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Interview: Margaret Darin Stasik
Former Westinghouse Employee and Labor Activist


Date: January 7, 1977

Interviewer: Ron Schatz

1991 Copy of an Original Audio Recording from Manuscript Group 409. The Pennsylvania Oral History Collections at the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA

Western PA Electrical Workers, Project 49


Stasik: .......How can you separate, at that period in history, anyway, how can you separate the issues? The men and women issues? I can't separate them. I'm not putting it right. In other words, how could you have, when everything was so bad, how could you have raised something, other than the question of 'equal pay for equal work', at that time, separate from the men. As a separate issue. You know, "alone" for the women. It seemed to me that since men and women were working together in that shop, it was important to raise it as a common issue that had to be dealt with. I raised this with Linda (likely a reference to an interview with Linda Nyden for her seminar paper, "Women Electrical Workers--Westinghouse, East Pittsburgh", 1975) at the time, and I felt that her emphasis, maybe, was wrong. (Indecipherable) I can see now that where you look back, and see where you had women doing just certain things like lining up tools or doing routine work, but you never found a woman toolmaker, a woman crane operator or in the engineering department you didn't see a woman. So that the issue is sharper now with men and women than it was then. But then, you know, you had men who worked the common labor for almost nothing. I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that if you had to have the issue, you had to have the issue 'joined' together with all the people in that shop rather than splitting this group off.....

Schatz: I think it's maybe even harder to write about women working separately from men. Because so often the experience is so intertwined.

Stasik: Exactly right. And so often you have a common problem. You have a common goal and you have to negotiate with the head of one company. They don't compartmentalize themselves, so why should labor do that? At least, that's the way I see it.

Schatz: Could you tell me how you first became involved in union activity?

Stasik: The history. Well evidently, there had been, before I was old enough to work at Westinghouse, there were organizers trying to organize the steelworkers and at Westinghouse, too......Because I can remember when we were trying to convince people to join the Union, they would all say, "Well, no, it'll never work." We had to settle every strike and every issue, before that time. So that there were, before then, groups that were interested in trying to get the Westinghouse Company organized, but never with any success. And I can remember going to....I belonged to the group at the YWCA, sort of a study group and I heard of this movement going on over at the high school. And I decided to go there and see what it was. And we went. You couldn't argue with what they said was needed to be done. But the question came up, in my mind, and I guess in others' minds, "All right, this is great. But how do you ever get people to get together?" And as we walked away, as far as we were concerned, we forgot about it. I continued to go to the "Y." We had professors from Pitt who came and talked to the classes. And a fellow by the name of Curt Anderson, who majored in Economics, I think, and a girl by the name of Miriam Wildon, and another one. Anyway, they used to teach classes there, so after work we would attend them, and the "Y", they were having what they called a "Labor School." It was during the WPA program, during the 30s, and a woman by the name of Hilda Smith. Anyway, they got the idea that they should use the colleges, and bring some of these girls who had worked in factories and had never seen a college campus. Just get them there. During the summer months, when the college was closed to the regular students and have some of the teachers give them courses. So there was so many picked from every area. And it so happened that I was picked to go and a friend of mine, by the name of Helen Talder. I debated a long time whether to go or not, because work had just started to pick up and I was helping my mother and my brother and sister-in-law. They said, "Oh, Margie, you go!" So I did. I went to the school for six weeks. They were the most beautiful weeks of my life. Would you believe being in Brynmawr College? I lived on the sidewalks of East Pittsburgh and then going there? To this beautiful campus with these beautiful buildings, just make your eyes pop. We were allowed to use the main library then, which was a real privilege. And the Dean of the school must have had a feeling for people who worked for a living because she allowed us to use the Deanery Garden, the Dean's Garden, for the lectures that we would attend. And it was just a beautiful experience. And the thing is that they just didn't cover labor history there, but they gave me a smattering, you know, just a little bit. I can remember they had _______who would come in, and tell us just enough to whet our appetite. It was just great. We had a fellow by the name of Oliver Raugh, who taught, and took us up on top of one of the buildings they had there with the telescopes, and he allowed us to look at the stars through the telescopes. And if you can imagine what that would mean to someone that just had eight years of schooling. You know, I really had an interest about what was going on. But in addition to that, you had some darn good other people there. There was a fellow by the name of Colston Warren, you've probably heard of him, and Leo Huberman, who's dead now, and what a great man he was. Did you read his book, "We, The People?" Isn't that beautiful? Beautiful history of the area!

Schatz: Yes.

Stasik: So that as a result of that experience, and then, in addition to the faculty, we went......There was a girl from Germany. She had just escaped Germany before Hitler came into power. I can still see her. She was.....You could see that there was something there that was troubling her. And there were two girls from Sweden, a girl from England and girls from the Garment Industry and to have had this intermingling with all these ______girls, that had some connection with labor unions. And here, my friend and I were the two company union gals.

Schatz: Were you active in the company union?

Stasik: No, no.

Schatz: The shop wasn't organized yet.

Stasik: That's right. To be quite honest with you, I was just happy to have a job and have a paycheck to bring home every two weeks. You didn't have anything in life. So that was very important. But it was just like somebody had drawn a curtain up. You began to see things the way they really were, instead of, before that, you sort of walked along real quiet. Well, whenever I came back, my whole view of things had changed!

Schatz: In what way?

Stasik: In the way, when I heard about this meeting for a union, I went. I joined. I didn't have any questions then. Maybe it was stupidity, maybe I wasn't smart enough to probe in deeper. But I felt the need for a union then. And joined the union. I remember we met up at Kid's Hall and it was a pretty determined bunch of people who met there. And my friend went along, my sister Evelyn, my friend Helen Talder and myself. And when they nominated the President, and the Secretary-Treasurer and when it came for Recording Secretary, there was a stillness that came over the room. And my friend says, "I nominate Margaret Darin." Well, that was it. And I got into it and I wouldn't have gotten out of it for anything. It was the best part of my life. So I became Recording Secretary of the Union. And there was no way of knowing whether the thing was going to go or not. Section 7, the AF of A grant was not in books yet. It was during the NLRA period, but you're probably too young to remember that. There was a period where it was, you know, just touch and go, as far as we were concerned. We didn't know whether the union would go or whether it would just pass by like everything else. But we were convinced enough of the need for it. So that no matter what, we were going to do what we could. So, in the meantime, there were other things that were happening. You probably know more about that than I do, Ron! But, if you remember, there were certain shops. These mass production shops, like in Philadelphia and other areas, that were not organized either. But these people wanted organization. So the AFL, well you know that, so there's no need of you and I going into it. But it seemed that there was a meeting, where we had the meeting in Buffalo, New York. I didn't go. A fellow by the name of Burkhart, who is now dead...

Schatz: Is he dead?

Stasik: He died several years ago. He went to California, and died. A marvelous man. His integrity was impeccable. You couldn't touch him. And honest and sincere. A little bit arrogant, I would say, but a marvelous man. You couldn't find anything, you know, that you could attack about his character. He was just one of these people. He really was. He and Frank Gazdik and, I think, Bill Evan, went to Buffalo. Then the AFL was smart enough to know that if they didn't step in, ________, since the union was an issue at that time. They knew, for example, the so-called 'left wing' had organized certain shops. I think Lynn was one of them.

Schatz: Do you recall when the TUUL tried to organize in East Pittsburgh? Because I think that happened in 1933 or 1934.

Stasik: Well, then this must have been part of the TUUL. There was Emspak. Now, wait a minute. I don't remember. Was Carey in then? That part is not clear in my mind.

Schatz: I think it was Carey and Emspak who were in it at that time.

Stasik: They were?

Schatz: That was the first convention of the UE.

Stasik: That's right. In Buffalo, New York. Right, right. But you see what happened before then, was when John L. Lewis had that fight within the AFL and they threw him out. He and ten other unions formed The Committee for Industrial Organization. And I think Phil Murray. We had a meeting with Phil Murray. Phil Murray and David MacDonald, who was Phil Murray's secretary. We met, I believe, at the William Penn Hotel. Burkhart and I went down there. And we discussed the question of uniting forces with these mass production unions.....what would you call them......that had been expelled. What would you call them, industrial unions?

Schatz: They were federal unions from the AFL. The Philco and Schenectady. And Lynn and so forth.

Stasik: Right, right. No, now Lynn was in the UE. Lynn was in the UERWA. The United Electrical Radio Workers of America. Philco was in the AFL.

Schatz: In AFL. And the Westinghouse of Philadelphia was in the AFL. Lexington something.....

Stasik: Yes. Lexington-Politin probably was. The history of that! They had some good IWW numbers in there. So we had this coalition of the two and I can remember, it was sporadic, you know? We used to have these meetings on street corners and you'd have an audience of a thousand, because that was during their lunch hour and you know they'd talk and listen. I can remember my first speech. I was scared to death. I hadn't said anything wrong, because, you know, you can't be too brave when you know that you have to have a paycheck come in every two weeks. And I knew that I was taking that paycheck in my hands when I was doing this, because there certainly was no guarantee that we would..... I hadn't said anything to my mother. But my sister, Evelyn and I would walk together. I couldn't tell her one thing and have her seeing me in different clothes and not know. So I said to her, "I'm going to make a speech today." She said, "Oh, Marge, you're not!" I said, "Yep, I am!" You know, my sister Evelyn, she's sick now, I really feel very bad about her illness. But she was a gal that allowed me to be my own person. While she didn't allow her love for me to persuade her, she was really ____to back me up. She didn't say, "Oh Marge, don't do it!" She says, "Well, if you feel that you have to, you go ahead. I'll be there and I'll be listening to you." And that was encouraging. So I can remember at that time I thought, "Well, I'll probably go in and they'll give me my pink slip." And you know, the only person that came up and said something to me was my foreman, and congratulated me. I was really stunned. A fellow by the name of Shaunce, I'll always remember. I think that he came from a European background and maybe ______. How can we say that all people who are foremen aren't union minded? Some of them may be.

Schatz: Had you had any union background in your own family?

Stasik: Oh, I think with my.....My father was a coal miner. But of course, I think, during his period, I don't know that the United Mine Workers was very strong. But if it was, he didn't....You see, he was of limited education, and probably didn't know enough. My brother-in-law, who is married to my sister Mary, is strong union.

Schatz: What union is that?

Stasik: UMW. He was a miner, too. Then finally gave up mining, came to East Pittsburgh, worked in a shop. A good union.

Schatz: Was he in the union when you started to become active? Was that an influence on your decision?

Stasik: Oh, no. No. I think the thing that influenced me more than anything was my contact with the people at Brynmawr School. I think that. And of course, my sister Ella's husband was a very strong minded man who was progressive in his point of view. I remember he and I used to have some arguments about things that I couldn't quite see eye to eye with him at that time. No, I think it was an independent kind of decision on my part. I believed in the cause because it was......., I think seeing the depths of the depression, seeing people who didn't have a thing, who couldn't understand why there could be so much (indecipherable comments about suffering during the Depression.) I think probably all that added up to make up my mind.

Schatz: Before you left Brynmawr, you'd been active at the YWCA?

Stasik: I would go to the "Y." I've always had the desire to learn, you know.

Schatz: Was that the Wilkinsburg "Y"?

Stasik: East Pittsburgh.

Schatz: East Pittsburgh? That's not that Wilmerding one that just burned down is it?

Stasik: No, no. This was a "YW" that there was a girl by the name of Dora Dite who got to speak to us. There weren't many. There were about ten or twelve of us. We'd go once a week. And we'd attend classes.

Schatz: What kind of classes?

Stasik: Oh, Curt Anderson taught us Economics. The whole question of the economy. But he was a great disciplined force and a....

Schatz: A veteran?

Stasik: A veteran, yes. Also, the question of Marx and (mentions several other controversial topics, indecipherable) . I'd never heard of those things. I can remember this one day......And you know, there was such a fear of Communism. I know the fear that I had. Oh, that Communism was just some horrible creature from somewhere other than the Earth! So this one day, Dora Dite, who was actually head of the group, said that she was going to have some fellows by the name of Ben Foley and Thomas Chain, I believe his name was, speak to us. And I was never so taken in, in all my life. And I said to the other girls, "They say they're Communists, but they're no different than we are." It was a surprise to me, you know. I believed all the stuff I heard. So, after awhile you could begin to wonder and question. So that was it.

Schatz: East Pittsburgh was an old Socialist community.

Stasik: That's right.

Schatz: Was there a sort of Socialistic worker presence in the town when you working there?

Stasik: I think that there was in a way. And even the company Union there....I can't say it was different than other company unions, because I just know about this one. But it had the facade of being representative of the people. For example, you did get a chance to elect your representatives. What they had was a representative in the section where you worked and then you had one, main person who worked in the shop from that division who represented you, together with representatives from the company. Once a month they'd have a meeting. And they would give you the news of what went on at that meeting. So that, what happened was, you know, we were fighting the company from the outside. Until someone came up with the idea, when you say about Socialist influence. I don't know how much 'socialist' influence it was, but let's say it was people who did a little thinking and said, "You're stupid. Why do you want to fight the company union? Why don't you try to get people elected on that committee and you expose them from the inside? That's what they call "boring from within." You've heard that term, I know. So that's exactly what we did. We got people from every division and had Burkhart, who was an open Communist, who never made any pretense at not being a Communist.

Schatz: He could do that without being fired?

Stasik: That's right. He was an open Communist. He'd get up and say, "I'm a member of the Communist Party and I'm proud of it." Where could you attack him?

Schatz: Did anybody else do that?

Stasik: No, no.

Schatz: No one else? Even though some of the others probably were also.

Stasik: I don't know. Maybe they were. But they never came out openly. But Burkhart came out openly, and people in that shop elected him.

Schatz: What section of the shop did he work in?

Stasik: He worked in the 'switch gear' division.

Schatz: Well, in Matles' book, he says he's a turbine inspector.

Stasik: Matles is wrong.

Schatz: What was his job?

Stasik: He was really a very good man. I think he's (Matles) wrong. He was in the 'switch gear' division. And the turbine was certainly in the 'generator' division, it would seem to me. I can't tell you specifically what his job was. But anyway, to get back to what I was talking about. Burkhart was elected. Bill Evan was elected in the Factory Service Division. That was a tool and die type of department. George Bush was elected from the 'switch gear' department. Frank Gazdik was elected from printing. Let's see, Burkhart, Evan, Gazdik, Bush. There was one other one.

Schatz: What division would it be?

Stasik: Let's see. There was 'switch gear.' That was Burkhart. Bill Evan was Factory Service. Printing was Gazdik. Generator was Bush. Let's see. Trafford?

Schatz: Metcalf?

Stasik: No. Metcalf didn't join until long later. Until he saw we were....

Schatz: Switch gear was Burkhart. Bush was generator, Gazdik was printing. Printing was a separate division?

Stasik: Right.

Schatz: Was that literally the print shop?

Stasik: They used to print forms and things like that.

Schatz: So he was a printer?

Stasik: Yes.

Schatz: And the other was...?

Stasik: Bill Evan in Factory Service.

Schatz: Does Factory Service include Maintenance as well as Tool and Die, like you know....?

Stasik: No, I think each division had its own maintenance department.

Schatz: But there's a central maintenance department there too, isn't there? You know, where they have the sheet metal workers and the carpenters and the electricians and the bricklayers and stuff?

Stasik: I think that in Factory Service you had departments. Yeah, I think so.

Schatz: Were those the main people who were the leaders of the union? Burkhart, Bush, Gazdik and Evan?

Stasik: Yes.

Schatz: Any others?

Stasik: Well, as far as I can remember, thinking backwards, when we first started.

Schatz: Yes, at the very earliest.

Stasik: At the very first, they were the leaders, I would say.

Schatz: Are there any others?

Stasik: Now there was a conservative element from 'switch gear'. A fellow by the name of Jackson. He wasn't a member of the company union, but he made his contribution to the union.

Schatz: Was that Walter Jackson?

Stasik: Yes.

Schatz: I've seen his name. How about Patty Welsh? (Note: Patrick J. Welsh is listed as Fin Secretary on union letterhead c. 1937)

Stasik: Patty Welsh. But he wasn't one of the very first.

Schatz: Where did he come from?

Stasik: Patty Welsh was from Factory Service. He was a tool and die maker.

Schatz: What about Mike Fitzpatrick?

Stasik: Mike Fitzpatrick was also from Factory Service, a tool and die maker. Tom Fitzpatrick was from 'generator'.

Schatz: Were Mike and Tom involved early on?

Stasik: You know, their names and faces don't come to me real early. A fellow by the name of Terry McKay certainly does. Now he was from 'generator.'

Schatz: Anybody else?

Stasik: A fellow by the name of Elmer Holzinger.

Schatz: Elmer Holzinger?

Stasik: Yes. And John Santen. S-A-N-T-E-N.

Schatz: And what did he do?

Stasik: John Santen was in the "I" Division. Now what did he do? It's so long ago..... That's 46 years ago. I was a young girl then. But these people were the ones that really started it.

Schatz: Where did Holzinger come from?

Stasik: He came from Factory Service. He's dead now.

Schatz: Was he a tool and die maker also?

Stasik: Yes. A great one.

Schatz: And then I interviewed a couple other people who I think were involved. Otto Yeager? Tool and die maker? No, he was a machinist in generators. And then I interviewed George Modran.

Stasik: Oh, you did? Did you meet George? Did you? Oh yes, he was an old timer.

Schatz: Was Modran involved with this group, too?

Stasik: Yes, you know, the thing is, you think of George. And I know George is loyal and what a fine person he is still, you know. But you see, they wanted.....They were good, they were supportive, but I can't say they were the kind that stood up and took a...... (tape end)


Stasik: Yes, George Modran. How did you ever find him?

Schatz: Uh, I haven't interviewed him yet, but I got the name from Montgomery, who in turn got it from Tom Quinn.

Stasik: Oh, he did?

Schatz: I've interviewed Modran, but I haven't interviewed Tom Quinn yet.

Stasik: You haven't?

Schatz: No, I haven't, but I will.

Stasik: Well, Tom isn't one of the first.....

Schatz: Speaking of this group as a whole, what ages were they back at that time? Or of any individual, what age would they have been?

Stasik: I would say, Bush was an older man, Gazdik I would say...He would right now be close to 70, so deduct. Patty Welsh is in his seventies. Holzinger died at an early age, but he wasn't....I would say, if he had lived, he would probably be close to seventy. Burkhart I think was older. Close to fifty at the time, maybe older.

Schatz: If we could, if any of these people you remember well, if we could take them one at a time, and you could tell me what you can about them? What kind of background they might have had, where they came from, had they been in a different union before, had they been active in the 1916 strike.

Stasik: Well, you see, what I would tell you wouldn't be too factual. I really don't know too much. I think that George Bush came from Turtle Creek and I think George was an old Socialist.

Schatz: He worked in 'generator'?

Stasik: He worked in 'generator.'

Schatz: Do you know what he did there by any chance?

Stasik: No, I really don't.

Schatz: And at that time, he would have been about 45 or 50 years old?

Stasik: Oh yes, maybe even older. Because he died some years ago.

Schatz: He was a supporter of the Socialist Party?

Stasik: I don't know. I have no way of knowing whether he supported the Socialistic Party. I think he was a registered Democrat. But at one time, you know, Turtle Creek had a Socialist mayor. As a matter of fact, a very dear friend of ours. As a matter of fact, Betty Nelson, who just lost her husband recently, her grandfather was a Cunningham, and he used to be Mayor of Turtle Creek. And as I understand it, he was (Socialist).

Schatz: Bush, I think, was active in local politics?

Stasik: Sure he was. A fellow by the name of Simpson. Oh, Bill Simpson! How could forget him? He was a white-collar worker and a Democrat. A staunch Democrat. Bill was a decent kind of guy. He was disjointed when he spoke, but a good person.

Schatz: Did he help you organize the union?

Stasik: Oh, yes he did!

Schatz: Even though he was a white-collar worker?

Stasik: Oh yes. Bill did. And he was very active in the Democratic party in the community. Bill was. Bill Simpson. William B. Simpson. (reference the same as William B. Simpson listed as President of Union c. 1937?) He died of a heart attack.

Schatz: How about Gazdik? Can you tell me anything about him?

Stasik: I don't know too much about Gazdik's family background. He was a bright man. Bright. He knew direction, but I think he had an exaggerated ego and really never understood the role of the company. You see, the company had been successful in defeating them in the attempt to organize. They thought, that the union, the way it was constructed, that if you took out the foundation, it would crumble. So what they did, is they took Burkhart and sent him on a troubleshooting job in Texas. And we wanted him to come back and they kept him away for a long time. Then they offered Frank Gazdik a job in Cleveland, with an advertising firm. Did you know about this?

Schatz: No.

Stasik: Well, I can remember telling him at the time, "Frank, I think you'd be making a mistake. I don't think you should accept the job." But he was bright. And he really felt that he merited this kind of a promotion. But it didn't last long. After they got him out of there, they fired him. Well, we were successful in bringing Burkhart back. And at the time, you see, people still had recollections of the strike in 1918 (1916?) and how the leaders sold out. And even if they didn't sell out, they had to have someone to lay the defeat on. They could never say, "Well, the company did this to us." They would always blame it on the workers. And Frank, after he left....He made his contribution while he was there. Darn good! He put out The Union Generator, the newspaper...

Schatz: Oh, did he?

Stasik: Yes he did. He started it.

Schatz: Where did his own house or?

Stasik: No, we did it through the union, but he was responsible for the contents, for getting it printed, for getting the advertisements from the business communities. Where we really had the businesses supporting that newspaper, we got enough money from the running of the ads to pay for the printing of the paper. I thought that was a valuable contribution. He did that. And also, did I mention his name? (reference is to either Ebling or Gazdik) He was a representative on the company union from the printing division. He was very vocal there and he wasn't afraid.

Schatz: How old was he at that time?

Stasik: He was young. I think he was in his late twenties or early thirties. But he wasn't as old as Burkhart. Ebling was not an older man. He was in his early thirties.

Schatz: What did Ebling do?

Stasik: Ebling was in Factory Service and he was a tool and die man.

Schatz: And had either of these people, Gazdik or Ebling ever been in a union before?

Stasik: Not that I know of?

Schatz: I called Ebling.

Stasik: You did?

Schatz: Yes. He didn't want to talk.

Stasik: He didn't? That's too bad. Bill Evan was a very quiet man. Had a lot on the ball. I think sometimes Bill didn't get....I don't think he was recognized for the ability he had. He was a good thinker. Very quiet. I think he was disappointed and disillusioned, after the defeat. After the split, you know, it was pretty ugly. And the people at the union shop, you know, during the McCarthy period. They took a lot of razzing from them. And I think Bill felt he was too old for that hassle. And I wouldn't condemn Bill. Because he made his contribution and did a lot. Maybe he wants to forget.

Schatz: I understand.

Stasik: You do Ron?

Schatz: Yes, I understand. Who else do we have here? How about Walter Jackson?

Stasik: I think Walter Jackson was a strict trade unionist. Very strict trade unionist. I think there were mistakes made within the union. There were mistakes made in that we allowed ourselves to fight on issues that really weren't worth the battle at the time.

Schatz: Like what?

Stasik: Well, I can just recall one instance. The question of Cardinal Mindszenty. Now if that wasn't stupid, you know! Now if that wasn't stupid and if that wasn't a plant by the FBI, and let's face it, we probably had FBI people in our ranks. I don't know where. Absolutely. You take people at their face value, you know. You don't know me and I don't know you. I think you're an honest human being and that's the way we felt. I didn't feel that there would be this dishonesty, this conniving, but it was there. And we were just too stupid to sift it out. And some locals that were considered conservative, you know, I think that they had more brains than we did. And they didn't allow themselves to get caught up in this bruha. Hell of a lot of difference it made to us whether Mindszenty was....What did that have to do with the price of milk? It meant nothing. But they felt as if, "oh boy, the world would come to an end.' As a result, you had people who might have supported us on other issues, that were important, who figured.....And then we didn't use our heads. For example, on the whole question of the war, and I remember my husband and I disagreed on this. It was a question of getting some money for an ambulance for the people over in Great Britain. They had taken an awful blast from the bombs falling on the cities. We opposed it. When I say 'we', I mean the so-called 'progressives', quotes! Now that was stupid. If you're for people!! There were kids and women and children who needed this. Why should we oppose it? It was wrong and we could have supported that. And won the good will with a lot of people who had sympathy for the British. Not only that, our own humanity should have told us to do it. Our own humanity should have told us.

Schatz: Well, what made you do differently?

Stasik: Well, after all, it was an Imperialist war, so-called. The people? What the hell difference did it make? They were being bombed! I can see it now, but it takes a long time some time. You know, I'm sort of thick. But you know, you ask about mistakes? That was another one. And then June 21st! June 21st, to the exact day!! Then we change our mind! Because Hitler invaded Russia. Now nothing can change that quick! But certainly what was happening in Germany, what was happening to the Jews in Germany, what was happening to the trade unionists in Germany, was cause for us as trade unionists to be concerned. What did we care whether Hitler had signed a non-aggression pact with Stalin? That was their business! Our business was to be on the side of our brothers, no matter where they were.

Schatz: Well, how would a decision like that get made? Would some of the Communist members of the Union try to organize a caucus or ?

Stasik: I think so. They did many things. I think had we listened to Jackson......

Schatz: How was his view point different?

Stasik: Well, his view point, for example on the question of aid to the children of the British. What do you do when you fight? You antagonize a guy like Jackson, who was really an honest man. So is that wise? It isn't. You have to choose where to do battle, and I don't think we always chose the right things to do battle on. Now, hindsight is always......

Schatz: Was there anyone else in that conservative group beside Jackson?

Stasik: Jackson is the one that sticks to my mind, because I think he was a decent kind of guy. You had good people. You had fellows like Earl Gongawere. He was a darn good guy. Bill Harper was what you would you would call conservative union. Bill Harper.

Schatz: Where did he work?

Stasik: Bill? Earl Gongawere was in Motor Division. Bill Harper? Don't quote me on this. I think he was in 'switch gear', I'm not sure. There's a question mark in my mind. Phil Conahan.

Schatz: Was he also from 'switch gear'?

Stasik: Phil was in Motor Division. He was a good trade unionist. I would call him conservative. But a good unionist. But you know, when the UE lost, in spite of it, we lost by a very small margin, and you had everything against you.

Schatz: It was a hair's breadth.

Stasik: Right. You had the church, the government, everything. Just everything. But the union did a good job of it. It still is a darn good union.

Schatz: Was there any difference on other questions between this more conservative unionists and aggressive unionists, other than foreign policy questions?

Stasik: No, I think primarily it was foreign policy questions. Yes, foreign policy.

Schatz: But in terms of say, your practice as a unionist? Inside the shop, handling grievances, women's issues, would there be any difference?

Stasik: No. No. I think we would have gotten support from all segments. I think we had a group of darn good trade unionists there. We really did. People that maybe couldn't agree with you on issues of foreign policy. Some of them that wouldn't stick their neck out on certain things, you know. But you can understand that. They had probably seen defeat, were frightened by it, and therefore in their heart.....I had a man come to me, and they'd say, "Gee whiz, Peg, I used to wear my union button." I'd say, "You have more guts than brains." And it was that if they'd see you come, we'd cross the street, because we felt ashamed that we didn't have the guts to join the union. And I thought, "Well, if you wear your union button, if you speak on street corners and they see that you're still holding down a job, maybe this will.....You felt that you had to do it. Your conscience made you do. We've come a long .....But I don't know now. (indecipherable) But we made mistakes. And you know if you 'do' something, you're not going to do it right all the time. (indecipherable) If I had to do it over again, I'd do it all over. Or just think, you wouldn't be here seeing me!

Schatz: You had faction fighting from the earliest days in the union, didn't you?

Stasik: Well, no, no. I don't think so. I was elected by acclamation for three years. There was no factionalism.

Schatz: But now I read, I think, in those papers you gave to the library, that by the time they had brought in Charlie Newell as Business Agent, there was a lot of factionalism within the union. That's why they brought him in from outside.

Stasik: No. No.

Schatz: That's wrong?

Stasik: That isn't right. I don't think so. My feeling is, you know, you had to have Charlie Newell there. He was one of the best teachers that I ever had. I didn't know a darn thing about caucus or......You had to have business management, really. And what happened was that Julius Emspak came in. Emspak came in and they looked the situation over. Now we had in our files, the majority of the people...a good segment of the people in the shop. And I think that they realized that they needed someone there that could coordinate the whole thing. I was the only officer on the payroll, outside. So they recommended that a business agent come in. Charlie Newell came and it was after that period of time that the union began to grow numerically, grow financially. It had some direction. And I think then you began to get the opposition.

Schatz: Now you had, as I understand it, a terrific growth in 1936. Then when the recession came in late '37 and 1938, the union really went way down hill and fell to about 900 members, according to the records that I read. And that was the crisis that they brought Newell in for.

Stasik: Oh, to protect the......Probably.

Schatz: It wasn't handling grievances. People had quit as stewards. There were very few stewards.

Stasik: Yeah, we went through a period. I don't know the exact date, but I can remember where everything was on a voluntary basis. You know, you can stumble along. But there was no recognition, there was no negotiations with the company. There was really nothing. Then when Charlie came, things really began to change. The man had direction. He had a good mind, and knew how to......

Schatz: Now when factionalism began there, I guess it occurred. They forced Logan Burkhart to resign, didn't they, as Vice-President of the Local, in 1940, because he circulated election petitions?

Stasik: Oh, yes. The Communist petitions. I can remember. Yes. Yes. And he lost his job. He lost his job. Now who in the union....? It was at the beginning. Do you remember? There was a period when there was a real 'Red Scare' during the Roosevelt administration.

Schatz: Right. In about '39 or so. Is that correct?

Stasik: I think it was then that Burkhart was forced out. During that. While he was one of the ones for the Communist Party. And Burkhart was threatened with jail. That's the reason that they dismissed him. There was a lot of...... It was sort of a divided support for and against him. A fellow by the name of Joe Barron was working . He was thrown out. He was fired from Westinghouse. It was a bad period of time. Now that was before ______. I'll always remember Joe Barron. He was a kind man.

Schatz: Where was the conservative element at that time? Where was it based in the shop?

Stasik: Where was it based? Why, I think it was Motor Division. You know it's strange. That was one of the most underpaid divisions and yet one of the most conservative. In Factory Service, 'switch gear', and 'generator' you had a good, strong coordinate. Good people. But you see, the whole question of Communism is a very frightful one. Even today, in this so-called period of enlightenment. And let's face it. What's happening tonight, because of what the man believes? (reference to ??) I think it's frightening. And let's face it. This is the issue. You remember in _____ "Untold Story".......what's? (tape end)