Frank Fagan Interview transcript notes

fagan 1.2

body in white
informal seniority
Poles all pretty close
steward in body in white (late 36/37)

semi-skilled welding, met fin, bumping—job selling, union exposed it—limited to one guy in employment office, over all office technical people, had some sway with the president—name of Avery
Union got  in 1937, made a big thing of this guy, got him fire, semi-skilled or better jobs
strictly in body-in-white  welders metal finisher wingmen final touch up  this is one guy Bert


he was charging a five dollar bill for a card or letter getting him into employment office; it hardly ever failed to get the guy in
I was looking into masons, k of c, but he was simply a greedy son of a bitch
we come up with 17 who got jobs this way

going down departments

metal finishers mostly Polish
on knowledge of workers (names)
80-90% metal finishers foreign born, relatively young

on 1933 IWW strike; sidney fine’s book! PAINT AND TRIM
there weren’t 30 people that joined the IWW
they were the americans; they were the pets of the company !!!
they were the upper class; they were the hardest to organize in the sit-down; but they were the strikers of 33!
there was a general rebellion
lot of trim and paint went to work! even though strike was trim and paint


1933 strike continued
very detailed!
Press dept

T&D  half german, rest anglo etc
CHECK on 13 min.  LEON PODY interview oral hist
left plant in 1945
Still on 1933
leather armlet incident  sure it was 1935  FDR  NIRA  ripe for unionization
AFL fed local 35 members
leather incident: going down list of 30 welders
soccer teams scotsmen good deal to do with formation uaw


COMPARES CUSHION in Dodge and Murray  10:00
25:00  first fed local meeting

Frank Fagan  1 B

trim and paint . . .  worked in body-in-white, started in 1929
went to welding school, had brother i law who spoke for me, i worked o the line as arc welder
3.00 de facto seniority: that means metal finishers and welder in body and white got to know each other pretty well
in murray predominance of polish, they all pretty close, all lived in Ham, Murray on western edge of Ham, sw of chevy gear and axle
steward in body-in-whhite (ltalking about 1936-7)
despite lack of seniority same group of men
5.00 29-37
there was an elelemt in murray’s which we exposed, when there were openings in some of the better jobs, welding and metal finsihsing, semi-skilled,or bumping or that sort of thing, element in empl office, one guy selling jobs; he was over all the office techical peopl, had some sway with Avery the pres.  when union got in 1937 we had this bstard fired, limited to this one guy, and to jobs semi skilled or better.  strictly in body in white.  metal finsihiers, dingment welders and final touchup men, in those days were prime jobs, they paid a nickel more, but .  he charged five dollar bill for a letter to get  into the employment office, it hardly ever failed to get a guy in.

9.00 KofC, Masons  influence only on employment man(?)
we come up with 17, 5 testified, othere suspected
union had him fired, theatened another striked (this ws about five days after the sitdown strike) we insisted that he be fired or we’d shut ‘er down again

covered all of body in white as union rep.  which of other four div do you know pretty well?  The Prss Room.
prior to union? all Ik knew were theoperations, not the people.  (after become committeeman)
after 37 got to know dept thoroguhly as far as oeople and their habits and concerns and teir operations and their in shop orblems
then tool and die, good knowledge of.
Paint and Trim no too kknowledgeble about that.
13.00 askinga bout demographics etc in depts
body in white. metal fin, soldering, touch up, coming out of the press room, tht where your body in white begins.  That your body before it has any paint on it and after its been fabricated. spot welding, machine gun welding, acetlyne and acrc welding, burring, and metal finishign,m bumping, and soldering. 
spot welders largest group about 100; 40 combination welders, gas and acetyline, you had to be both, have both skills.  buring rough griinding, crewe of 6 men, met fin large group, dings, bumps, scars, about 30 met fin, bout 5 soldering, metal got damage, had to be soldered,  about 180 in one dept, in body in white.  other body in white div wherer they isntalled inserts, part that had to be weldedtogether.
your building more than one auto (five floors body in white, 5 to600 men altogether, plus inspectors
17.45 each floor different model, so this is one out of five floord evoted to specific car.
most skilled of these tasks met fin, hardfest job and most meticluous, to give credit where credit was due met fin had most diffuclt and most importnt job as far as qulity os concerned

Frank Fagan

I’m asking FF to focus on metal fin dept only, re a couple  of key strikes
PF were you there in 1933 strike that was led by wobblies?
FF  yes i was there
PF and you were in this dept, body in white?
FF  yes
PF  now in one boook I read, it ws noted that the greatest strength of org ws in the met fin dept
FF Well, if you’re talking about Murray corp, no.

that was totally contained in paint and trim