show you something . . . my memroy is slipped on me in the past couple of years . . . I ws proud of this, I got this after I went left the dodge local (showng me something)
PF: the flying squdron was actually pretty formally organized.
ER: Oh yeah. We still have it there in the local. when we had it of couse things were a little bit tougher in those days.
PF: how was it organized, like I assume the stgewards were sort of like captains in a way?
ER: No. It was separate.
PF: the flying squdron was compltelhy separate?
ER: thats right. it had a comander, a vice commander, it was a separate organizaton. A seperate orgaonization, and I was just a member of it, even though I was chairman of the shop committee and I was the local president, I was still a member. And we would be assigned certain duties to go certain places and do certain things
PF: so the local leadership or the executive bd would assign the priorities, the goals?
ER: well, the flying squdron naturally became quite a powerful group in the local union, cause they were the militant guys, always arond the local, most of their duties . . . I recieved a call one time from the milk workers or the dairy workers I just took my boys up there and help em out.
PF: when you say you took your boys, how did you mobilize hem? You got o a commander?
ER: yeah. you call a commander and tell him and tell him thatyou wanted certain people.
PF: and their were particular squadrons that the cmmander comanded?
ER: well the commander of the sqadron commanded the whole squadron
PF: were there any subcomanders, captains, whatever?
ER: Oh yeah. captains, and he would assign you so many people. I remember that time we went into Hamramck in the milk strike, and there was a jurisdictional battle there, and we took care of it.
PF: what was the smallest group in the flyng squadron that had a leader.
ER: they would appoint, for instance, most of our operations like for instance I remmber seveal events that I went on - (??)-outlawed this now--they wold have one guy who would be the leader, maybe there would be five of us. when we were on a strke in 1937 and we were short of money, we got a deal at that time with one of the other international unions that was having trouble with people trying to break up the union and we would go out and take cre of ths situation. and in return for that we would make some speeches in various chapters and receive donations.
PF: were these actually donations . .
ER: I or somebody else would go out and make a spech and we would appeal for money to help out thedodge strikers, and they would donate to the strike fund of the doge local.
PF: I'm tryint to get at the military structure of the flying squadron. there was like a unit of five people with a chief or commander. What was the next hhighest level, or was the next highest level the flying squadron as a whole.
ER: the fs as a whole, the commander, he is the top dog
PF: and who would he give orders to?
ER: he would giver orders to anybody in his ssuadron. he had a vice commander, a secretary, and I think they probably branchd out where they prob ably got a few oeople where they might call a committee. But in those days it was controlled by three individals. I say control, but they didnt control it but they run the tihng. you had to be tough to run it, cause there was other guys aspring to be commander. 955
PF: but these guys were all militants
ER: thats right
PF it wsnt the kind of post tht yu got--or was it? suppose someone had politial ambitions, wasnt necesaarily militiaint, was more of an opportunist?
ER: well back in my day there wasnt any thouht about it when we wre organizing. The political part come into the squadron later, and come into the local union when the internatinal union begin to become prosperoous. you now there's no such thing (not) too much politics when everybody's poor, its when the prosperity comes into the picture is when the politics start.
PF: you mean there start to be lucrative positions?
ER: that's right.
PF: at least better than working in th shop
ER: thats right, thats right.
PF: I guiess also when these psitoins dont invlve great risk, which you had in the oranizing days, great risk, when you were out on the front lines
ER: well a lot of people you see people today who were shouting for the unon and want the union, in the old days they were opposed to the union, they wre opposed to the auto workres. of course I dont begrudge em, because evrybody ought ot have a union, no matter what you do and where you work, you ought have a union for the benefit of everyvody. The union helps the community raise up the sandard of living, and when you raise up the guy at the bottom yu raise up the guy at the top . . . I think its good for the community.
PF: but there is this difference, . . . the union when its struglling to be born and has to face great obstacles, has to attracts a certain kind of man a certain kinf of man to leadeship osotion.THAS RIGHT A guy who real commtment and some kind of vision isnt really after to many material things THATS RIGHT except as they all move togethre. But then when the union is establshed and its got a big treasury its got a contract and regular relatinship with the corporation, and there is no more strugle the way there ws its all institutionalzed, then its a different kind of person whos moving up THATS RIGHT, THATS RIGHT and I want to get a sense of how that changes and what happens, beacause to me its inevitalbe, you cant help it
ER: wel the union becomes less militant
PF: even at the same time that phase of militancy and upsurge in 1937 that was the big year, that passes and workes become increasingly apathetic, and new workes come in that didnt havde tha past, didnt go through the struggles, and it becomes a big organization where politica aas it exists in the communty begins to emerge in the loca. thats what im interested in studying and 37 is a great miitant strugle, but lets say by the 40s everything is stable is within the dem party, system of labor mangement relationships. not only that theres a different kind of worker coming in. the great upsurge has subsided and the newre wrks, and anther thing, therers a militant core of workers, maybe a large minority. they built a union that then takes in all workers THATS RIGHT people who wre against the union, peile wo didnt care, people of just reflect the attitudes of their community. thats when you get politics.
ER: I think yur right. I dont condemn the later oeple who come in got into the unions in 1940. I can remember before we had a checkoff at say chrysler who used to get a dollar a mont dues, and we used to colelect some 28 29 thousand dollars a month a dolar a piece, andyou can imagine what a tremedous job that was, and we had stewards, who were resposible for collecting dues in your district and getting peole into the union, and I rembmer, the thing that alwasys stick in my mind by that time we had improved conditiosn quite a bit in the plant, but we had improved conditiosn which were lousy, and we got them to where they were just bad, and I can remmber g oing up to an individual at one time and asking him to join the union, and he says, 'we dont need a union in here things arent too bad.' now that is exactly what you're saying you see they come into the pociture, and they didnt have to go through the things that we had to go through say rom 33 when I got in the poicture up to 38. thhings were progressively getting better, not by leaps and bounds, but they were slowly getting better, and when the individuals, the younger element got into thr picture, things wre not as bad as they were, so they couldnt understand some of the militant action that we used to take prior to them coming into the picture. I think that answers part of it, although the younger element today and the older element in the Dlodge local. If you want a strike vote you got no problem. they will rie up to the occastion . . .
PF: wen the FS becomes involved inpolitics, that's later, in the 40s THAT'S RIGHT did the character of the FS change?
ER: Yeah, the FS, some of the younger members at that time, they were getting older, they were getting 7 or 8 years older, and from that time on they becaue mostly, ust like uyou had an old policeman and you put him on gurd duty to keep order.
PF: they didnt get into those kind of struggles
ER: well, there wsnt too much to struggle about, excpt now when they have s trike they man the picket lines and so forth . . .
PF: so the FS doesnt really fly anymore
ER: if yu weant to put it that way . . .
PF: but they remained and became active in un ion politics?
ER: that's right. Novak defeeatd me and he was a commander of the flying squdron.
PF: and the squadron would have a lot of young militant Poles
ER: when we first had our Squadron if I can remember right I think we only had one black person, name of Kirby Jones, and he was a vice chamn of squad, and he ws the only one, and that was because of the segregation policies, not of th segregation policies but the fact that the blacks resented the that that they wrent allowed to get into the better jobs in the plant
PF: when there ws political campaigning to be done
PF: lets go to political alignments in the UAW in terms of the thomas vs retuther group. were you with Addes YES
PF: is that true of the leadership of the local that they were addes people. in other words were ther any political divisions on the executive board?
ER: Yes, we had some, not too many, we were very strongly pro-addes, up until my time. Novak got in, he bcame a supporter of reuthers.
PF: was actu active in novak's coming to
ER: yes, they were. they wer active on the local union. Paul Weber, I met with him weds, he now is a public reelations man for mich consolidated gas co.
. . .
PF: Novak defeats you with actu support.
ER: he had the reuther support PF: which supported reuther
ER: ACTU not to influental at tht time.
PF: did the group of militants out of the trim shop form the basis for the addes people?
PF: so novak represents a new element coming int the union that's oriented toward the reuther group THAT'S RIGHT and that element is not this original group of militants
ER: No, well, novak was not too active in the eraly stages, not that I rememb er, until he became active in the swuddron. The body in white was where the reuther grou was strongest in the dodge plant.
PF: where ws your grou stronest?
ER: in the trim shop, in the paint shop, and some support we had in the press shop, and we a sprinkling of support iin the skilled trades.
PF: the paint shop also had been an early militant group?
PF: so basically the addes faction, of I can call it that, was these early militants in these locations, and novak, his strength was in the body in white. YEAH had the body in white been that militant in the early days
ER: Frank Zymanski--i got to give him credit--he was from the reuther group, but he was always a militant guy.
PF: is this true, that generally the reuther group was not as militant? I get the impression they wre more political minded
ER: well, what militant guys they had, they had Krenshaw, I know was a militant guy, they had big Tex, they had zymanski, and they were militant people, but they didnt have the numbers. What people they had were good militant people, but they didnt have the numb erss of people in their caucus that we had. 1840
1910 PF: how large ws your caucus?
ER: we had a hundred, a nhundred and fifty. Reuther caucus was growing talent leaving the local for interntl rep jobs.
PF: were you opposed to the no-strike pledge?
ER: I dont think we ever took a psoiton on it. I know off the record we were opposed to it, I think the addes group was for it
2010 ER: they had us down before the war labor board a couple of times. On the qustn of piecework, which was a big item at that time, we were opposed to that
PF: the CP militantly in favor of piecework THT'S RIGHT and . . . 2080--2686 LISTEN TO THIS! assembling slate (2170) on CP