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I think that this was a period when they were afraid to take on
George Meany. Meany made this a very, very strong thing. I
remember at one of the conventions in California--I think it was in San
Francisco--where this issue came up. Emil Mazey had the guts to bring
it up on the floor, and there were people in the balcony, and there
were people in the balcony.
This came up at an AFL-CIO convention?
At an AFL-CIO convention. Of course, the resolution is on
Because this must have been right before the UAW left the AFL-
CIO, which was right about '67.
They were still in, because Emil Mazey agreed to take the thing
on, Frank Rosenblum got up on the floor. I don't remember which
people there were. We were working with behind the scenes; they
were running around like crazy to see who was going to speak. We
knew we couldn't carry a resolution or anything, but we wanted a
show to get covered, and we got covered in that thing. It required a
tremendous amount of courage.
Why was Meany so steadfast on this issue, and why were people so
wont to follow him and so afraid to challenge him?
It was the anti-communist thing. Meany was wild on anti-
communism, and Meany made some vicious remarks about the draft
dodgers and the draft card burners, and the longhairs, at that
convention, and attacks on the people who spoke against it. They
could run those things right through.
But you did have some success in organizing and winning a
measure of support among a lot of unions.
We did what we could. It's hard, in retrospect, to say how
effective we were. It was like we felt we had to do something. We just
couldn't sit around and do nothing, and we also felt that we had to do
something beyond our own union. It would be easy to retreat in your
own union, but we wanted to do it with others, too, and to make our
way felt. Interestingly enough, the contacts that I developed in this
movement, in the peace movement, proved very, very valuable later
on. It increased my network inside the labor movement. Also, it made
me known. The contacts that I made proved to be very, very helpful
later on, for the union, as we moved around the country and
organizing. I remember my relationship with Russ Gibbons began. I
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