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Southern Labor Archives: Archives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers: IAM Oral Histories A-I

IAM Oral Histories A-I

Bay, Alex
Bormann, Jay
Brooks-Floyd, Antoinette
Brown, James, Jr.
Chavez, Martin
Combs, Coet
Dorsey, Michael
E'Dalgo, Frank
Engler, William
Fleming, Diane
Giradot, Dean
Gorman, Andrea
Gregory, Robert
Hare, Roger
Holayter, Bill
House, Ed
Hurd, Thomas

Alex Bay

Interviewer: Rachel Bernstein
Date: December 8, 2011
Accession Number: L2012-01
Alex Bay was born in Kansas City in 1938. His mother, a Greek immigrant, worked in the packinghouses. He first learned about unions from her and hearing how her working conditions improved after the union was formed. Bay began working for TWA in Kansas City after leaving the Marines. He joined the IAMAW during his probation. He helped establish the local lodge’s newsletter. Bay was elected to the negotiating committee in 1965 during the first negotiations between all airline carriers. In 1978 he became Grand Lodge Rep and in 1990 worked with International Affairs. Bay was part of training programs in developing countries helping workers form and maintain unions. He became vice president on executive council in 1996. In 2003 he retired.

Bay discusses his parents’ immigration to the U.S., his mother’s union activity, and the devastating effect of the 1951 flood on the family fortune. He talks about joining the Marines in the aftermath of that flood and then returning to Kansas City to work for TWA. His recollections of being an IAMAW member in Kansas City and L.A. both center around starting a newsletter and communicating with members about common issues. He also talks about overthrowing the old “union establishment,” the effect of the 1966 strike, union structure and restructuring, deregulation, the Eastern and Continental strikes, the Civil Rights Act, and international support of trade unionists. He ends his interview discussing unification with the UAW and Steelworkers and his thoughts on the future of manufacturing and the trade unionism in the U.S.

Jay Bormann

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: December 8, 2011
Acession Number: L2012-02
Jay Bormann was born on September 28, 1948 in a small town in Oregon. Bormann was introduced to the union life early on and decided to get involved. He made many contributions to the labor union starting with his apprenticeship at Portland Ironworks. He then goes on, in 1978, to work at Reynolds Aluminum. It was here he joined Local Lodge 63 and got more involved with the union. He served as shop steward, chief steward, auditor, and vice president in Local Lodge 63 and then decided to get involved with District 24. He served as secretary-treasurer in District 24. Bormann then went on to serve as Director of Guide Dogs of America for 10 years until retirement.
Jay Bormann talks about his father’s involvement with the union and where he and his parents are from. He goes into detail about his father’s work in the union and why the small town in Oregon was conducive to union work. Then, Bormann discusses his early years as an apprentice and how he got involved in the union, specifically Local Lodge 63. He discusses the history of Local Lodge 63 and his roles in various positions with the local. He talks about the 12-day strike from a union member’s point of view as well as from a financial officer’s position. Bormann also talks about switching from District 24 to working as the Director of Guide Dogs of America. Day-to-day activities at Guide Dog of America are explained in this interview. Bormann also touches on retirement and what the most satisfying part of his career was with the Machinists.

Antoinette Brooks-Floyd

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date:November 20, 2013
Accession Number:L2013-17 

Antoinette Brooks-Floyd was born in New York City in 1939. Her father was an investment banker father. Her mother, a homemaker with health issues, had worked for the New Yorker magazine during the war. She married early, became a mother, entered NYU, and worked part-time nights as a reservationist at TWA.  After her family relocated to Los Angeles, she again worked as a reservationist for TWA and started to become involved in union activities, learning how to represent and organize people.  She became involved in the campaign to obtain seniority benefits and to get union representation for the reservationists. Eventually, the reservationists gained representation by the IAMAW. Brooks-Floyd eventually became general chairperson of district 142. She was active in local union political campaigns as well as working with union retirees on the Obama campaign in Ohio. She has also been involved in mentoring young machinists.

Brooks-Floyd begins by discussing her family background, growing up in New York, her father’s work and personal history. She talks about her father’s political background and her relationship with him.  She talks about her early marriage and motherhood and taking classes NYU as well as s her early work history working part-time at night as a reservationist at TWA.  She describes relocating to Los Angeles and taking a reservationist position at TWA, where they had no union representation. She talks about becoming involved in the campaign to secure union presentation for the part time reservationists. After a failed attempt with the Teamsters, the reservationists gain representation with the IAMAW. She talks about her duties as general chairperson of district 142 and describes how she learned about arbitration and organizing.  She recalls working with union retirees on the Obama campaign in Ohio and talks about the importance of mentoring and establishing a training program for mentors.

James Brown, Jr.

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: December 6, 2011
Accession number: L2012-03
James Brown, Jr. was born April 27, 1943 in St. Louis, Missouri to James E. and Ruth Brown.  His father was a member of the United Auto Workers, and Brown recalls a 1937 strike of the Chevrolet plant in St. Louis in which the elder James Brown participated.  Prior to joining the IAMAW, Brown worked with the Teamsters as a gas station mechanic.  Brown later worked for Continental Can, and joined the United Steelworkers.  As the United Steelworkers and the IAMAW organized different divisions of the shop, Brown transitioned into the IAMAW when he successfully applied for an apprenticeship through the company’s machine shop while he was attending trade school.  From 1978 to 2003, Brown held a variety of positions within district lodge 9, including organizer, business representative, assistant director, and director, before moving to the International lodge as administrative assistant to Midwest Territory Vice President Alex Bay in 2003.  Brown held the administrative assistant for a mere ten months before succeeding Bay as Midwest Territory Vice President upon his retirement, a position that Brown held until his own retirement in 2006.  Brown also held the presidency of the Tool-and-Die Conference from 1985 to 2010, and served auxiliary and advisory roles to a multitude of external agencies, including the Missouri State Council of Machinists, the St. Louis Labor Council, and the United Way of St. Louis, among others.
Brown recounts his early work experience at Harold’s Mobile Service, working on cars as a Teamster under Harold Stull, who was also a former IAMAW member.  Brown recalls his early positions within the union, and describes the politics behind the breakoff of McDonnell/Douglas from district 9 during his time as an organizer for the district lodge.  Brown discusses the impact of the PATCO strike and NAFTA on the labor movement.  Brown describes the retiree healthcare plan that he helped establish for his district lodge.  Brown provides commentary on the state of younger union people, disagreeing with the charge that younger people have “never really had to fight.”  Brown then describes the auxiliary and advisory roles he served in external agencies, including his time as president of the Tool-and-Die Conference.

Martin Chavez

Interviewer: Amy Mell
Date: June 12, 2013
Accession Number: L2013-30 
Martin Chavez was born in October 22, 1942 in Compton, California. He grew up in the Watts community. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a crane operator and was a union member. In 1964, after serving in the Air Force, he went to work for McDonnell Douglas and joined the UAW. After being transferred to Santa Monica following a layoff, he joined the IAMAW and became a shop steward. During that time, he was involved in a 62 day strike. He transferred to Huntington Beach where he was also a shop steward. He then went to Western Airlines as a mechanic. After Western was bought out by Delta he was hired by United Airlines, where he served as a trustee for local lodge 1932. He retired in 2003. He remains active with the union and is working to document the history of the local.
Chavez begins the interview discussing his family background. His mother was a homemaker and while his father worked as a crane operator and was a member of steelworkers union. He goes to discuss working for McDonnell Douglas after serving in the Air Force and joining UAW. After a layoff, he recalls his transferred to Santa Monica, and where he became shop steward for the IAMAW. He recalls being involved in the 62 day strike and eventually transferring to Huntington Beach, where he also served as shop steward. Chavez talks about working at Western Airlines, and then being hired by United Airlines, where he served as a trustee. He recalls working with Steve Cook and the negotiations they had with company. Chavez discusses retiring for medical reasons in 2003. He ends by discussing his activities after retirement, particularly his involvement with documenting the history of the local.

Coet Combs

Interviewer: Rachel Bernstein
Date: December 7, 2011
Accession number: L2012-04
Coet Combs was born January 30, 1942 in the small town of Decoy, Kentucky to Dan and Media Combs.  One of ten children, Combs came from a labor family, as his father was a coal miner who worked to organize for the United Mine Workers in Kentucky.  Prior to joining the IAMAW, Combs held other jobs in the United States Navy (active duty and civil service) and with the Flintkote Corporation and General Electric, where he held union membership and leadership positions in the Laborers Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and the International Union of Electrical Workers.  Combs came to the IAMAW through local lodge 39 (later local 97) in 1968 when he began working for the Norfolk Naval Air Rework Facility.  Combs was pulled off the shop floor in 1975 upon being elected as business representative to district lodge 74.  In 1977, Combs moved to the International lodge as a grand lodge representative, a position that he held for ten years.  Combs held many other positions in the International lodge from 1987 until his retirement in 2005, including administrative assistant to the General Vice President of the Great Lakes territory, assistant legislative director, director of the Government Affairs Department, and special assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer.  
Combs describes his early life and family background in rural Kentucky, and his father’s involvement with the United Mine Workers.  Combs recalls his education at Hindman boarding school and his decision to join the United States Navy.  Combs describes the military and unionized civilian employment that he held prior to joining the IAMAW.  Combs discusses the effect that the political environment of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including race relations and the Vietnam War, had on local lodge 39.  Combs discusses a 1977 strike of several NASA contractors in Wallops Island, VA while he was serving as business representative for district lodge 74.  Combs then describes his move to the International lodge and the various positions that he held and relocations that he was subject to over that time period.  Combs also comments on the problem of sexual harassment as he observed from an officer’s perspective, and the political support for and against unions that he experienced in the various locations that he worked over the years.

Michael Dorsey

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: December 7, 2011
Accession number: L2012-05
Michael “Lee” Dorsey was born August 8, 1942 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Edward M. Dorsey and Mary D. Dorsey (neé Meehan).  After completing high school in 1960, Dorsey attended aircraft engine mechanic school at East Coast Aerotech and got a job in the aircraft industry at Hamilton Standard as a nonunion turbo pump tester.  He joined the Coast Guard in 1962, and upon returning in 1964, joined IAMAW local lodge 1746 through his job as an experimental mechanic at Pratt & Whitney.  Beginning in 1971, Dorsey served as secretary-treasurer of local 1746, and worked closely with the district 91 (now district 26) office, which shared office space with his local lodge.  Dorsey began working for the International lodge in 1979 and served as grand lodge auditor until 1988, when he became administrative assistant to General Secretary-Treasurer (GST) Tom Ducey.  Prior to his retirement in 2007, Dorsey also served as special assistant to the GST, and assistant secretary to the GST.  Dorsey also served as president of the Greater Hartford chapter of the Connecticut Central Labor Council, vice president of the Conneticut AFL-CIO, and served on the Connecticut State Council of Machinists.
Dorsey recalls his family history with unions in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Dorsey discusses the process of handling grievances and negotiations in local 1746.  Dorsey recounts the role the Connecticut Central Labor Council had in politics following the censure of Senator Tom Dodd.  Dorsey describes the planning that went into the quadrennial IAMAW convention as part of his duties working for the International grand lodge.  Dorsey illustrates the process of closing a local lodge, and describes executive council meetings.  Dorsey provides his account of the gradual merger with the Transportation and Communications Union (TCU) with the IAMAW.

Frank E'Dalgo, Grand Lodge Representative, 1912 - 2001.

Interviewer: Dr. Leslie S. Hough
Date: May 3, 1988
Transcript: 38 pages
Location: End of I.A.M.A.W. Collection (L1992-14)
Frank E'Dalgo was first hired by the American Federation of Labor (AFL) as an organizer, coordinating the first citrus plant in Florida. He later joined the IAMAW as Grand Lodge Representative and spent much of his time working with the sugar industry. He started Local Lodge 2152, changed Local Lodge 57 from a Federal Union to the IAMAW, and later worked with District Lodge 166 and the local lodges in Cape Canaveral. 
E'Dalgo begins by describing his early childhood growing up on a farm in Monroe County, Georgia.  At age 16, E'Dalgo moves to Florida and begins working in the fruit packing industry.  He describes his first involvement in the labor movement in Florida, helping organize the Fort Pierce Growers Association. His membership in the International Association of Machinists and position as an organizer for the American Federation of Labor (AFL) are also discussed, as well as his work with Lou Rhodes of the AFL and their efforts to organize the Florida citrus growers and canners.  E'Dalgo's work with other union organizations, particularly those in the aircraft industry, are also recounted. 

Photo and short bio on E'Dalgo taken from the web page of District Lodge 166 in Cape Canaveral.

William Engler

Interviewer: Rachel Bernstein
Date: December 8, 2011
Accession number: L2012-06
William Engler was born February 22, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were German immigrants who came to the United States before WW II. His mother domestic work and his father worked in factories, but never joined a union. After graduating high school, Engler worked for company that made springs as a lab tech. He then worked at the National Tea Company, which was under a union contract with the Teamsters. Upon getting a job with United Airlines, he joined the IAMAW in 1966. Engler was elected to the positon of financial secretary, a full time union position and held several other positions over the years.
Engler discusses growing up in an ethnically German household in a European immigrant neighborhood. He recalls how his parents expectation was going to work not college. He remembers his first job out of high school as a lab tech with a company that made springs. Engler recalls moving to the National Tea Company, which was organized by the Teamsters and reflects on the differences between the Teamsters and the IAMAW. Engler discusses joining the IAMAW in 1966 while working for United Airlines in Chicago. He remembers the demographic make up of his department and how that began to change over the years. Engler talks about his work for the IAMAW as financial secretary of his local, auditor, and assistant secretary. He reflects on politics within the IAMAW and with the MNPL. Engler describes being a delegate at the national convention for the union. Then he recalls meeting with various IAMAW presidents and well-known political figures over the years. Engler discusses his role in planning the 1985 IAMAW convention. He talks about becoming the assisant secretary in 1989, as well as working for the guide dogs program. Engler recalls his wife's working career and her own union membership with the Retail Clerks and United Food Commercial Workers. He then discusses his children's lives and careers. Engler recalls the effect of 9/11 on air travel and on especially older members of the union, some of whom stopped traveling by air. He wraps up reflecting on retired from the IAMAW in 2001. Engler talks about his post-retirement live, including helping to build the Arizona branch of the Alliance for Retired Americans, and discusses other kinds of activism going on in Arizona, such as an Occupy camp and the cross over between his group and theirs. He also talks about working with the Guide Dogs program.

Diane Fleming

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: November 21, 2013
Accession Number: L2013-23 
Diane Fleming was born in Chicago in 1942. Her father died when she was two years old and the family relocated to a small town in Kentucky. She remembers growing up as an African American in a segregated environment and its effect on her. She attended college in Knoxville, where she became involved in sit-ins and other types of student activism. She was hired by United Airlines in 1963 as a reservationist. The reservationists sought and eventually got union representation in order to obtain better pay and benefits. She eventually worked at the United city ticket office.  Fleming believed in the benefits of union and while at United, she held the position of shop steward.  After her retirement, she continued to be active in the union, notably working on the 2012 Obama campaign in Ohio.
Fleming starts by talking about her father’s death and what it was like to grow up in a small segregated Kentucky town. She discusses her mother and stepfather’s work background. Fleming talks about attending college in Knoxville and being involved in student activism. Fleming discusses being hired by United Airlines in 1963 as a reservationist and describes her duties as well as the limited benefits available at that time. Fleming discusses why union representation for the reservationists was important. Fleming recalls working at the city ticket office and explains the manual ticketing process before automation. Fleming talks about Steven Wolf and his attempt to merge United with US Air. She talks about her duties as shop steward. Fleming discusses her post retirement activities with the union, including about working on the 2012 Ohio Obama campaign. She ends the interview by discussing what she thinks are the most important aspects of union membership.

Dean Giradot

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: August 13, 2012
Accession Number: L2012-37 
Dean Girardot was born in Denver Colorado in 1934. He began his career in labor unions as a member of the International Union of Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery workers while employed at the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. Girardot would go on go to become Assistant Coordinator for the AFL-CIO in South Carolina, and eventually a National Representative in Texas.  In Texas, Girardot became involved with the IAMAW and the aerospace industry.  In 1994, Girardot became the Executive Secretary to AFL-CIO President George Kourpias. He remained in this position until his retirement.
Girardot discusses his introduction into the union as a young man in Golden, CO. He also discusses his involvement in , difficulties with, and success of organizing workers, particularly in the South. Girardot discusses his view on NAFTA and its impact on local populations, and his involvement with the IAMAW and Aero-space industry.  He outlines his duties and success at all stages  in his career, which culminated as the Executive Secretary to AFL-CIO President Kourpias.

Andrea Gorman

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: November 19, 2013
Accession Number: L2013-16 
Andrea Gorman was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1946 the seventh of eight children. Her father was a college professor and her mother a former teacher. After her father’s death, the family fell on hard times and for a while was separated, the children placed into orphanages. When the family received Social Security Survivor benefits, they were able to reunite and eventually moved to Ohio.  Gorman married at 16 and became the mother of three sons before taking a job in a car parts plant and becoming a Teamster in 1966. She took a job as a steel worker in 1968 and relocated to California when the plant closed. Gorman became a machinist in 1982 at Sherwin Williams and got involved in effort to promote equal pay for women there.  She retired from at 56, due to disability. After retirement, she remained active as a trustee for the local, serving on the human rights organizing committee, serving as a delegate to district lodge 190 and working with Obama campaign in Ohio.
Gorman begins by discussing her family background and recalls growing up as the seventh of eight children. She talks about her father’s death, when the family was separated and placed into orphanages, and their eventual reunion. She talks about her early marriage and becoming the mother of three sons. Gorman talks about becoming a Teamster in 1966 when she worked making car parts. She recalls becoming a steel worker, then a machinist and her efforts to promote equal pay for women. Gorman talks about the mentoring program for young machinists. She talks about her volunteer activities after retiring on disability at age 56, including being a delegate to District Lodge 190, working with the Obama campaign in Ohio as well as working on behalf of Social Security. Gorman ends by discussing her activism and her mentors.

Robert Gregory

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date: December 4, 2011
Accession Number: L2012-07 
Robert “Bob” Gregory was born February 13, 1934 in Fresno, California to Charles and Eileen Gregory.  Gregory is the only member of his family to ever join a union, in junior college he changed his major from law enforcement to accounting to general education.  Gregory joined IAMAW local lodge 946 in 1957 when he began working for Aerojet as an experimental metal smith.  At his local lodge, Dorsey served as steward and senior steward and served on several committees before being elected the business representative to handle local lodge 946 in 1972.  In 1982, Gregory was hired onto the International lodge staff as a special grand lodge representative, to later become a grand lodge representative.  From 1992 until his retirement in 1996, Gregory was administrative assistant to General Vice President of the Western Territory Lee Pearson, who also participated in the IAMAW Oral History Project.  Since his retirement, Gregory has been active in the local lodge 946 retirees’ club, and he organizes the retirees’ club’s annual Sacramento Classic Car Show.
Gregory discusses his upbringing and education.  Gregory describes the structure and “shop politics” and classifications of the Aerojet plant, and his working relationships with officers Chuck Jones and Hal Sheehan.  Gregory also discusses the types of government projects that Aerojet would receive.  Gregory recalls his increased involvement in the union and his early election history within his local lodge, and some of the other companies that his local lodge represented.  Gregory describes the negotiations, grievance, and arbitration process as his local lodge handled these processes.  Gregory recalls three major strikes that he was involved in through his local lodge:  1962, 1965, and 1972-1973, the latter of which lasted six months.  Gregory discusses the impact of the greater economic trends of the 1970s on his community and the aerospace industry.  Gregory describes his negotiation roles in the International lodge for companies such as Rohr Industries, Aerojet, and Boeing.  Gregory discusses his role in his local lodge’s retirees’ club, the Sacramento Classic Car Show that he organizes, and generational differences within the lodge.

Roger Hare

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date:July 27, 2014
Accession Number: L2014-23 
Roger Hare was born in Houlton, Maine on August 27th, 1927. He moved around Maine for much of his childhood and contracted tuberculosis as a teenager. Hare worked as a tollbooth operator for the Maine Turnpike Authority around the time it opened, joining the Teamsters during that time. Next, he went to work for the Portland Copper Tank works, where he joined the machinists. Hare remembers how he became the local lodge 1574 president after four years as a member. He also was appointed special representative. He was Grand Lodge Representative for twenty years and upon retirement, he was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board as a representative in Washington D.C. Later, Hare joined the Maine Senior Movement.
Roger Hare was born in Houlton Maine on August 27th, 1927. He discusses his struggle with tuberculosis as a teenager, necessitating bed rest for a year and his mother's death from cancer that same year. Hare recalls his first job working for the Maine Turnpike Authority as a toll collector, which had a high number of applicants for a small number of positions. Hare discusses his boss attempting to buy him out because he joined the Teamsters. He details his second job at Portland Copper Tank Works, which was a closed shop, organized by the IAMAW. He discusses his eventually election to the local lodge 1574 president, crediting his willingness to speak out. Hare also worked as the Special Representative. Hare remembers different arbitration cases he worked on during this time. He recalls working as a Grand Lodge Representative for twenty years and being appointed to the National Labor Relations Board when he retired. Hare then talks about his family, including the death of his wife to cancer, and his children’s occupations. He concludes by discussing the state of health care, especially for senior citizens.

Bill Holayter

Interviewed By: Rachel Bernstein
Date: November 22, 2012
Accession Number: L2013-25
Bill Holayter was born in East Chicago, Indiana, a union town, in 1931. His father, a carpenter, emigrated to the U.S. from Hungary. At sixteen, his family relocated to California, concerned about the environmental pollution in East Chicago.  After serving in the Navy, he went to work as a journeyman machinist. Holayter worked as an aircraft welder at Hiller Helicopters, where he joined the IAMAW, becoming shop steward after a year. Holayter then went to work for Westinghouse and became very active in the union, serving as assistant chief steward. From 1969 to 1972, he served as assistant political director in Washington, D.C. and became political director in 1972. Holayter retired in 1992 and remains active with the machinists’ retiree program.
Holaytor recalls growing up in a strong union environment in East Chicago, Indiana. He discusses his father’s early background and immigration to the United States. He talks about his family’s relocation to California because of environmental concerns. He discusses his Navy service and talks about his early work history as a journeyman machinist. Holayter joins the IAMAW at Hiller Helicopters where he worked as an aircraft welder and becomes shop steward. Holayter goes to work for Westinghouse and becomes very active in the union, serving as assistant chief steward. He then becomes shop steward and business agent. In 1969, he moves to Washington, DC to take the position of assistant political director, becoming political director in1 1972. Holayter recalls working on various political campaigns, including those of Nancy Pelosi and George McGovern.  He discusses his retirement in 1992 and his work with machinists’ retiree program.

Ed House

Interviewer: Traci Drummond
Date:May 25, 2012
Accession Number:L2012-24-1&2
Ed M. House was born June 14, 1932 in Dallas County, Arkansas.  The youngest of nine children, he grew up working on the family farm until his father’s death.  In 1951, he began working at the International Paper Company, where he joined the IAMAW, until being drafted into the Army during 1953.  After his return, House served on the Grievance Committee and as Secretary Treasurer and President of Local Lodge 1365 beginning in the mid 1950s.  In 1966, House began working state wide as a Special Representative for six months before becoming a Grand Lodge Representative.  After working as Roe Spencer’s administrative assistant for a short tenure, House became Resident General Vice President at the Machinist headquarters in 1989.  Then in 1991, House became the General Vice President for the Southern Territory.
Ed M. House begins by describing his childhood and early work experience and IAMAW involvement at the International Paper Company.  He then discusses his career with the IAMAW as a Special Representative on the Grievance Committee and as a Grand Lodge Representative. House continues by describing during his tenure as GVP of the Southern Territory the difficulty of organizing in the South including internal issues in Wichita, Kansas and corruption with the tobacco industry. House later elaborates on the political dimensions of the union including the Machinists Non-Partisan League, support for Bill Clinton and other politicians, and PATCO’s affect on the union’s bipartisan views.

Thomas Hurd

Interviewer:  Traci Drummond
Date: December 7, 2011
Accession number:  L2012-08
Thomas “Tom” Hurd was born July 9, 1938 in Los Angeles, CA to Roy James Hurd and Beulah D. Hurd (neé Settle).  Growing up, his family was upper-middle class, and while his father held many jobs, the one that Hurd remembers best was his ownership of one-third of the Mission Beach Amusement Center in San Diego, CA.  Hurd’s father died young and his mother lost the business that his father had left them in a fire and was left handicapped.  Hurd was educated in military academy and Catholic school through his high school graduation.  His first experience with union membership was as a box boy at Mayfair Market, where he was a member of the Retail Clerks (now United Food Commercial Workers).  Out of high school, Hurd got a job as an assembler at Convair and joined IAMAW local lodge 1112.  Although Convair sent him to trade school, Hurd only worked at Convair for eight months before quitting to attend junior college.  He only attended junior college for one semester before he returned to aerospace industry, this time at Rohr Industries of Chula Vista, CA.  Hurd spent some time in a non-union position as a dispatcher before becoming a steel-rule-die operator and returning to the IAMAW in 1961 as a member of local lodge 755.  Hurd held many positions within the local lodge from 1961-1978 including conductor, recording secretary, vice president, and president, before becoming a business representative to local lodge 755, employed through district lodge 50.  In 1987, Hurd was selected by General Vice President of the Western territory, Justin Ostro, to apply as a special grand lodge representative and ultimately being promoted to grand lodge representative.  In 1996, Hurd was selected as the administrative assistant to the General Vice President of the Western territory, a position he held until his retirement in 2003.  Since his retirement, Hurd has maintained active attendance to meetings at local lodge 755.  Hurd has one son, who is a business representative in the Teamsters Union.
Hurd begins by discussing his family background and the circumstances that led to his family moving from Kansas to southern California.  Hurd describes some of the jobs that his father held before his passing, his memories growing up around the amusement center, and his family’s political beliefs and the internal conflicts that arose from them.  Hurd then describes his military academy and Catholic school educational background, and wishes that he had “joined the Coast Guard like [his] brother.”  Hurd recalls the importance of the union in ensuring that he had a job at Rohr aircraft after being laid off and cites that as the reason he became more involved in the union.  Hurd recalls a 1970 strike that occurred after a business representative, Ashley Williams “wanted the moon, and he wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the moon,” and how Williams’ actions exacerbated the problems associated with negotiating the strike.  Hurd discusses the impact of the Trade Readjustment Act (TRA) on his plant and the IAMAW by moving aspects of aircraft assembly to Mexico, and the role that he had in actively combating TRA that culminated in an editorial in the San Diego newspaper and recognition from Congressman Lionel Van Deerlin (Hurd reads his letter from Congressman Van Deerlin in its entirety).  Hurd describes his work organizing a GM bus building facility in Roswell, NM as grand lodge representative, and provides a detailed account of the process of taking over trusteeship of a local lodge.  Hurd explains that in his retirement, he chooses to continue participating in his local lodge’s regular meetings and events rather than the retirees’ club that his district lodge administers, because he does not feel that the retirees’ club is involved enough in politics. Hurd worked closely with Lee Pearson, who also participated in the IAMAW Oral History Project.

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