Alex Bay Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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RACHEL BERNSTEIN: -- start again. Good morning.

ALEX BAY: Good morning.

BERNSTEIN: Its Rachel Bernstein. And you are?

BAY: Im Alex Bay.

BERNSTEIN: So if you dont mind, well start at the beginning. Tell me when you were born, and where, and what you know about what your folks were doing around that era.

BAY: I was born in, uh, 1938, and my parents were both, uh, immigrants from Greece. My father came over about 1905, at a young age -- 15 or 16, he didnt remember. And, um, my mother came, uh, several years later. She came over in, uh, 1919. And my grandparents, um, were also -- immigrated from Greece.

BERNSTEIN: They came after their children, or before?


BAY: Well, my grandfather, uh, came first, and, um, then my grandmother followed, seven or eight years later. My mother was seven years old when she came to this country. So, uh, he came here, found employment, and then sent for her.

BERNSTEIN: And where did they first -- do you know where they came to?

BAY: They came to, uh, Kansas City.

BERNSTEIN: Directly?

BAY: By way of Chicago. And, uh -- which was an interesting story in itself. Of course, they didnt speak the language. They came in and my father, Im speaking of, came in at Ellis Island. And, uh, they just put a name tag on him, and, uh, there were other, uh, immigrants there that guided him to the train station to go to Kansas City. So they knew he was going to Kansas City. Well, he didnt know how far Kansas City was. So every time the train stopped, hed want to get up and think he was there. And, uh, of course it made many stops 00:02:00between New York and, and, Chicago. He had, uh, friends and relatives in Chicago that were supposed to meet him at the terminal in Chicago when he got there. So that was his first stop. Uh, but when he got off, there was no one there to meet him. So they told him not to leave -- just stay there. Others that had -- were passing through. Because he was, you know, um, didnt know what to do. You know, he was in the terminal. So he was in the terminal for several days, two or three days, before -

BERNSTEIN: Goodness.

BAY: -- uh, his cousin, one of his relatives, showed up. And they didnt -- they thought he was due that day; they didnt know. But he said while he was there, all the other people that were meeting others made sure he had food and, and gave him encouragement, and said -- asked him his name, and tried to, uh, find out where he was.

BERNSTEIN: So, and these were mostly, uh, Greek immigrants? There were enough --

BAY: Greeks, yes.


BERNSTEIN: -- Greek immigrants to keep him, uh...

BAY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: -- to take care of him on the road, even though he was -- yeah.

BAY: To see that, and to give him, you know, encouragement to stick around, dont leave. Well, he finally, uh, hooked up with his relatives, and, uh, then they decided that he should go to Kansas City. Uh, and we had -- he had friends there and relatives there from the village that there is in Greece where he came from.

BERNSTEIN: And do you know what village?

BAY: Kandila, on the Peloponnese. Uh, its a little village. The word kandila means candle in Greek.


BAY: Because this was -- this village was right in the valley, and it was surrounded by mountains, and there was only one way in and one way out. And, uh, and I was fortunate enough to be able to visit that village in 1962. Im sorry, 63. But, um, he, um, as so many other immigrants, went to work in the 00:04:00packing houses.

BERNSTEIN: So he was in Chicago just a very short while and got put back on the train.

BAY: Put back on the train to Kansas City.

BERNSTEIN: With the label for Kansas City.

BAY: Right. And others met him there and --

BERNSTEIN: And was his name Bay at the time? Do you know the --

BAY: No, his name was Belsiotis.

BERNSTEIN: Bel -- and how do you spell that?


BERNSTEIN: Belsiotis.

BAY: And after my visit to Greece, my cousin, uh, informed me that our real name was Kosmas. K-O-S-M-A-S. But my father was born in the village of Belis --


BAY: -- and that village was destroyed by earthquake, so they moved to Kandila. 00:05:00So they called them the people from Belis. And the name Belsiotes, you know, stuck. So thats the name that he took.


BAY: And, uh, we had other cousins, you know, that -- whose names were Belsiotes, and that was the reason, they were from the village of Belis that was destroyed.

BERNSTEIN: That was destroyed by an earthquake. In the, like, late 19th century? Early 20th?

BAY: Yeah, it had to be, uh --


BAY: -- because his father, you know, came to that village.


BAY: He came there --


BAY: -- and he was, you know.

BERNSTEIN: Thats so interesting. So hes -- he gets the name Bay when he lands in this country?

BAY: Well, uh, he, uh -- he went to work for the railroad. Now, that was his first job. And then what --

BERNSTEIN: This is your --

BAY: My father.

BERNSTEIN: -- father. When he first gets to Kansas City?

BAY: Right. He went to work for the railroad. And, uh, he was the one that carried the water, did all the errands, because he wasnt -- didnt know the work or anything. Thats why they started him as a water boy. So they say, 00:06:00well, here comes Mike Billy-shittas. And theyd all start laughing, and hed laugh. And he didnt know what they were laughing, but he thought, you know. So when he found out what they were doing to him (laughter), that they were calling him, you know, Mike-billy-you-know-what, uh, he decided he was going to change his name. He wasnt going to live with that kind of stigma. So at that time, you could change your name easily.


BAY: And, uh, so he changed it to Bay. He figured nobodys going to be able to make a mistake with that. Well, little did he know that if you spell it wrong that you become Turkish, because B-E-Y is a Turkish name. (laughter) So that became an issue. Now, you had to be --

BERNSTEIN: Thats -- thats almost as big a danger as the other. (laughter)

BAY: Yeah. (laughter) Oh, much, much worse.

BERNSTEIN: Much worse.

BAY: So thats how we got the name Bay. And my mothers maiden name was Kanakares.

BERNSTEIN: Can we spell that too?


BAY: K-A-N-A-K-A-R-E-S. (pause)


BAY: And, uh, he was from the same, uh, village as my father.

BERNSTEIN: They both came from, uh --

BAY: From Belis and went to Kandila.

BERNSTEIN: They both in the, village that was destroyed by the earthquake --

BAY: Well, right, and they --

BERNSTEIN: -- and then they both went to Kandila.

BAY: But then they separated, because he was actually -- he actually moved to another village, his family did, called Levili. Which was just a few miles away, a few kilometers away. And thats where my grandmother -- he met my grandmother, in this other village.


BAY: So. They used to tease one another; my father used to -- used to pick on my grandfather a lot, and, uh, hed say, uh, your village never had any water. Because they had springs from the mountains in, in his village, 00:08:00Kandila. And he says, It was so bad in your village that the frogs would turn yellow. Because they didnt have any water. (laughter) That was -- that was something that -- it just irritated --

BERNSTEIN: That was an, an insult?

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: So he -- he gets to Kansas City, hes working on the railroad -- he meets your mother early on? Is that what you started --?

BAY: No. Uh, my -- of course, my, my grandfather came shortly after my father, over there. And, you know, they became reacquainted, of course. And we had a little -- a community. Everybody lived in little communities. You know, we had a little Greek community where the church was the center of activity. And we had, you know, the Irish had their little communities, and the Polish --

BERNSTEIN: In Kansas City?

BAY: Yes, in Kansas City, Kansas.

BERNSTEIN: In lots of places -- oh, there are two.

BAY: Yeah. And then they were just, you know, they were clustered in the Kansas City, Kansas area, all around the railroads and the packing houses. An thats 00:09:00where everybody found employment. And, uh, uh, of course, the railroads in the early 1900s were really, you know, the growth thing. And the packing houses moved in. And, you know, everybody worked there, mostly, all the immigrants had worked in one place or another. And thats what kept them going, until, uh, my mother worked, uh, in the packing house until 1951, when we had a big flood in Kansas City, and we lost everything in that flood.

BERNSTEIN: So what were they each doing when you were born? Around 1938?

BAY: 1938? Um --

BERNSTEIN: Were you the first kid?

BAY: Yes. I have a twin brother. Uh, were not identical. And thats it. Its just the two of us. Uh, my mother was working at the packing house. My father, uh, had found other employment with a manufacturing company that made, 00:10:00uh, bottlecaps for milk bottles. At the time we used to get milk in glass bottles.


BAY: And, uh, my grandfather was working for, um, a rendering company that rendered carcasses from the --

BERNSTEIN: From the packing houses there.

BAY: -- packing houses, which was adjacent to the packing houses. So pretty heavy, hard work. Um, and that was, uh -- and of course the war came along, you know, in the 40s. And, uh, my mother -- of course, everybody was on a huge, I mean, around the clock schedule. And they -- they would leave in the dark and come home in the dark. And really, the only time wed have together would be, like, on a Sunday. Because they worked almost seven days a week most of the time.

BERNSTEIN: Both your mother and your father.

BAY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And so who took care of you?

BAY: My grandmother. She was -- she stayed at home. Uh, she couldnt speak English, so it was a matter of survival, we spoke Greek. And we lived in a 00:11:00Mexican neighborhood which was adjacent to us. And we -- at that time, as kids, we were fluent in Greek and Spanish. So, uh, when we went to school, we couldnt speak English. Very little English. Went to grade school. So my grandmother really raised us, because everybody was --

BERNSTEIN: Was working nonstop.

BAY: -- was working, yeah, nonstop.

BERNSTEIN: During the war.

BAY: During the war. And, uh, I can remember, uh, you know... the, uh, kids that went to war from the community would always stop by and, you know, say goodbye. Because they didnt know if they were coming back. They were scared to death. I remember the Pappas family had, uh, three boys that went to war, and fortunately all came back. And, um -- so the wartime was pretty tough, because there was a lot of sacrifices. You had a lot of rationing going on with fuel and food and sugar and chocolate and rubber, and you couldnt get a lot of things. 00:12:00But we managed to, uh, survive through it. And, uh, my father was a carpenter, just, I guess, by natural. Because he -- he would buy these -- buy a little house, and, uh, rebuild it in his spare time. Which was (laughter) not very much spare time, but -- so hed -- we had three little houses -- one big house and two little houses. And he was -- that was his nest egg. But when the flood came along in 1951, we lost it all.


BAY: So...

BERNSTEIN: No insurance?

BAY: No. Nobody had flood insurance then.

BERNSTEIN: That must have been devastating.

BAY: Yeah, it was. Because he was, uh -- my father was, uh, very much older than my mother. He was at least thirty years older than my mother. And that was kind of the way things went, you know. The old-timers would get established before 00:13:00theyd, you know, marry, and, um, theyd have -- well, theyd be able to afford a family and so forth. That was --


BAY: -- and a lot of marriages were kind of arranged.

(indistinct shouting in background)

BERNSTEIN: Do you think theirs was? Do you know what, let me just close this door. Because its -- this is --

BAY: Yeah, its getting a little louder.



BAY: Well, uh --

BERNSTEIN: In your childhood, did you learn about unions?

BAY: Oh yeah.

BERNSTEIN: From anybody in your family or community?

BAY: Yes. Um, both parents, but, uh, my mother mostly, because she worked in the packing house. And, uh, at that time, uh, they were all on piece work, and there wasnt a union. So, uh, she worked in the pork trim, where they trimmed the hams. And piece work, of course, you get paid by the number of pieces that you 00:14:00produce all day. So at night, we would, uh, in order to save her time, we would, uh -- she would ask -- have us, my brother and I, tear up the grocery sacks, the brown grocery sacks, tear them into strips, and put her number, which was 535, in black crayon. And we would make, you know, dozens of those stacks so that she didnt have to take the time to write it.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, because she had to label each of her pieces.

BAY: Every piece had to --

BERNSTEIN: Of her done pieces.

BAY: -- she had to stick it on.

BERNSTEIN: And if she had to do that during the day it would have taken extra...

BAY: Yeah. And thats what she got credit for at the end of the day.


BAY: So, you know, we did that, and then I remember, uh, when the unions, uh, packing house unions started to, uh, organize, and there was a lot of excitement. I didnt, you know, recall too much of it, but, I mean, I just remember the talk that went on, and that, uh, she joined a union. And things got 00:15:00much better.

BERNSTEIN: They did.

BAY: Yeah. They, uh -- of course they had problems along the way, but they were all -- all pleased, because they had at least some, you know, control over their work environment and safety. Because the packing houses were a very dangerous place to work.

BERNSTEIN: Infamous.

BAY: I mean, there were -- there were no safety rules.


BAY: And, uh -- uh, and that was the other thing. Uh, my father would sharpen her knives at night, because she had these fillet knives, you know; when they trimmed the pork, you had to have a sharp knife.


BAY: You got a dull knife, youre not going to get much work done. But those things would come down the line, and, you know, youd be working as fast as you could, and, you know, people would come by. I mean, people lost hands and, you know, fingers, and --

BERNSTEIN: Huge numbers of injuries.

BAY: Yeah. Serious accidents, you know.

BERNSTEIN: Now, how come you can visualize it? Did your -- did you ever visit? I mean, it sounds like you know what it looks like exactly.

BAY: Yeah, you know, now that you mention it --

BERNSTEIN: -- just from your description.


BAY: Yeah, I did visit. You know, we did visit. And, uh, uh, because, uh, you know, we were interested. And my mother did take us there, as very small -- when we were very young, during the war and shortly thereafter. Yeah. Strange that you asked that, but it, uh -- the, uh -- most of the Greeks in that community worked in the packing houses. We had Swifts, Cudahys, and Armours. And then there were some local packers, like Wilsons. But they were big in the Kansas City area. And even today -- not so much today, but in recent years, I would see some of the old-timers that worked in the packing houses, and they would always comment about how my mother was the best person they ever had.


BAY: On the pork trim line. I mean, because they -- they had supervisory 00:17:00positions, and they were amazed at how fast she could work and how good she worked. And they always -- they always commented about that, so you know that she did -- that she was good at it.


BAY: And they also used to exchange food. They, uh -- because she used to come home with, uh, with these burritos, and shed take Greek food there, and, uh, they would swap foods --

BERNSTEIN: Theyd switch.

BAY: Yeah. And it was, uh, it was quite an ethnic blend there. Different foods and different people.

BERNSTEIN: And did you -- did the family participate in union activities after the union came in? When its --

BAY: My mother, of course, would go to meetings.


BAY: She never was an activist, but shed go to meetings. And, uh, she stayed pretty much informed on wht -- what went on, because, because, you know, it was her livelihood, and, you know, her welfare was -- and, uh -- I know that they were really proud of the union. Happy the union was there.


BERNSTEIN: And the plant your father was in?

BAY: It was -- it was not a union plant. Uh, it was privately owned. Uh, it wasnt a big facility. But he worked there, uh, until, I mean, he had a severe heart attack, and then he finally had to retire. And my brother actually went to work there too.

BERNSTEIN: In the same plant.

BAY: Yeah. Later on, you know.


BAY: So they -- they -- we would go to work together. Thats when I went into the service. My brother stayed home, and, uh --

BERNSTEIN: So you went to high school in Kansas City.

BAY: Yes. I went to, uh, high school at the Central High School in Kansas City. And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: And you almost finished?

BAY: Yes, almost. I thought I had enough credits, but I was a half-credit short, because I had taken typing, and they only gave you a half a credit, not a full credit, for typing. So when I left in April of 1956, which was just two months before graduation, uh, I -- uh, I discovered later that I didnt have enough 00:19:00credits to graduate, because of the way they computed the different classes. So, you know, uh, I later got it -- got my GED while I was in the service.

BERNSTEIN: But you left before the end of the year because you were anxious to get out of there? Or --

BAY: (Chuckles) Well, uh, we had reasons for leaving. I had a friend, who just recently passed, that, uh -- uh, got into trouble. And, uh, he was, uh -- they were threatening to put him into Boys Town somewhere. So, uh, we were pretty close, my brother and he and I and a few others. And we -- we got separated in school, because, uh, I guess we, um, we were kind of problematic. I wasnt allowed to go to the same school with my brother, and he wasnt allowed to go 00:20:00to the same school with either one of us.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: So we got three different schools. And, uh, and then, uh, uh, he got into trouble before doing some -- I dont even know what his trouble was, but his father came to me and wanted to know if -- if I would go with him in the service to keep him from, you know, going to Boys Town or wherever they were going to, some Boonville or whatever was the place for bad boys. So I talked to my father and, uh -- and I was really -- uh, I had joined the Reserves, the Marine Corps Reserves, the fall before. Just interested in it. And, uh, so I was going to Reserve meetings, and, uh, in Olathe, Kansas, which was nearby. And, uh, so I -- I had talked to my father about just going from active as of, you know, I dont know what -- what Im going to do anyway. And, you know, I worked in 00:21:00-- I threw papers all through high school. That was my first job after the flood, and I worked at the grocery store on the weekends. So, uh, you know, I just needed to get an education, and wed lost everything and, and knew we couldnt afford it. And my father was up in -- in years. He was about -- he was 67 years old then. And here I was, 17. And I knew it was, uh -- you know, it was heartbreaking for him, because, you know, he had nothing. (pause)


BERNSTEIN: Youve had a hard life, I think. Your father. (pause) Do you think he dreamed of an edu--providing you with an education? Before the flood came and took that?

BAY: Yeah. (pause) So, uh.

BERNSTEIN: So this seemed like a good -- the best thing -- the best thing to do at the time, in a way.

BAY: He, uh -- he had to sign --

BERNSTEIN: To let you go. Because you were under--underage, yeah.

BAY: To let me go. So he -- so he met the wrath of my mother.


BAY: You know, who said that, uh, you know, uh, if youre -- you cant let that boy go like that. What if he gets killed? What if this happens? And, uh -- so I knew it was tough on him to do that. But he -- he knew.

BERNSTEIN: Did -- what did he say to you?


BAY: Well, he just said to me that, uh, uh, he wants me to do what I think I need to do, and not to worry. That, uh, he would always be there, and he would take care of my mother, and dont worry about that -- hed, uh, deal with that. And, you know, just stay in touch, and, uh, dont get any tattoos. And, heh... (laughter) And dont gamble. That was his instructions to me. So, um, we, uh -- we, uh -- on that note, we signed up for the Marine Corps.

BERNSTEIN: The two of you. Your friend and --

BAY: The two of us. My buddy Bill [Wilsey?] and, uh, and I, and, uh, we had a 00:24:00night out on the town. And got in trouble again, and landed in the in the jug.

BERNSTEIN: What did you do?

BAY: I dont know. We -- I had a 49 Ford convertible, and for some reason, we were driving through -- we, we had a few beers, and -- more than we should have. And in Kansas you could drink when youre 18; in Missouri you had to be 21, so everybodyd run across state lines, to Kansas City, Kansas -- Kansas City, Missouri, just a street that separated us. And you could -- you could get your beer there. But on -- on our way back, uh, there was a school stop sign, and I had a convertible, and we had the top down -- this was in April. And my buddy Bill decided to -- we needed that stop sign, and so he put the stop sign in the back of the car. And we forgot about it. So were driving around, uh, and we were speeding, and the police came after us. So we thought we could get 00:25:00-- ditch them, and we went into a neighborhood, and, uh, pulled into a driveway, and we thought, well, if we dont see this guy, you know, hes not going to find us. But we, uh -- we left the lights on, the headlights on on our car.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: So he drove right up behind us. And were wondering, How did this guy find us? You know. (laughter) And then I said -- we said, you know, How did you know we were here? He said, You dummies, you left your headlights on. I could see your lights going there. So -- anyway, off we go. And, uh, then my poor father had to come bail us out the next day with the recruiting sergeant. And, uh, he gave us both, uh, $20 bills. And they took us from jail to the airport, put us on an airplane, and put him in charge of me. That was just, 00:26:00you know, the buddy system. So we were off to San Diego, flying on TWA, the hometown airline. And that -- I think it must have made -- oh, it just, it stopped everywhere.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, really?

BAY: Wichita, Tulsa, Oak City, Amarillo, and the one stop that I remember was Las Vegas. And, uh -- which was just in -- it was a very small airport at that time. So I said, Well, we better get something to eat, Bill. Lets go in and get a hot dog. So we -- we had time, and we went in and got a hot dog, and they gave us 20 silver dollars back. I mean, 19 silver dollars back. Now, you know, these dollars are heavy.


BAY: Right? So that was my -- my first memory of Las Vegas, and then we went on to San Diego. And, uh, made our call. I made the call and told them we were 00:27:00there. Some very gruff-speaking person told us to get our butts out there and theyd be there to get us. So I told my buddy Bill, I said, you know, I think we made a mistake here. I think we ought to just -- we want to go to Mexico or somewhere, because I dont know if were going to like this. I said, this guy was not nice on the phone. And Bill said, oh, Alex, you know, what are you making those stories up for? I said, Im telling you, Bill, were looking for a heap of trouble here. So here comes this little pickup, in this army green, and this guy jumps out of the truck when Bill was smoking a cigarette. He had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth -- slapped that cigarette in his face, grabbed him by the seat of his pants, and threw him in the back of that pickup. And he looks at me, and I was in there. (laughter) And thats how I started.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) Oh, dear.

BAY: Yup. So that was a big -- great experience.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: (laughter)


BERNSTEIN: So you all made it through boot camp together?

BAY: We did. Uh, it was -- it was, uh -- it was a challenge, but we made it. And, uh, wewent on, and, uh, Bill went to -- I went through to avionics school, and Bill went to hydraulics. And so we separated then. He -- we both went to Memphis for schooling, and then, uh, he stayed there and I went on to North Carolina -- to Cherry Point, North Carolina. And I was attached to, uh, a Marine, uh, squadron. All-weather squadron. We flew all-weather jets. Jamming radar and that sort of thing.

BERNSTEIN: And so you were fixing the jets?

BAY: I was in the air wing, actually, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: What did you actually --?


BAY: I worked on the avionics, on the electronics. And that was my trade. My M.O.S., as they called it.

BERNSTEIN: And so you stayed there in South Carolina.

BAY: No, that -- that was short.

BERNSTEIN: To do that? Or you traveled with --

BAY: We had a base there --

BERNSTEIN: Your squadron.

BAY: -- we were -- no, our squadron was based there.


BAY: And, uh, um, I took some bad advice and, uh, from a friend of mine that was there, and he says Theyre not going to -- uh, take a couple of weeks off. Nobody finds out what you do around here. Just come on. Well go play down at the beach. So, foolishly, I did that. When I got back and checked in, you know, the sergeant there at the electronics shop says, So, youre Private Bay. I said, Yes, sir. Whereve you been? Oh, Ive -- Ive been here. Youve been where? (laughter) So he says, You 00:30:00know, we got some things you need to do first before you get to actually doing your trade work. He said, The mess hall needs some help. And after that, well probably need some guard duty. So I spent ninety days on mess duty, thirty days on guard duty, and this was between August and December. And, uh, I went to him in December and asked if I could go home and leave, you know, because my father was ill. You know, he says, You cant do that. Youve got to do your guard duty. So I said, OK. So I did my guard duty, went back to -- finally got through with all of that nonsense, and went to the shop, and he called me and -- and he said, uh, said, I didnt know that your 00:31:00father was really that ill. And he said, Ill make it up to you if you -- uh, he says, Im sorry about that. He says, If you want to, people have been waiting for years to go to Japan. If you want to go to Japan, he says, Ill let you go to Japan. Weve got a person we need to send there, to Iwakuni, Japan. I said, Put me on the boat. So, I went home on leave, and I visited with my family, and I shipped out for Japan on the troop shift, which was another experience.


BAY: I was fortunate I didnt get sick, but a lot of them did, so. But, uh, it took us 21 days to get there. And the Marines always go in the hole. You know...


BAY: Thats the least comfortable place. Hardly any ventilation, and stacked 00:32:00four and five high on these little cots. But, so I got to Japan, and, uh, which was a great experience.

BERNSTEIN: How long were you there?

BAY: I was there about 14 months. And, uh, I didnt -- they didnt want you to get too happy there, so they wanted us, tried to make you go back, they didnt want you to stay. Because you do enjoy it there, its -- it was quite a -- quite a nice -- it was good duty. And, uh...

BERNSTEIN: You live on the base, but you spent time in...

BAY: You had liberty, yeah. And, uh, uh, so -- and it was a wide open at that time, you know, it was crazy, it really was. So we had a good time, and I spent my 19th birthday in Hong Kong. For, uh -- they sent us from Japan to Hong Kong 00:33:00for R&R, and it was all R&R in Japan. But, uh, if you wanted to go, you could go on one of those military HOPS and spend three days in Hong Kong, then come back. And then I came back, all the way back to North Carolina again. And thats where I finished up. And, uh, while I was home on leave, I, uh, met my wife, who I hadn't seen since she was, what, four or five years old, shed grown up a lot.

BERNSTEIN: Shed grown up in Kansas City also?

BAY: Yeah, she was Greek and also part of the Gre- part of the church we went to in Kansas. And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: So howd you meet again?

BAY: Well, I was on leave from Japan, and then there was a function, I dont think it was a wedding, but some kind of a church social. And, uh, so I went. 00:34:00And, my family, we went. And, uh, and I saw her, you know? Very stunning, very beautiful. And I ah, I didnt remember her, who she was, and then, you know, and she -- we got introduced somehow. And we went out with a bunch of other kids and had some barbecue or something afterwards together. And I asked her out, and we dated, and decided that we had a lot in common, and so I -- we wrote to one another, and I had about six months left to do. And I got out, and we spent a lot of time together.

BERNSTEIN: She was still there?

BAY: Decided, you know, this was the right thing to do. And weve been married 00:35:00for almost 51 years now. So it was the right thing.

BERNSTEIN: Thats impressive. So you came back and you already had a girlfriend, but you didnt have a job, howd you find a job?

BAY: Well, when I came back, uh, I was, uh, really wanted to take time off and just loaf for the summer. And I thought, a couple of days, oh, Ill go down to the airport and see if anybodys hiring. I really got tired of loafing already.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) A couple of days of loafing?

BAY: Yeah. (laughter) And I knew that I wanted to go to work for an airline because of my avionics background, and working with aircraft in the service. And, uh, so I went to the airport, and, of course, the biggest, uh, carrier in Kansas City, the hometown airline, was TWA. And I thought, well, Ill just stop there and see whats going on. And they were at the old airport there. 00:36:00And I went in there, and, uh, and they were -- they were very interested, and I filled out the application, and they made some calls, and, uh, they said wed like for you to go to work tomorrow. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: I said, oh no, I can't go to work tomorrow. Well, we need you there. They says, you know, these jobs are pretty hard to come by, and, uh, you know, which they really weren't, but they had a quota they wanted to meet, you know, and fill. So, uh, I says, oh, uh, how about Monday? You know, this was a Thursday, or maybe a Friday. He says OK, but well -- you be sure that you report there. I said OK. So I did that following Monday. And they said I was going to be -- I had wanted to work on the line, that was -- and they said yeah, you can do that, the flight line. And that was the beginning of my...

BERNSTEIN: Whats a flight line?


BAY: The flight line was like at the airport.


BAY: Where you worked outside, and did the maintenance work on the airplanes. You know --

BERNSTEIN: And thats what you wanted to do?

BAY: Thats what I wanted to do. I did not want to be inside a -- in a workshop.

BERNSTEIN: Ah, I see. You wanted to be out there working on the planes --

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: -- as opposed to inside working on them?

BAY: Yeah, yeah. You know, and, cuz they said that there were several openings, there was the radio shop, the instrument shop, the hangar, and I didnt know anything about the hangar. And this was the overhaul, so -- in Kansas City. So they said do you want to -- you know, I thought they was giving me a choice, but it wasnt that way. They were saying that they would put me in one of those places. So when I get there, they stick me in the instrument shop. And this is, like, sterile. I mean, you know, they do, you know, work on all of the instruments on the aircrafts. And, uh, you know, I complained to the 00:38:00supervisor, I said, I wouldnt -- I didnt want to be here, I was -- they told me I could be on the line. Well, this is the way it is, you know, either come to work here, and work here, and this is where you're going to work. And I said OK. And, uh, they said you can -- if you dont like it, you know, you can go somewhere else. I thought wow, these people are really nice. So, here I am working there, and my lead mechanic, he knew I was very unhappy. And, uh, I said look, how do I get out of here? And isn't there some way I can move, or transfer, I mean, this is a big company, theyve got all of these other things, why can't I go down? Youve got to get your probation in. You get your probation in, he says, and then you can -- and then you can bid, but he says, its hard to get out of these places, because they had what they called the Qualifications Committee, two union, two company, and one chairman, hes the 00:39:00company, and they decide whether you can move or not. So, I was wanting to move as soon as I got there, and I, uh, put in for the transfers. And, uh, when you do that, you get on the list. So then they started, you know --

BERNSTEIN: Looking at you.

BAY: Yeah, everything, which, you know, I knew my job. My lead, I had a good lead, I was very lucky he looked out after me, and, uh, made sure I knew what to do.

BERNSTEIN: Hes the one who taught you in the first place?

BAY: Yeah. We had what they called colonies, they were ten people. We had two rows of benches. And it looked like a watchmakers, uh, you know?


BAY: Because thats -- we worked on the instruments.


BAY: And it had to be clean, and sterile, and everything. So, the lead was in 00:40:00charge of this colony which had ten people, it mustve had 20 colonies in this instrument shop, it was just huge, you know. So, he, uh, he would introduce me to -- to new instruments, and show me how to overhaul, or repair, check them out. And, uh, and then this foreman, though, kept trying to move me around. And he said no, Ive got him working on -- you know, he tried to, as much as he could.

BERNSTEIN: Tried to protect you?

BAY: To protect me. But it got to where it was, you know, it was getting pretty tough on him too. So, when I put in for my transfer, they really started to, you know, hone in on him as much as me. And, uh, I went to three qualification -- I did it three times, three Qualification Committee reviews. And, you know, it was a kangaroo -- it was a stacked court, you know? But the gen -- the foreman, the 00:41:00general foreman, whos name was Ren -- uh, [Renoit?], was an ex-Marine. And, uh, the, uh, shop foreman checked my record, and found out that I had been arrested, you know, that was a time before the service. So he went and checked my employment application, and I didnt show any arrests on there.


BAY: So, uh, he said I falsified my employment record, which subjected me to immediate dismissal. So the, uh, general foreman [Renoit] calls me in, and he says, uh, tell me what happened here, Alex. So I told him, I was, you know, uh, my buddy Bill and I were on leave, and you know, we got to running around in our 00:42:00old neighborhood, and, uh, the cops chased us, and they caught us, and we stopped, and got out, and, uh, this cop just took the club to my buddy Bill for no reason, you know? And I just kind of lost it, went after the cop, next thing I know there was other cops, and we were both, you know, taken off to jail again. And all I was trying to do was protect him from really hurting him. But, you know, he says OK. He says, well, why did you not put it on your record? I said, because my father hired an attorney, and it cost him $5,000, and he said he was going to clear my record, and there would be no record. But you can't clear a record like that, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Because its a felony.

BAY: Yeah, well. And I -- and he didnt know that, and we were assured that there was no record, otherwise I, you know, I wouldnt have wouldnt, have said otherwise. OK, I said, Alex, he says, I know you want out of here, and 00:43:00uh, and I know -- I think youre a good man, a good young man, and he says I want to help you. Im the Chairman of the Qualifications Committee, but he says, I can't protect you in the hangar, because you start all over again. You know, this was one of the fallacies of our contract, thats what got me bumped.


BAY: He says, you start all over again with a new trial period, which means you can be fired --


BAY: -- Reason or no reason, its not a -- probation, its a trial. OK. I said, just get me down there, Ill make it. OK, so we had another review, and he overrode the committee and sent me down. Again, my good fortune, there was a good lead man, Charlie [Stumberger?]. And, uh, he says you let -- you let old 00:44:00Charlie, stay under Charlies wing here now. Little Greek boy, he says, theyre looking for you. Because thats the way it is around here. They dont want you moving around. So, the whistle would blow, my first day, the whistle blew for everybody to go on break, and I started to go out with -- with them, and the foreman came over and he says come here a minute. He says you dont go to break. He says, youre on probation down here. You walk around under these wings and pick up all of the nuts and bolts. He says you dont take breaks. So I looked at Charlie, and Charlie says, (laughter). I says, OK. So Charlie says, youve got to -- youve got to stick with it kid, you know? I said all right. So, I made my probation, you know, and they gave me all of the junk jobs, you know, we had these old Connies, and still had these superchargers, and we had to change the cells in these engines, dirty, greasy 00:45:00work, that was my job. Plus picking up nuts and bolts during breaks.


BAY: But, I made it, uh, through that time, and then I decided Im going to L.A., getting away from here. So, I put my bid in for L.A. And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Now, were you married at this time?

BAY: Yes, I -- I -- I did, I got married, uh, uh, in 1961, which was a year after I went to work there. And, uh, our son was born on the same day a year later. (laughter) And so...

BERNSTEIN: Easy to remember.

BAY: Its easy to remember -- easy to remember both days. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) Thats excellent.

BAY: Yeah. So, I put a bid in, and I got -- I was awarded a bid, and on my bid, I was to be reporting, I worked the afternoon shift on the following morning at eight oclock, how was it possible even to get there, you know? So I went in 00:46:00to see the Grievance Committee, and they were busy with a card game, and -- and, uh, I told them what my problem was, and, uh, they looked up and said well, did you -- are you being forced to go? And I said no, I bid. They said, well, then thats your problem. And so, I said, well, how am I going to get there, you know? Youve got to find a way, you can turn it down. So that was my, uh, bad experience. I thought...

BERNSTEIN: So you had joined the union when you first walked in the door?

BAY: Thats right, my father and mother both said join the union as soon as you can, if theres a union there. So you weren't required to join a union immediately until you went through your trial period.


BAY: And I joined, the first week, I went down and I found that union hall, and 00:47:00I joined anyway. And they said, well, you dont have to do that, you dont have to do this because you can get fired. I said no, Im going to join anyway. So I joined the union immediately and became a union member. Just the week after that.

BERNSTEIN: And then, its like a year later that youre put in for the transfer, and you go in, and they're not helping you.

BAY: Yeah, and -- and the committee is busy --

BERNSTEIN: So that was your first real --

BAY: That was my first, you know, I thought...

BERNSTEIN: The first time you needed them, I guess.

BAY: Yeah. And I didnt know really that much about unions, and I thought, you know, I was lucky, I had a good leading man. I had a good shop steward in the -- in the shop too, who helped me through those qualification meetings, and who went with me -- went with me, and, uh, argued on my behalf. So I had good experiences until then. So, I went to Charlie, my lead man, and uh, Charlie says well, he says, uh, thats been a problem around here for a few years, you 00:48:00know? But he said, the only thing you can do, uh, Alex, is go up to Industrial Relations and tell them your problem, and see if they can't work it out for you. He said, they should be able to gie you vacation or do something. So I did, I went up, and they, uh, were very good about it, and worked it out, and said now youve got to be sure you get there, now, were going to give you a week. So you take your vacation, and get the -- because I was going to move my whole family there. And this was just before Christmas.


BAY: So I didnt fly, I drove. Had a little Volkswagen at the time, loaded it up. And, uh, the trailer finally had to abandon the trailer and ship everything, because the little Volkswagen can't pull the trailer. I thought it could, but it didnt. (laughter) And drove into California. And, uh, yeah, got caught in the 00:49:00panhandle in the big ice storm, and had to spend the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Terrible storms during that time of year, you know?


BAY: But finally made it into LA, I was amazed.

BERNSTEIN: And you got your family in the car with you?

BAY: No, no --


BAY: They stayed behind. And then I had to look for a place to stay, I didnt have a place. So I had a couple of days, so Im driving around neighborhoods, and this guy out painting, in this little neighborhood, little house in between two big apartment buildings. So I got out, went up talked to him. And I told him what I was doing, it was Hawthorne, California, which was near the airport. And, uh, it was a kind of a duplex. It was a large house, and he made an apartment off one side of it, he was painting it and the outside. I said, look, I really 00:50:00need a place to stay, I dont know anything about this place, you know? And, uh, I said I got, uh, Ill help you paint, get this done, and, you know, so I have a place to park. OK, all right, and I said, but, and I said, my wife and son will be... Oh, he says, I dont know about having any kids. I said, well, hes just a -- hes just a two year old. Not quite two. So, I said, why dont, you know, see them, if you dont like them, give us an opportunity to find another place, and well move. Well, he fell in love with us.

BERNSTEIN: So you took the apartment that was --

BAY: I took the apartment.

BERNSTEIN: He had --

BAY: Lived there, helped him paint.


BAY: And then I got my wife and son there, they flew out. And, uh, then we stayed there all of the time we were in California, which wasnt very long, just long enough for me to go back, because I couldnt afford it.


BERNSTEIN: Couldnt afford to stay in California?

BAY: No, it was a very expensive. I wanted a house...

BERNSTEIN: The job paid the same as Kansas City.

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: But the living costs were...

BAY: Were much, much higher.

BERNSTEIN: Really different?

BAY: Yeah. And, to be able to afford something, Id have to be moving a long way from the airport, and I didnt want to do that, and have to travel. So, um, we looked, and we looked, and we tried to make it, but, I mean, we loved California, but it was just, uh, financially, it wasnt going to work, unless we wanted to live in an apartment.


BAY: And I didnt want to do that. But that was a good experience. And then I just got involved with the union there, with --

BERNSTEIN: In Cal -- in Los Angeles?

BAY: In Los Angeles, yes, we had more difficulty, uh, uh -- of course, I was 00:52:00very junior, and didnt have a lot of seniority, so I was not a threat to anybody there. So I didnt -- I wasnt met with a lot of resistance, just a lot of jokes, you know, about the Midwest, and wheres the cow stuff on your boots. Wheres your boots. You know, and I got stuck on a night --


BAY: Yeah. You know, shop stuff. And I got stuck on a night shift, and, uh, which, it was -- I couldnt handle a night shift, midnight shift. I just couldnt -- just didnt agree with me.

BERNSTEIN: The graveyard shift?

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Ah, its very hard on the constitution.

BAY: Yeah, well, I couldnt sleep, I couldnt eat, you know, everything was just, uh, upside down different, you know? Just, I wasnt used to it. So we, uh, we had some, uh, problems with management there, and, uh, uh, they wanted to, uh -- they had problems communicating with people, because everybody lived a 00:53:00long way from work. And they all tried to find places they could afford.


BAY: So it was not -- it was not in the L.A. area, especially not around Englewood, or El Segundo, or those places. Ah, or Torrance. So they lived out in West Covina, they lived out in the valley.


BAY: A long way.

BERNSTEIN: And there was traffic even then.

BAY: Oh yeah, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: I grew up in Los Angeles. (laughter)

BAY: Oh, OK, so you know, even then.

BERNSTEIN: There was traffic then.

BAY: Oh, it was awful. So, they, uh, they would, uh, they would have a lot of forced overtime, which they would declare an emergency. That became an issue with us. And, uh, then they would just be selective, they just -- they wouldnt go by seniority, theyd just say oh, you, you, you, you got to stay over. No warning, no consideration for whether you had anything, you stayed. So, 00:54:00uh, because people were always on the go, theyre busy going back and forth to get home and go to work, uh, we decided at the lodge meeting that maybe we should, you know, establish a newsletter that we could distribute at work, keep everybody informed of what was going on.

BERNSTEIN: Because it was hard to get people at the meetings.

BAY: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: Because of the schedule.

BAY: Right.


BAY: And one person that made a stab at it, and, uh, and I guess -- you know, it was a hit and miss thing, so I offered to -- to, take it over, you know, do what I could. And he offered to help, he just didnt want to do it all. Which worked out well. So together, uh, and with the cooperation of the officers, we put out a newsletter, and just focused on the issues, and you know, and what were trying to do, because, uh, you know, people always grumbled, and -- and -- and they blame -- tried to blame -- a lot of times, blamed the wrong people, you 00:55:00know, because you're -- you're only able to accomplish, you know, whatever support you have. I mean, if you have the support of the people, you can do a lot of things. But if theyre -- if they're confused, or theyve got, you know, misconceptions on, uh, where youre going, its hard, and the company takes advantage of that. So, but with the newsletter, it really helped, it really did. And, uh, hell, they looked forward to it, you know? We put it in our little electronic shack, theyd come by and grab a copy.

BERNSTEIN: How many pages?

BAY: Well, it varied. But normally, we tried to do just a -- a fold-over, with, you know, one of these 17 inch --

BERNSTEIN: Like a four page?

BAY: Yeah, yeah.


BAY: Yeah, something that we could print on both sides, and fold it in half.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah.

BAY: You know, and then if we wanted to, we could be mail it too -- which we did 00:56:00on hot issues, we had a non-profit postage thing, so that we could, you know...


BAY: You know, at that time, you didnt even have to sort, you know, but so it made it easy, it means we have a --

BERNSTEIN: And people really read it?

BAY: They did, yeah, they did. And it bothered the company a lot. They were the first ones to read it. They grabbed one as soon as they could.


BAY: (laughter) Yeah! You know.

BERNSTEIN: Now, did you -- you did the writing, and the drawing, and the layout, and the printing?

BAY: Yeah, right, I did it all, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: How did -- did you -- how did you print it?

BAY: We had a mimeograph, we didnt have, you know, any printing press, we just used a mimeograph, stencils...

BERNSTEIN: Purple, uh yeah --

BAY: Yeah, the old stencils and type.

BERNSTEIN: Stencils, yeah!

BAY: A typewriter, you know? And the whiteout so you know when you made mistakes, and then we try to space it, you know, get columns. I mean, it was very difficult to do that, you know? But, uh, we took a lot of pride in it, and we made a nice, uh, you know, a nice little, uh -- the pictures couldnt we couldnt-- we didnt have picture capability then. But we did a lot of 00:57:00drawings, and --

BERNSTEIN: You did the drawing yourself?

BAY: No, no, we had -- we had some --

BERNSTEIN: Did you have some --

BAY: We had some talented people around there.


BAY: That, you know, that liked to do those things, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Cartoons?

BAY: Cartoons. And, uh, you know, very effective cartoons. (laughter) You know, you could use your imagination.

BERNSTEIN: So, what was one of the, uh, the issues where the newsletters flew off the table fastest?

BAY: Well, the, uh, the big one was the -- the forced overtime. And, uh, uh, you know, we kept -- kept a running account on that, because almost everybody was affected by that.


BAY: Because it was so, you know, it just -- we used to get a lot of fog. So the company didnt need to have some people. But our position was that you should have a procedure for that. You should have a procedure for regular overtime, 00:58:00have a turn system. Dont force somebody unless you need a special skill.


BAY: And then you need to, you know, come to the union, and let us know what it is you need, and well provide, you know, well work with you to get the right people to do the job that needs to be done. Were not trying to be, you know, an obstacle, obstruction.

BERNSTEIN: Obs, obs, obstruction, yeah.

BAY: So, thats -- uh, thats what we were shooting for. And we had a lot of meetings, but they didnt want to lose control. See, they didnt want to give it up. So that was one of our big ones. Uh, the other one was an attendance policy - issues were, uh, they had some new Industrial Relations people that decided that, uh, they needed to crack down on sick leave. And, uh, abusers. OK, you know, nobody wants to take issue with an abuser, you know, if youve got 00:59:00an abuser than we need to deal with it. But then they started trying to just do, uh, systems that -- that would fit all situations, and no system, you know, never works that way. So you -- you could catch your abusers, but then you also --


BAY: -- hurt others that really legitimate, because its just a numbers game. I mean, their philosophy was you got this many days off in a year, thats it. You know, youve got a problem, we need to take action, and you need to straighten out your problem. The ones that had the problems, I mean, they were pretty obvious, you know, it was always a Friday, or a Monday, or day before or after a holiday. You know, I mean, I mean, the -- why not just go after the problem instead of trying to do a policy? So that -- that became an issue. And, 01:00:00uh -- and it wasnt just, uh, localized there in Los Angeles, because when I go back to Kansas City, it was a bigger issue, and that was really one of the big strike issues.

BERNSTEIN: You were in Los Angeles, not during contract renewal time, so you --

BAY: There was --

BERNSTEIN: -- didnt have --

BAY: There was a, uh, a contract renewal, but it was not very well publicized, and it was before Id gotten there. So I wasnt even aware of it. I think it was in 62, they had a, uh, a contract, uh, and it was, uh, it was ratified --

BERNSTEIN: And your newsletter, did it have international news, or news from the International, or from other locations?

BAY: Well, the Interna --


BERNSTEIN: Or it was really focused on your plant?

BAY: Just mostly -- mostly on TWA and, you know, work related with the plant.

BERNSTEIN: Los Angeles? Yeah.

BAY: And if there were some, uh, other issues like, which would be international stuff wed do is the per capita tax, or some sick -- [PHONE RINGING] Excuse me.


BAY: Thats my brother.


BAY: From --

BERNSTEIN: Ill press pause.

BERNSTEIN: So were -- were back. Um, I guess youre just about to leave Los Angeles?

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Howd you make that decision?

BAY: Well, uh, there was a restriction on -- on bidding, once you bid out on the system, you had a one -- 12 month restriction, so you could not be accepted for a bid, you could -- uh, during that year. So, when I hit my 12 months, I put my bid in.

BERNSTEIN: For Kansas City?

BAY: Right. And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: And you didnt -- it wasnt a dilemma, you and your wife didnt 01:02:00have to --

BAY: No, no.

BERNSTEIN: It was clear to you that that was a good move, to -- thats what you needed to do?

BAY: And she agreed with it too.


BAY: And we had a good time in California, you know? We went to Knotts Berry, we went to Disney. And we went -- and everybody came to visit us, thats where they wanted to go, so, you know, it was -- it was really nice, we enjoyed California. But we didnt think we wanted to raise our son there. And then the other kids, if we had anymore, which we didnt. So we decided to go back to Kansas City, where we could probably afford to have a home, and a nice yard, and you know, own property. And so we did that. And, um, I was -- unfortunately, in, uh, oh, a couple of months, I got a -- I was awarded a bid to go back to the flight line at the airport in Kansas City.

BERNSTEIN: Which is what youd wanted from the get go?


BAY: Thats what I wanted at the beginning, yeah. And, of course, in LA, I was actually working the line. Because it was a line station. So we did, uh, overnight maintenance checks on aircraft, and then got them ready for flights the next day. And plus, we also worked the gates at the airport, at the LA airport, because you always had maintenance problems, you know, that you had to correct.


BAY: So it was -- it was right down my alley, and I really loved it there. That was the work I wanted to do. So, I get back to Kansas City, and, uh, uh, this had to be, I know, 64, maybe? I think it was 64. Um, go to the airport, and, uh, the old timers that worked the airport were the union people that were 01:04:00-- held office for many, many years. And they were part of the original establishment, union establishment that was formed in 1946. And, uh, Al Smith was known as the union orator, and he worked there at the airport. He was a, uh, an avionics person, and was active in the union, and active in the union politics, which I was not at that time, I mean, I was a steward out in California, and I was a steward, uh, became a steward --

BERNSTEIN: Shortly after you came back?

BAY: Yeah. Because, uh, I was asked if I would be a steward, nobody wanted to be the steward, because I guess they were, having a hard time, I said sure, Ill be a steward. So Al, uh, Smith came to me, and he talked out of the side of his mouth, and he said, you know, weve got an election coming up for the 01:05:00district, and boy, old Clifton looked good. You know, hes doing a number on the guy that hed been supporting for years. So hes trying to get me on his side politically. So I listened to him. And, uh, you know, I didnt agree or disagree, because I wasnt sure what was going on, you know, politically. But it was -- they were very subtle in a lot of ways, and then pretty -- pretty clear on where they wanted to go. And the airport was, pretty much the camp, uh, you know, the leadership camp at that time. But there was always conflict between the airport and the overall base.


BAY: You know, there was that separation there. Id say it was a funny thing. It was just like, uh, the overhaul base was a huge facility. We had, at that time, probably 4,000 workers there. And, uh, the airport, maybe we had 100, 01:06:00yeah. Maybe it was 150 total, everything.


BAY: And it was a small scale LA operation, because we did overnight work checks. And at that time, we still had the Connies, so, you know, we had those, and they worked them inside, and we had the jets that would work outside. So, uh, I was working on the, uh, the jet fleet, because thats what I was familiar with from LA, because they had most of the jets out there. Or a lot of them. And, uh, uh, we got, uh, we had -- we had a problem with the -- we had a lot of electrical problems with landing gear on the jet aircraft.



BAY: And thy would get written up, and, uh, at the airport, you would have to sign the log to release an airplane. If you had an air worthy item, that was what they called the [squawk?], written in the logbook. The pilot would enter a, uh, discrepancy, uh, what -- what system was at fault. Like, landing gear, a false warning light, the gear wasnt fully, either extended, or...

BERNSTEIN: Retracted?

BAY: Retracted.


BAY: And that was a serious item, of course. So you had to -- you had to release -- you couldnt release the aircraft without a full check, and then you had to sign for it, and then you certified that that --

BERNSTEIN: That it was now working?

BAY: That it was working, or you corrected the problem, whatever. But we had one airplane that mustve had a dozen or so of these continuous write-ups. So, uh, 01:08:00and this was winter time, and I was out there working on it. And we didnt have an inside facility, so we had to -- were right next to the river there in Kansas City.


BAY: And its cold, but, you know, Im checking the system out, and -- and, uh, I was told weve got to get this plane ready, you know, weve got to -- its got to make, you know, a flight in the morning here. This was the night shift.

BERNSTEIN: So youre working at the airport, not now, not at the --

BAY: Now at the airport, yeah


BAY: I went to the airport in Kansas City.


BAY: Im sorry, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: You didnt go back to the refurbishing...

BAY: No, not yet.


BAY: So, uh, and I -- and they called us electro-mechanics in the -- in the -- under that job description there. So I told the, uh, the foreman, I said, you know, we need to jack the plane, and swing the gear, to check, to be sure that 01:09:00the doors are closing, the hole switches are working, and, uh, that we dont have, either, an electrical problem or a hydraulic problem. Oh, we can't do that, we haven't got time to do that. I said, Well, I can't sign this airplane off, Im not going to certify that this is checked, thats what needs to be done. Out of all of the checks, nobodys ever swung the gear, you know? I said, How are you -- because we used to do this at the overhaul base, uh, and he says just sign it. I said no, Im not going to sign it. You worked on it, you put in the log book what you did, you sign it, and kick it out, I said no, I dont think I should do that, and Im not going to do that. Well, well see about that. I said, well, Ill tell you what, you can override me, you can sign it, why dont you sign it if you think its OK, I dont think its OK. You dont have the right to make that decision. 01:10:00I said no, I dont, but I have the right not to sign it. Well, I have the right to do something about it. OK, but Im not signing it. He signed it, the plane goes out, guess what, the -- the system failed again, and he -- and the pilot brings the plane back. And this foreman didnt lose his job, but he got in big trouble over signing it. Well, that was my, uh, one bad experience about how things worked, you know, within just wanting to get --


BAY: -- meet their schedules. And, uh, you know, making the threat that -- you know, and there was -- you know, where do you go, you know? So, then I learned, when you start reading these regs, you dont need licensed mechanics, all you -- you know, to sign things. All you need is one person at an airport, and he can sign anything.



BAY: And its -- its pretty scary, so --

BERNSTEIN: It is scary.

BAY: So then, fast forward a little bit, uh, I go to a local lodge meeting, and, uh, were talking about the sick leave problems, you know? And we had had, uh, emergency problems, and, uh, I -- I got up and spoke to the president, and I said, you know, it seems to me that a local lodge this size really needs a newspaper. We dont even have a newspaper here. You got to be Alex Bay from Los Angeles! Youre the new editor! That was the president of the local.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: (laughter) I was dumbfounded. I says -- we need a newspaper, you be the new editor! OK, so I met with him after the meeting, and, uh, he said, whatever you need, you know, we need a paper bad. I said, well, OK, I said, Ill -- where do I -- where do I, you know, operate. So, anyway, he showed me around, and so 01:12:00the, uh, the establishment didnt want a newspaper, he was the new local lodge president, he didnt have any help there. So they did everything to make it impossible to put a paper out there.

BERNSTEIN: The union establishment?

BAY: Yeah, the local lodge, you know, office.

BERNSTEIN: How is he a new president, when all of the rest of them were there?

BAY: He got elected.


BAY: They had -- they had elections, at that time, every year.


BAY: And, uh, uh, he got elected president, but none of the other officers were on his slate.


BAY: So, you know, the whole executive board was opposed to him. So I, you know, he -- he was, you know, thought enough about trying to -- he knew what the problems were, Joe [Bowman?], he was a hell of a guy. So anyway, uh, he says, well, weve got a mimeograph machine, weve got typewriters, and weve got paper, and weve got this office, theyre all locked up in this office here, 01:13:00and you can use this office. And I say, OK. So I said, well, I -- I get off at midnight, and Ill come down, and work -- work it out. Well, Id get off at midnight, and either something was locked up, the machine was inoperative, or the door was -- the door to the local was locked, I couldnt get in, they wouldnt get me a key. Anyway, we got over that, and we started putting out the newsletter. And our big issue was sick leave. The employer took the position that irrespective of the nature of your illness, the seriousness of it, or whatever, if you couldnt come to work, you were a part time employee, and we dont have part time work. So you may have cancer, you may have a heart 01:14:00ailment, you may have any other disease that requires you to be off, and you have sick leave at your taking, but we have the right to terminate your employment because you're unable to come to work.

BERNSTEIN: And they set a number of days in a year, its --

BAY: Well, they started with that, then -- then they went to the extreme, uh, and said that irrespective of your seniority, your service time, or the -- the problems that you have, medical problems you have, if you're unable to come to work, then were -- we dont need to keep you employed. So theyd fire -- they fired people with 30-35 years seniority for, uh, abuse of sick leave, thats what they called it, because they were using -- they were off too much. So, uh, we took that to arbitration, and we lost it, the arbitrator ruled 01:15:00against us, saying that the employer has the right to expect its employees to come to work. I couldnt believe this, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Even if theyre sick?

BAY: Yeah.


BAY: And, then, you know, you have sick leave provisions, and, uh, you know, weve exhausted those. We even had leave -- medical leave preservations, but irrespective of that, they would terminate you. So that...

BERNSTEIN: You mean, they could be on medical leave, and they would be terminated?

BAY: Yeah, theyd fire them, yeah. They would just say, well, you know, its time for you to be looking elsewhere for employment, because, you know, we dont -- we can't keep carrying you on the books. [phone vibrating]



BAY: So, uh, that was, uh, that and emergency overtime, and, uh, the, uh, sick leave, uh, uh -- or the attendance pro -- the attendance enforcement policies that went into effect, uh, became our big issues, and we were up for negotiations in 1965, the contract had expired. So, uh, we -- we, uh, starting using, you know, making a record of everything that took place, all of the people that were affected. And it became a really, really, uh, hot issue. Especially with, you know, the -- the older -- and we had a lot of senior people there, because a lot of those-- in the 60s, we had a lot of them that came back after the war and went to work for the airlines. Some of them had left, and went to war, and came back.


BAY: So they weren't all in good health, and -- and they were -- so, they 01:17:00identified with the problem, and they supported us. So when we, uh, went into bargaining, that was our big issues. Unfortunately, we didnt have new leadership at the bargaining table. So they were trying to negotiate a contract, and not really addressing those -- those, uh, worker issues. So we went on strike. This was the first time the airlines ever had coordinated bargaining like the auto workers do. We had, uh, five major airlines went on strike at the same time. United, TWA, Eastern...

BERNSTEIN: This is 1960 --

BAY: Six.



BAY: United, TWA, Eastern, uh, National, one more. Northwest. So, everybody was the -- all of the economic issues were going to be dealt with at the table, one table, just like they do in the auto industry, and, uh, all of the, uh, local issues would be handled locally. And we had five major airlines, they had a lot of their own local issues. And the main bargaining table was just trying to deal with the economics, thinking that was going to solve it.


BAY: We had three ratification votes, and rejected a contract every time. At that time, Siemiller was the International president. And he got frustrated, and he called everybody in, and really put it to them. Saying, what is going on here? Does anybody know what is happening? And Lyndon Johnson was the President, and he was going to impose emergency fact finding on us, and wage and price guidelines were being threatened. And he was -- you know how Johnson was, I 01:19:00mean, he called -- probably called Siemiller in and told him you better get this thing straight --

BERNSTEIN: Read him the riot act.

BAY: -- Or were going to -- you know, we can't shut this country down with five major airlines all on strike here, you know, this country has come to a standstill, which it had, you know? (laughter) And the strike went on for 43 days, until they finally decided to talk to the local leaders and find out what the issues were locally, and all of them were different. So we got some changes made to that provision.


BAY: It wasnt -- it wasnt -- it didnt go as far as we wanted it to, but it was enough to -- to, you know, pass the contract, finally, after 43 days of strike. Well, I need to back up a little bit, because we had also had, uh, an election take place preceding that strike, and the -- and the existing 01:20:00representatives were defeated.

BERNSTEIN: The old timers?

BAY: The old timers. But they were at the bargaining table. They were the ones negotiating, because the new officers weren't going to take office until August the 1st.


BAY: And thats when the -- the, uh according to the bylaws, the strike started the end of July, and it was ongoing. So, I was, uh, introduced to, uh, the person that was running against, uh, the president of the district, who was out of Chicago, by one of the old timers at the overhaul base, who said you need to go to Chicago, and you need to meet John Schwind, and weve got to make a change here. And I didnt want to -- I didnt want to get involved. He said, youve got to do it. He says, youve got to do it, you need to do this. And 01:21:00I respected the old man, old Clarence Eaton. Six five, you know, big guy. And so I went, and -- and, uh, committed myself to support his team in Kansas City, and, uh, during the -- from April, when the nominations took place, until then, the election was run in June. Uh, I worked for -- for these outside candidates, and, you know, faced the wrath of my local there.


BAY: Because, you know, they were supporting the other group, but they lost. So I was on the winning side. OK. They went -- did not allow him to take office, because of the strike, saying that it would be too disruptive, which, you know, you could understand.


BAY: But we thought that, uh, you couldnt -- you couldnt withhold both of us. I mean, you couldnt keep -- you may want to keep the same leadership 01:22:00there, but you need to turn the office over to the newly elected. So, we finally got that accomplished, and we had to go to the Labor Board, but we finally -- they said you have to allow the new person to take office. So he took office, and then he immediately made me the communications director, so that we could communicate, you know, --


BAY: -- With the system, uh, at that time. And, uh, because he was the lone ranger in that office, he didnt have anybody else either, so -- and that was his only helper there. So thats how I really got involved with the -- with the union politics. Just, you know, over, you know, political issues that -- I mean, uh, contractual issues that became political, uh, issues that supported the new candidates. And then a changeover took over. I mean, he was the first one that took office, and then it changed, every election thereafter, we got in 01:23:00all our -- all our new guys. And we -- we -- we really did a good job, because we were just full of vinegar, and had no idea of what, uh -- we just weren't -- we just -- we just wanted to do whatever we could do, and, uh, just were fearless about it, just fierce about it. And we changed that contract from, uh, a book to a pocket size that you had to have an extra sized pocket to fit in.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: But we made some great changes in that contract. And everything from the Qualifications Committee to the sick leave, uh, you know, uh, promotion pro -- provisions, and bidding provisions, and all of that stuff where, you know, you -- you shouldnt have to be asking to go somewhere. I mean, they should know 01:24:00that you can't make it in an overnight, you know, to move your whole family.


BAY: I mean, you should have provisions in there to allow you to work it out. Not have to struggle with it. So we made, uh, that was, uh, that was a contract for the record, and its still -- still the best contract in the airline industry. But the airline no longer exists, but...

BERNSTEIN: And thats the contract as a result of the strike?

BAY: No.


BAY: It was the contract following the strike, as a result of the newly elected officers that took over --


BAY: -- during the strike. And subsequently, and then two years later, I was asked to run for junior chairman because the business rep was following my communication work. (laughter) And I didnt even know what that was. You know, I had -- I did -- I did one of, uh, the -- I wanted to do what I was doing, I enjoyed doing the -- the communication part.


BERNSTEIN: Now, as the communications director, how much -- did you still work?

BAY: Yeah, no, I worked full time.

BERNSTEIN: Full time? And so you did all of that...

BAY: On my own time.

BERNSTEIN: On your own time?

BAY: After hours, and -- we didnt do a lot of lost time, we didnt have any money then, and so you couldnt take people off the clock. And so I did this, you know, I worked day shift, then I was on days, and I came in night and do that.

BERNSTEIN: And then, so then, when you get to be elected, um, general chairman?

BAY: And that was in 1968. That was, uh, uh, an election where we had another one who was in office that I had run against, and we defeated him. And we also defeated the secretary treasurer. And we put on the -- the -- actually, before that, we had put on two new general chairmen. Uh, my buddy Frank from California 01:26:00-- two Franks, uh, one from Chicago, and one from Boston. And they ran in 67. So we -- we added two staff members, and then, uh, we had an election in 68, and defeated one that was there, I ran, and then we had, uh, the space center, so we had a space center representative. So we put on about four different staff members in those two or three years, expanded it.

BERNSTEIN: So you start full time union work in --

BAY: 68.


BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: And up until hat, you had worked full time on the job, and do everything at night, and on weekends, and on your own time?

BAY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: Which is a lot of time.

BAY: A lot of time, yeah. Yeah. But it was -- it was worth it, met a lot of people -- had a lot of help. But, you know, it was amazing, because, uh, 01:27:00everybody was -- you know, everybody was willing to work when they -- when they saw what we were trying to do, they volunteered to help us, and we had the help, and we had the support. We couldnt have done the things we did without the members supporting us. They had to back us.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah. And this was not a closed shop?

BAY: Uh, no, it was, it was a union shop.


BAY: Yeah, you had to -- you had to be -- you had to, uh, join the union within a certain period of time. So it was a -- a closed shop, yeah. And, uh, yeah, one of the conditions of employment was you had to join the union within six months, or I think it was six months.

BERNSTEIN: Now, was there anything in the contract, you told me this story about not signing off on the landing gear.

BAY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: And the foreman just signs it. Did the contract ever address that issue? Was that something that would be --

BAY: Well, what we finally ended up doing --

BERNSTEIN: Negotiated? Talked about?


BAY: Well, yeah, because it was a -- it was, uh, we established full time safety committees. And, uh, which meant that they worked, uh, for the airline and got paid, but part of their job was to work on safety issues. So, then they addressed those problems as a committee at each location, and did -- and that was negotiated, where we did monthly, uh, joint reviews of all of the issues that would, uh -- wed have tours and so forth, every month, once a month. Union and company personnel that were both required to look at safety matters, and address safety matters, and theyd take a tour around, and make sure they understood what the issue was, and then correct them. So if you had a safety problem, uh, you could call the committee, the Grievance Committee, and then the 01:29:00Safety Committee, and you would not be subjected to termination or threats, and that matter would have to be investigated. So thats how we got around that. And it was really a good system because it helped -- the company really wanted to do the right thing, but they also had to meet their -- their schedules.


BAY: And sometimes, people would, you know, just look the other way on -- on some of the safety issues, and not on things that mattered, really, too much with the - uh, you know, with the safety of the travelling public, but, you know, it could. Just like the -- the landing gear thing.


BAY: Im sure that, you know, they could bring it in with the gear up, or the gear, you know, not locked, but, you know, why go through that?


BAY: And, uh, so we established, uh, uh, procedures to follow. And everybody was 01:30:00instructed on it, supervisors, and the lead mechanics, and members all knew what the -- what the procedures were. And you followed those procedures when you had an issue that dealt with safety. Or even -- even the, uh, the grievance procedure was a big problem we had. We had hundreds of cases in arbitration that had been there for years. And we had to bargain our way through them because you couldnt arbitrate them. Couldnt afford to arbitrate them, even if you wanted to. And, uh, its just like the -- the issue on the sick leave, wed already lost that in arbitration.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

BAY: So, we bargained our way through that, you know?

BERNSTEIN: So in those years, in the 60s, were there very many black members?

BAY: Huh.

BERNSTEIN: And were there any women in that --

BAY: No, not -- in fact, uh, the only black members we had were sweeping floors. 01:31:00And, in 1964, when the -- they passed the Civil Rights Act, we immediately, uh, you know, started discussions with the carrier to change that. Telling them, we, you know, we shouldnt have to wait to be cited, we need to do what we shouldve been doing without a law. So, you can't tell us that the only place a black person can serve this company is -- is behind a broom. I mean, you know, how can -- how can you say that? So they couldnt, you know? So, uh, so that was one of the things that we negotiated in the other agreement, as a follow up, was that you had promotion approval, uh, and you had tests you could take, and things to study, and prepare yourself for tests, so you could advance. And, uh, 01:32:00but you had to be hired first. So, they had to make decisions to start hiring minority people, and women. We had very few -- we had some, but very few women. I shouldnt really say that, because at that time, the airlines provided their own food service. So we had our food kitchens, and there, we had mostly women employed there.

BERNSTEIN: And were the -- the porters, or the people of the black -- people sweeping, and the women -- they weren't in the Machinists union?

BAY: Yes, they were.

BERNSTEIN: They were all in?

BAY: Right, they were -- they were called cleaners.


BAY: Or janitors. If they cleaned the airplane, they were cleaners, fleet service operatives. If they were building cleaners, they were janitors. And if they were, uh, worked in the flight kitchens, they were represented by the -- the union. And they were bigger -- a big facility, right close to the airport, because they prepared the meals.



BAY: Got them ready, put them on trucks, and they hauled them to the airport. So we had -- we had great food service.

BERNSTEIN: And so, but it wasnt -- but after 1964, then some of the process for moving from those jobs into mechanics jobs --

BAY: Higher skill jobs, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Higher skill jobs.

BAY: Higher paid, higher skill.

BERNSTEIN: That promotional, uh --

BAY: It did not really start until 68, because we didnt have the provisions negotiated until that 68 bargaining, which really didnt -- it took us two years to get that contract. We didnt sign it until January 27th, 1970.

BERNSTEIN: Oh my god.

BAY: We went through every board member --


BAY: -- Including the chairman of the board, trying to get this contract really nego -- what it -- where it needed to be. And we got it there. But it took a long time getting there. And I have to say that the, uh, the management level at 01:34:00that time, uh, did the right thing. They wanted to -- some of these changes had to be made, because it was just -- just nothing was done for a long time in the way of work rules. And they -- they worked with us. But it was a massive undertaking, because, you know, there was so much to do. I mean, we had committees working on different things for months, you know, safety committees, grievance committees, arbitration committees, work rule committees, promotion committees, the Qualification Committee. I mean, we had -- we changed all of those rules because that was a nonsense rule, you know? Uh, going there with your hat in your hand to get promoted, you know? Or -- or get moved, bidding around, and then being threatened with termination if somebody didnt like you. They didnt have to have a reason, you just didnt make it son, you know? So, it was a heck of an undertaking, but we did start moving on the 01:35:00process of promoting, uh, those minorities that were already there, and -- and, uh, the company did look, uh, towards trying to hire minorities, they started the process. And, uh, you know, we -- we pushed them, but they didnt fight hard either. I mean, they knew they had to do things. The problem was, it was hard to make some of the moves, but with some of the provisions that we negotiated, we were able to do a lot of on the job training, because a lot of the minorities didnt have the skills, you know, they didnt -- some did, and just weren't -- just not hired. That got solved, you know, if they had the skills, they got hired. Um, but then you had -- we had a hiring freeze too at 01:36:00that time, so it kind of, you know, we had a boom in the 60s, and then it died, and then we had a layoffin the 70s, early 70s. So it was kind of a bumpy ride there. But we finally managed to, uh, bring on a lot more of minority people. Not so many women on the mechanic end. But I dont think it was, uh, it was the fault of the carrier as much as we just didnt have that many that wanted to come into the field, a select few. So...

BERNSTEIN: So you win this election, and you start working full time for the IAM?

BAY: Right, I became the general chairman, which I had no knowledge of what the work was to be, which was everything. You know, I mean, just you were a representative with -- we, uh, we had a very, uh, uh -- our boss was, uh, he was 01:37:00a very skilled politician, and he was very smart. But he was -- and he was not very well liked. And, uh, we had trouble, uh -- people had trouble warming up to him, but he was a -- really a smart guy. He knew what had to be done, he just had an abrasive way of trying to get things done. So -- but he was smart enough to bring on people that he knew could do the work, or that he felt could do the work. And he was also well aware of his shortcomings.


BAY: So he -- he -- he was that smart, you know, and so the people he brought on did a lot of cover for him, but they did the work that needed to be done, with this help, because he knew what needed to be done, and he knew how to go about doing it. And, uh, but he wasnt the right guy to do it all, you know, for a 01:38:00lot of personal reasons, him personally. But, uh, uh, none of us that came on really were that experienced. We had people that were committee people, they had experience, you know, with grievance procedures. But its a different, you know, when youre at that level, you're -- you're handling, you know, arbitration, youre handling day to day problems, uh, at a higher level, youre dealing with, uh, corporate vice presidents, and -- and, uh, they usually have their lawyers, uh, doing their -- their bidding for them. So, uh, you were -- you know, we were handicapped to that extent, that we didnt know, we didnt have all of that formal training, but they didnt have the membership behind them either, we did. So that was our -- that was our biggest 01:39:00tool, you know, and our biggest threat. And, uh, uh, we learned how to use it, you know, we learned, uh, how to turn it on and turn it off, how to control it, because its no good if you can't control it. And, uh, uh, the people, uh, they trusted us, they believed in us, and, you know, we tried to demonstrate that we were doing the best that we could for them. And, uh, we never had a problem with our members, we never lost an election. None of us. Even -- even the boss. We had to carry him sometimes, but, you know. But because of us, you know, we were able to win. And it was, uh -- it was a great experience. So we divided the country up, you know, within the regions, because TWA served almost 01:40:00every major city in the country. And everybody --assignment required that you go to the union meeting, every union meeting every month. Every full time rep, you go in the day before, you handle any problems with the management there, and you always had a steward or a committee person with you. Never alone. Um, uh, no deals, straight -- straight -- you know, straight grievance handling. No, you know, swapping of favors. And that night, you meet with your committee, you have a couple of beers with them, you talk to them, your stewards, your officers, find out whats going on, what the problems are. The -- the next day, you meet with the management again, take them in there, deal with those problems. That night, you go to the union meeting, you give a report, uh, you know, you do what 01:41:00you need to do at the union meeting, and if theres any work left over, you stay there until you get it done, and then you move on to your next station. And thats -- that was how we -- we dealt with it. And that was a big change from everywhere wed never done that.

BERNSTEIN: That was a different way on having the grand lodge rep job?

BAY: No, this was not a grand lodge rep job.

BERNSTEIN: No, this is the --

BAY: This is the district.

BERNSTEIN: District.

BAY: Which was a business rep job.

BERNSTEIN: I see, OK. OK, right, right.

BAY: But, you know --

BERNSTEIN: The chairman.

BAY: -- it was a way of -- of, uh, that the out stations never had that kind of representation. The big cities like LA, Chicago, Kansas City, New York --

BERNSTEIN: Thats where people would be?

BAY: -- Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, thats where you, you know, they concentrated. But, you know, the Clevelands, and Detroits, the Amarillos, the Tulsas, the Elk Citys, you know, Las Vegas, 01:42:00Sacramentos, you know, all of those little places never -- never would see anybody until we --

BERNSTEIN: Until you came in and said every --

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: -- meeting had to have --

BAY: Everybody had -- had assignments so that they could make those meetings every month. Because a lot of them, you had -- you know, you had -- every local had a meeting every month.


BAY: And some of them were on the same day. So you had to find a way. You know, somebody else had to cover.


BAY: Or you had to do it. But you had to make those meetings.

BERNSTEIN: So you were on the road, when you -- once you started that -- on the road --

BAY: Yeah, constantly.

BERNSTEIN: And was that hard on your family?

BAY: Well, I think it was, you know? And it takes a special kind of, you know, family, spouse, and -- to, uh -- it takes a strong person to be able to live with that, and you know, one thats not very insecure. I mean, you know, my wife is -- I couldnt have done it if she -- she never complained. Ya, not -- 01:43:00you know, not to the point where, uh, I mean, I made -- I tried to make everything, because at that time, you could fly any time, and we had passes we hadso we could fly -- Id be in LA, and my son would have a ball game, and Id get on the airplane, and Id fly there to see the ball game, get on the night, you know, midnight flight and go back to LA the same night, you know? And, uh, we were able to do that, and we did that. Or I did that.

BERNSTEIN: And that -- that helped make it more --

BAY: Well, you know? But its still not the same as being home every evening, you know? Or when the toilet quits working, and, you know, the grass needs cutting, and you know, snow needs shoveling, and you're in Phoenix. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: And its sunny. (laughter)

BAY: Yeah, and beautiful. (laughter) But, yeah, we spent a lot of time, two or 01:44:00three days a week, on the road at least. Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Did you spread the newsletter, uh, model?

BAY: Yeah, you know --

BERNSTEIN: It actually started travelling around?

BAY: Well, you know, usually what would happen is if you left, then it ended. But, you know, I was able to find somebody else to take it over, and they -- from then on, they continued to have a newspaper there. And wherever we went, we -- you know, if the size -- the local -- the local had to be of a certain size because you know, some of our locals were really small, like, we had 40 or 50 people in Cleveland. And, uh, you know, maybe the same amount in Detroit.

BERNSTEIN: They dont need a newsletter.

BAY: They belong to -- they belong to an amalgamated lodge. So they didnt have their own local, they had, they belonged to a local, but it was, you know, four or five airlines, because, you know, United was big in -- in, uh, in 01:45:00Cleveland, and, uh, you know, Northwest was big in Detroit. So they were the dominant, uh, they had the dominant numbers. But we were always, you know, active. We always had active members, and we insisted on it, to be on the boards. And -- and those amalgamated locals, they tried to keep somebody from every carrier on their executive board. So they -- so you had, you know, representation there for your locals, different airlines. But, yeah, the, uh, the big stations all had newsletters, most of them -- yeah, most of them did. San Francisco, New York, uh, and you had, you know, several New York areas, you know, you had LaGuardia, Newark, and Kennedy. They - they were different locals, so they had their own newspapers, and Boston had theirs. Yeah, so we -- 01:46:00we had that.


BAY: Pretty much.

BERNSTEIN: Sounds good. You want to take a break for a couple of minutes?

BAY: Yeah, lets, uh --

BERNSTEIN: And were back. So I guess were up to the point where you -- where you spend from 1968 to 1978 doing...

BAY: Doing the service contract work for the, uh, for TWA, and Ozark, those were the only two major carriers we had at that time. So --

BERNSTEIN: And there was no strike during that stretch?

BAY: 68 to 78? Yeah, we had the -- we had two short strikes. We had a, uh, in 72, I think thats when Usery was the, uh, Secretary of Labor. Um, I 01:47:00guess the one we had -- we had a -- no, that was 74 with Usery, or 75. Anyway, one of those, we had a short strike, we had a less than a -- less than a day, you know, it was one of those short strikes. And then, uh, the next one was probably, I think, 75, we had another one where we were gonna to go on strike, and then Usery sent his limousines after us before we could leave town. So, uh, he called us into his office there at the Department of Labor, and tried to get us to work our way through, uh, the issue, which was the, um, the 01:48:00emergency overtime issue again, coming to haunt us. And, um, uh, I forget what the other issue is, we had a couple that we just weren't going to resolve, the carrier didnt want to resolve it, we arent gonna resolve it, so... But we, as Usery is so good at doing, found a way to, you know, get us to, uh, come to terms, at least, uh, the kinds of terms where we didnt require, you know, a strike to resolve it, and we worked through it afterwards. And, which was probably a good move. But, we had, you know, like I said, our people were very loyal, and trustworthy, and they were gone. When we made that call at midnight, 01:49:00I mean, they were out. So, you know, and then we told them to come back, they came back, some of them a little slower than others, but they came back.

BERNSTEIN: They weren't rea -- quite ready to come back so fast? (laughter)

BAY: Well, yeah, and you know, and that -- and really, its, uh, you know, its a testament to their trust in us, you know, which, you know, was, uh, it was great to have, I mean, you know, and the carrier knew it. They knew that, you know, if they didnt have them behind us. And I can't -- thats -- thats another thing, I could never understand how a supervisor, or a district manager, or a superintendent can believe they can lord it over the workforce when, you know, you got hundreds of people that, you know, that youre making unhappy, and you think that just by cracking the whip, youre going to be, you 01:50:00know, uh, successful in whatever youre trying to do. I mean, these people were ingenious, I mean, you know, they got all kinds of ways to deal with these kinds of problems that you'd never even know took place until it happened, you know, in the workplace. I mean, theres all kinds of things that they -- they would do. Yeah, they would take -- they would have to go to the bathroom, you know, more often than not. Uh, you know, they, you know, line up to, you know, and have to go other places, so now what happens to your work, what are you going to do? Or find parts that are -- you dont have parts that are available, because you didnt transfer it around, move it around in different areas and not where they should be. So, um, eventually, I think they learned that theyve got to maintain a certain amount of -- amount of rapport with 01:51:00everybody, you know? Because you dont want -- you dont want them all angry at you. And, you know, that gives us the -- you know, the -- you know, the horsepower we need.


BAY: But some of them never learn. And, uh...

BERNSTEIN: Some of the management?

BAY: Yeah, they never learn. Some of them -- most of them, uh, some of them learn the hard way, some of them have come up from the ranks, and they know what its like, you know? But --

BERNSTEIN: Now, were there very many people in management who started off in the shop?

BAY: Yeah. Uh, well --

BERNSTEIN: And did you keep relations with them?

BAY: No, not that way, you mean in terms of friendships and stuff?


BAY: No.


BAY: Usually, those individuals, uh, uh, they didnt really seem to be the, 01:52:00you know, some of them were activists, but, uh, there was a line there. You always had a line there that you had to maintain. And, because they had a responsibility, and they had a job to do, and, you know, and you can't, uh, you know, you can't -- you can't mix, you know, your friendship and your other things up with --


BAY: -- Some of the duties that you have. But we had a lot of good, uh, people that went up through the ranks. We had some that turned the other way, I mean, thats just the nature of things. Um, um, some people, uh, take success well, others take advantage of it in the wrong way. (laughter)


BAY: In negative ways.


BAY: But, um --

BERNSTEIN: Can I go back to the strike?

BAY: Sure.

BERNSTEIN: The long strike, just because, I think I didnt really ask much about community support, if there was -- if that was a piece of the story, 01:53:00because for 42 days, there was enough time to, perhaps, need it.

BAY: You know, um, I dont think, uh, and Im speaking strictly from Kansas City, Im trying to recall. Uh, TWA was one of the -- one of the three largest employers in the Kansas City area. So when you had a strike, um, they had even -- would eventually have to let all of the people go. No one really expected it, to go that long.


BAY: Uh, and I think that was why they were -- really weren't prepared for -- for what did transpire, because they -- they -- it was a new -- it was an 01:54:00attempt to, uh, try to bargain through five major airlines as opposed to one at a time, which -- which each individually would have an economic effect, you know, on the whole country, uh, but not as big an effect as the five together.

BERNSTEIN: Right, yeah.

BAY: And they were, I think, uh, they were under the Levi Buyout. Its my belief, anyway, that well theyre never gonna let five airlines go out, and if they do, they won't last long.


BAY: I think that was kind of the attitude. And, uh, everybody was fooled by it. So, in terms of the communitys support, I dont recall that we had any, you know, real outpouring of support, uh, from the community. Uh, I just, uh, I 01:55:00think everybody was kind of waiting for it to get over, you know, and thinking it -- itll be over, you know, it just won't be long. But, uh, you know, uh, travel then, business travel then was probably not as big a deal as it is today. I mean, it was -- it was big, you know, but not near what it is today. And, even with five major airlines, there weren't probably this number of flights in the air, you know, at one time, that there are today, in the air.


BAY: But it did, uh, it did affect, you know, the delivery of mail, it did affect a lot of cargo shipments. So, but I dont recall anything, you know -- and unlike, uh, you know, the Eastern strike, which was much later, but it was, 01:56:00uh, more high profile. And, of course, it had, uh, you know, the players, uh, you know, the Lorenzos, and the Bates, and those characters that, uh, you know, were the -- what they were listed as worst bosses ever, or something like that.

BERNSTEIN: It gets peoples attention.

BAY: Yeah.


BAY: And plus, it was, uh, they had the -- the whole labor community, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Involved, yeah, absolutely.

BAY: Involved throughout the country.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. So was your neighborhood, where you lived, was there mostly -- was there widespread support for labor, or not even an issue?

BAY: It was mixed, it was mixed. Um, one of my neighbors, uh, two of my neighbors worked for TWA, uh, as mechanics. One of them was pro-union, and one 01:57:00of them was not. And he was -- lived right next door to me. You know, but --


BAY: -- but then we had oneother neighbor that worked for TWA, he was in the, uh, training department. And one was a lawyer, they were, you know, the Moores were, you know, sympathetic. They weren't opposed to it, you know -- they weren't anti. But, uh, its like -- its like so much, you know, you go out the door, you're singing, you're swinging the lunch pail, but then, after the first week, and the second week, and the third week, and then you start to, you know, things get a little -- a little more intense. And, you know, the pocketbook gets a little more strained too quite a bit. But no, I dont, uh, I 01:58:00dont recall anything other than there was a lot of publicity, because it was such a major dispute, and uh, well, it even, you know, Siemiller took on the, uh -- the, uh -- the, uh, carriers lawyer who was bargaining for them on television.


BAY: That was a big thing. And, uh, he really did a beautiful job of, uh, you know, putting forth, uh, the unions case, and, you know, saying that, uh, you know, were a democratic organization, and the members have spoken, and they have, you know, declared a strike and we need to find a resolution to it. And, you know, uh, we were really proud of, uh, Roy Siemiller over there, he did a good job. Much to, I think, the publics surprise, I think he swayed a lot of 01:59:00the public.


BAY: But Lyndon wasnt happy, so he had the pressure on, he had to get those airlines back in the air.

BERNSTEIN: So then in 1978, what happens?

BAY: 78, um, we had, uh -- yeah, we -- deregulation, I think, was, uh, about to take affect, or did take affect, I know in the 80s we suffered through deregulation. And, um, the airlines started changing how they, uh, serviced different cities. You know, they went to a hub, spoke system.


BAY: TWA made a lot of changes, um, with their maintenance facilities, and, uh, 02:00:00some of their spokes and hubs, you know, were switched around. And, you know -- and, you know, hindsight is always better than foresight, but they probably made some -- some, uh, you know, serious errors in where the -- where they placed their, uh, support, you know, where they -- where they really wanted to go. They probably, uh, you know, they expanded into -- into a lot of the international markets. And, uh, which they -- they had a lot of markets to begin with, but they went even further. And they got caught up in -- in, uh, some high costs, of planes, and... Of course, we had a lot of management changes, you know, Howard Hughes owned us for, uh, a good many years. And then, you know, when Tillinghast came in, and the courts forced Hughes to sell his interest. And then, uh, Chase 02:01:00Manhattan Bank, uh, when Charles Tillinghast took it over, so, uh, we had a lot of debt brought on by the, you know, changing over to a completely jet fleet back in the late 60s. You know, all of those costs, and the fuel costs were starting rising. And, uh, then we had some bad incidents, you know, with terrorist group who took one of our planes hostage, and. That always -- that always takes a long time to recover and get the confidence of travelers back, you know, when things like that happen. Flight 800 went down in New York. But we had a lot of, uh, management, uh -- and Tillinghast was not -- the airline 02:02:00people were going, even with Hughes, you know, he had, uh, you know, the Jack Frye, uh, the flying people, you know, the people that actually flew airplanes, uh, were there until probably the early 70s, and then Hughes brought in, uh, his people from the Hughes Tool Company. And Hughes -- Hughes was a pilot too, you know, he loved airplanes.


BAY: Um, but the people that were brought in, uh, made some bad decisions, and the -- the debts mounted, then the banks come in, and they throw out all of those people when they take over, and then they form a TWA, uh, Trans World Corporation, and they buy up Hilton, and Canteen, and, uh, Century 21, and I 02:03:00dont know, a bunch of different companies, spin off TWA, they bought it with TWAs money, they kicked TWA out, without any capital, and tell them now youve got to -- you're on your own. So, it was hard to survive in a deregulated industry, and you had all of those upstart airlines. And then Lorenzo comes along and, uh, creates all of that havoc with Texas Air and Texas Corps and Eastern and Continental, and even makes an attempt to buy TWA. And, uh, he used to work for TWA at one time.


BAY: He was -- he was in the, uh, finance department.

BERNSTEIN: I didnt know that.

BAY: Yeah.


BAY: So, um, we took the devils disciple, which was Carl Icahn, forced him out of the play, paid him about 40-50 million, I think, somewhere around 40 02:04:00million, just to get out of the game. And it was all downhill from there.


BAY: With Carl Icahn.

BERNSTEIN: Now you know all about all of this now, did you know about it all at the time?

BAY: All -- all of what? What do you mean?

BERNSTEIN: The ins and outs of the fortunes of TWA. I mean, youre still servicing your members, and --

BAY: Oh yeah, we --

BERNSTEIN: -- dealing with day to day arbitration, and you know, on the spot issues, but you also had a fairly good sense of the larger picture?

BAY: Yeah because we had to deal with those individuals. You know, they all brought in their legal staffs, and their -- and then they made changes in the structure, the reporting, and the handling of the problems. They went from regional to national and back to regional.



BAY: And, uh, then they moved their headquarters from -- first, it was in New York, then it was in Kansas City, and then it goes back to New York, and then it goes to Monte Crisco, where Icahn is from, one of his buildings. So, uh, we had to deal with these people, almost on a day to day basis.

BERNSTEIN: So it affected you--

BAY: Yeah, it did, so --

BERNSTEIN: --in a big way, its not a question of keeping in touch.

BAY: We tried to know where they came from --

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah.

BAY: -- you know, what -- what their background was. And -- and, uh, you know, whether we could deal with them or not. Find that out fairly quick. But, um, so no, we -- we followed the traffic, pretty much, we -- we wanted to know who was in the drivers seat, and where they came from, you know, and what their track record was. So, we made it a point to --

BERNSTEIN: And you get appointed to an arbitration board? You become an arbitration board member at some point in here, right?

BAY: Yeah, I -- I took over the, uh, right after the strike, along with being 02:06:00the communications director, I was appointed, uh, by the newly elected boss, which was called a, uh, president and general chairman. So the arbitration board, because at that time, instead of having one board member, we had five. We had one in LA, one in San Francisco, one in New York, one in Philadelphia, and one in Chicago. And what was happening to us was, uh, the hearings were being held in those different areas, and the same issue decided, like, for -- for example on an overtime issue would be different in LA than it was in Chicago.


BAY: So, when you had a problem in New York, theyd take their pick, or create a new, you know, argument.

BERNSTEIN: Right, yep.

BAY: So we were all over the map, you know? We -- we had -- we had no real rule. 02:07:00I mean, there was just -- so, like I said, Schwind was really a smart man. He -- he said were going to consolidate them all. Were going to bring it in house, were going to have one board member, one arbitration for the panel member for the union. You know, were going to know whats going on everywhere. So when we started to bring it all in house, we had hundreds of cases that were pending arbitration for years.


BAY: Hundreds of them, you know! And some of them had files, some of them didnt, so I had to go around and try to put it all together, and came back with boxes of grievances. So, you know, we sorted through them and, uh, decided we just can't arbitrate these things. You know, theres not enough money, and theres ot enough time. Uh, lets categorize them, pick, you know, identify the issues, and, uh, well make it an issue at arbitration, I mean, at bargaining. You know, resolve that problem, change the contract, so it reflects 02:08:00the current, you know, understanding of the parties. That was a big undertaking, to -- but a lot of the grievances were multiples of the same thing, you know, violations of the same type of problem. So, but sorting through it was -- was a time consuming project, but its one we did. And then we set them all aside, and took them to our -- took them to bargaining, and set up a special committee, you know, to review all of these grievances.


BAY: And then they had to go back, and we had to go back, and make sure that everybody was going to be, you know, agreeable, amenable, or whatever, who understood the issues and how we were going to change it. And thats what we did. A lot of them, we got no monetary settlement, but we got a contract change that solved that problem, eliminated that problem. Then we had the -- the 02:09:00regular, the run of the mill arbitrations, had a lot of terminations. Uh, some, uh, jurisdictional issues, you know, job-related cases. And, uh, which you always have. So then we would schedule those. We -- we changed our panel too, we changed, uh, changed the way we did -- we handled arbitration in the contract with, uh, different procedures. So you had different procedures to go through, and steps. And, uh, the way to select arbitrators, the way to remove them, because before, you couldnt even remove them.


BAY: You had a fixed panel.


BAY: Well, they had a guaranteed job, they weren't going to give that up, so what do you do? You know, you get -- Ill give you -- you win now, you lose -- you win next time, you know? At least thats the way it appeared to us. So by 02:10:00having the threat of, you know, all we wants a fair decision, thats all we want.


BAY: You know, we dont want spec -- any special treatment, but we want a fair, you know, decision. And for the most part, uh, the arbitrators, we had a good panel, and -- and some -- some never agreed with every decision, but I think it ended up doing a lot, working -- working well for us, much better than it did in the past. So that was the arbitration, and then, uh, and I, uh, eventually, uh, started to turn that over to another person. Uh, so that, you know, we could keep on top of it. And then we changed our system, where instead of me handling all of the cases, uh, I would bring in the representative who had processed the case, and he would present it, and I would serve on the board as 02:11:00the union member of the board.


BAY: Uh, and, uh, he would make the presentation, and be responsible for it, and I would help him, you know, develop the case, and put it on. And, you know, we worked together to prepare. But that way, the politics got taken out of the grievance procedure somewhat, because, you know, its easy to file a grievance and process it on up.


BAY: But if youve got to handle it at the end of the day --

BERNSTEIN: You need to be more --

BAY: You know, youre going to have to -- (laughter)


BAY: Thats right, because, you know --

BERNSTEIN: You gotta have --

BAY: Its your ox thats going to get gored, you know, at the end of the day.


BAY: Plus, it worked better for us too, because, you know, you had to -- the grievance procedure is, works only if the parties are, uh, have -- have issues that they honestly can't agree on. Theyre real -- you know, really real issues.


BAY: But if they just, you know, just dont want to agree on it, thats a 02:12:00different problem.

BERNSTEIN: If they just want to complain?

BAY: Yeah, or if they just want it -- want it their way.


BAY: So, we had some -- uh, some issues with some grievance -- arbitration comes to mind. We had to arbitrate, uh, the word all.

BERNSTEIN: The word all?



BAY: Uh, we were told that, uh, our contract said that all maintenance performed in and about company facilities owned, leased, or operated would be performed by mechanics, union mechanics. And, uh, they did some -- they moved some of the work to a -- to a leased facility, and hired outside people to do the work.

BERNSTEIN: Non-union?

BAY: Non-union.



BAY: So, uh, we filed a grievance, and their position was all does not mean everything. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: OK, then. (laughter)

BAY: You know?

BERNSTEIN: It seems like a fairly weak position from the get go.

BAY: Well, so they took us to task, and we went to arbitration. And, uh, all doesnt mean everything, but everything doesnt mean all either. So, the contract is pretty clear on what it said that all meant. All work performed in and about company owned, leased, or operated, they dont have to own it, would be, you know -- so we won that case. (laughter) But we had to go to arbitration.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

BAY: And we had one other one that I just want to mention, Ill make it real quick, because its another funny one like that. We had the -- we took -- we negotiated language that, uh, gave the mechanics on the flight lines, the airports, and so forth, what we called a line premium pay. Which was additional 02:14:00money because they had to work out in inclement weather and so forth. And it was our way of trying to -- a way to elevate their wages a little bit above -- above the others because they -- they were, you know, more responsible --

BERNSTEIN: Working under more difficult conditions.

BAY: Yeah, yeah.


BAY: But then we also had the poor baggage handlers that were out there loading bags in the same kind of weather.

BERNSTEIN: Same weather, yeah.

BAY: Right?

BERNSTEIN: Same place.

BAY: So, we decided, well, lets just call it, uh, you know, a line premium pay. Dont link it to the mechanics or anybody, everybody gets a nickel an hour more for working the line. And, you know, because of -- they're exposed to the elements. Well, TWA decided that, uh, this was in the 70s now, so -- mid-70s, so they were into computers pretty heavy. So they decided they could compute, and split that nickel by the amount of time you spent actually working 02:15:00on the airplane that was at the -- that flew in and landed, how much time you spent, you know, taking bags in there to load them, and the plane was on the ground for an hour or so, you had one hour, they didnt want to pay the full eight hours. So they just started whittle -- whittling away at that.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, and they figured they could take away the hour -- nickel per hour when you were inside for a little bit.

BAY: When you weren't physically --


BAY: -- doing the airplane, right? OK. So, along with that, they made the argument that you have, uh, a 10 minute lunch, a 10 minute break twice a day, and you have a 30 minute lunch period, and a five minute wash up at the end of the day. But we can -- we can interrupt those at any time, because it doesnt 02:16:00-- it doesnt -- they would take your 30 minute lunch period and say OK, youre going to take 10 minutes now, go out there and work that airplane, and were going to take 20 minutes later to go eat your lunch, so they would interrupt your lunch. Or theyd waive your break period, so youve got to do this, uh, forget the break period, and, uh, well give it to you later, and so they give you five here and five there, so we said no, no, wait a minute, thats not the intent of the language. Well, the language doesnt say that its five consecutive minutes, or 30 consecutive minutes, so we can break it up. So, we named that the Woodley Amendment, because that was his -- he was the Industrial Relations vice president. We took that to bargaining, and everywhere in that contract, its the only contract in the industry now -- well, it doesnt exist anymore, where there was time, there was consecutive, five 02:17:00consecutive minutes, 10 consecutive minutes, 30 consecutive minutes for lunch, eight consecutve minutes for the hours of the day, you know? They like to [have] died, they did not want that to go in the contract, you know? Well, you guys created the problem.


BAY: So were not going to have that issue anymore, its consecutive, thats what it was -- thats the way its always been interpreted, and were not going to arbitrate it, were going to make you eat it, and its going to go in the contract, so thats what we did. So --

BERNSTEIN: That -- thats funny.

BAY: (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: So, organizing drives were not, uh, something you had a lot to do with, because youre mostly -- your territory is airline shops where theyre union shops.

BAY: Pretty much, but --

BERNSTEIN: Is that right?


BAY: Uh, at that time, most of the, uh, airlines were under some kind of a union shop. But there were startups. So, then it started to become, uh, organizing targets. And, uh, a lot of our work got in -- when we had organizing it was as a result of mergers, or, um, bankruptcies that, uh, forced changes, and we were bought up. Um, consolidations, like -- like Northwest took Central -- Central Airlines became Republic, because it merged a couple airlines, and Northwest bought Republic, so we had all of those. Well, you had -- once you put those two together, you had different unions representing them. So, we would have organizing drives to represent the whole...

BERNSTEIN: To see who would be the --


BAY: Whole unit.

BERNSTEIN: -- new representative.

BAY: But it usually ended up being one union takes all, youre not going to have, you know, half of your workforce doing the same work represented by two different unions. So we would have those kinds of, uh, organizing activities. They were, you know, as a result of the mergers or acquisitions. But then we had the, you know, the new startups that would come along, like Air Wisconsin, and Big Sky, and so we would -- we would bring them to try to organize in, and we had organizing drives to do that.


BAY: But they weren't as big as they are now, theres not as many of them, you know, at that time.


BAY: In the airlines. They were going on, but, you know, you had the -- you didnt have, like, the JetBlues, and the --

BERNSTEIN: Southwest.

BAY: Yeah. Southwest, we -- we rep -- we represented always.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, no kidding?

BAY: Yeah, well, I shouldnt say always, because the Teamsters had them, and then we -- uh, Teamsters had the mechanics, and then we made -- we had, uh, the 02:20:00ramp and passenger services, still do. And, uh, uh -- but see, thats what makes, you know, the, uh, the talk about, that unions are, you know, make it, you know, too costly to survive in -- in this environment. Southwest has been an organized airline for as long as I can remember, you know? Some of the groups are no longer -- I think their mechanics now are not organized by anybody. But, uh, most of their pilots are -- belong to unions, their flight attendants belong to unions, their passenger service and reservations, which are huge, belong to the Machinist Union.


BAY: Uh, they're the only profitable airline out there, and have been for, I dont know, what, 40 quarters they brag about now? You know, even in this climate?


BAY: So, um --


BERNSTEIN: Worth noting.

BAY: Yes, yes, it is.

BERNSTEIN: So you become a grand -- grand lodge rep?

BAY: I did. Um, Winpisinger was my, um, asked me to join the international staff in 1978, which I -- I had no -- you know, I was shocked, you know? I mean, I was, you know, working and doing my job there, and enjoying it. But it was, uh, an opportunity that I had never considered, I never thought about, but, you know, one that you couldnt hardly say no to.

BERNSTEIN: And did that mean moving at that point?

BAY: Well, ah, it did. Um, uh, Peterpaul was the vice president of transportation. Working under -- Wimpy was the International president at that time, I think. Well...


BERNSTEIN: I think he comes in in 77, so --

BAY: 77, OK, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: So he could've -- would've been fairly new --

BAY: OK, yeah --

BERNSTEIN: -- But he wouldve been there.

BAY: I was pretty sure it was him, yeah.


BAY: So, uh, and he was the transportation vice president before Peterpaul, so he handled the airlines too, so he was familiar with all the airlines.


BAY: But, uh, so, uh, John, uh, I had to report to John Peterpaul, and he wanted me to go to, uh, Denver, move to Denver, which was not very far from Kansas City. And so I talked to him, I says, you know, John, Ill go anywhere you want, but I hate to move to Denver, or anywhere, and then next week, you say you want me working in Miami, or LA, because thats the nature of our business, you know? And, uh, he says well, I need you in either Denver or Seattle is where I need you. I said, well, you know, we travel anywhere, we have free transportation, so, uh, you know, I -- I would rather not move, but if you -- if 02:23:00you think that I need to, Ill do that. But why dont we just try it and see if -- if you have a problem with it, then Ill move, you know?


BAY: All right, he says, yeah, because he was an airline guy too. He says OK, thats fair enough. So the first assignment I got was Alaska. And I thought oh my God. Did he not agree with me, and now Im going to Alaska? (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: So I get assigned to Alaska to, uh -- we had a lot of internal problems, uh, with, uh, the organization. We had, you know, the transportation of the regular territory people that we were working, and we had a lot of airline business up there at that time. We had, Northwest was flying everywhere, and -- and, uh, uh, Alaskan Airlines, and we had all kinds of little stations. So, anyway, I went up there, and it was a legitimate assignment, and, uh, I loved it 02:24:00up there.


BAY: It was wonderful. So I would, uh, stay there two or three weeks at a time, and visit all of the stations, and try to get a handle on things. And, uh, come back, come home, and you know, then get another assignment. So, I got to where I could just travel back and forth there, like, once a month, spend a few days, and then do other assignments. And, uh, of course, then, you know, the bottom fell out of the airlines, uh, pretty quick, then we had, uh, uh -- you know, we had the issues with, uh, Braniff, Braniff Airlines went down. Uh, they expanded to the point where they just couldnt, uh, meet their bills, you know, they just went too fast, too big, bought too many airplanes. Eastern did the same 02:25:00thing. So they all got strapped for cash, you know, during that -- during the 70s. And thats when Lorenzo came along, you know, and, uh, uh, created the havoc in the industry. So I got, uh, uh, after I had an assignment to put together Southern and Northwest -- or Republic, I guess it was, uh, out of Atlanta, Southern Airlines. So we -- uh, Republic Airlines bought Southern, and we did that merger. And then we did the Hughes Air West and, uh, I think that was Republic also, out of Phoenix, and it was before Northwest bought Republic. So I got assigned to Phoenix, that took --


BAY: -- that took about another year. And then thats when things started happening with, uh, I think it was 79 or 80, maybe it was 80, in the 02:26:00early 80s, that Braniff filed bankruptcy. And, um, uh, they asked me to go to Dallas to work out of that office, because we represented, uh, the Braniff people there at that overhaul facility in Dal/Fort. And, uh, of course, that district there also represented Continental. And, uh, the, uh, foreign flag carriers, we had Mexicana, AeroMexico, and Southwest. So, we, uh, we had problems internally, we had to, uh, uh, suspend the district, and the old timer that was there, it was Faircloth, L.T. Faircloth, and he was not in good health. So he asked me to stay and work with him, because I was the airline guy, he wasnt. And, uh, I did, and we worked, uh, through Bran -- Braniffs first, 02:27:00uh, uh, you know, emerging on a bank -- first bankruptcy.


BAY: And then, uh, uh, that didnt last too long, and then we had all kinds of problems with the facility there. And the Pritzker family out of Chicago bought, uh, the interest of Braniff, and then they tried to reorganize it and crank it up again, and we had a lot of bargaining going on with them to try to, you know, work out the details of what they wanted to do. So we worked on that, and during that time, Continental goes on strike. So my six week assignment -- assignment to Texas ended up being about six years before I left there, you know, commuting back and forth from Kansas City every week. And, um, then, of course, the 02:28:00Eastern strike, and Texas Air, you know, all of that went down, and I was working between Dallas and Houston, uh, all on those carriers. And I was pretty lucky, because the, uh, the CWA had an active group in Houston, and they were really helpful.


BAY: They, uh, uh, they had an office there, and I could work out of their office. And they would always, you know, provide help for -- they were -- they were really very good. And we had good -- good field people there also. Because that strike just went on, and on, and on. And we had a lot of demonstrations, and --

BERNSTEIN: The Eastern strike?

BAY: Yeah, the Eastern strike, yeah. And, uh, and the Continental, it was almost simultaneous. You know, but he had -- he took Continental.


BAY: Just took it over. And, uh, then he started piece-mealing it, you know, so 02:29:00you couldnt tell the difference between the two, and it was -- and then, you know, we just never could settle that Eastern strike.

BERNSTEIN: So you -- were you still involved in communications? I mean, were you involved in getting public support?

BAY: Oh yeah, theyre -- I mean, you know, we tried, uh, as much as we could to get as much, you know, publicity as we could. Uh, of the dispute, and what it all meant. And all of it helped, because we had to go to federal bankruptcy court there in Houston.


BAY: And, uh, it was a joke, you know, Flowers was the, uh, judge there, federal judge. You know, we (laughter), we staged a, uh, we -- uh, rented a big flatbed trailer, and in the middle of the night, parked it in front of the federal 02:30:00courthouse there, where the meters were. And, uh, had money to put in -- money in the meters, because we blocked about four or five meters. And we staged a mock bankruptcy court proceeding.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) Out on the street?

BAY: On the street, right in front of the courthouse, and before the courthouse opened. We were all ready there, we had a big trash barrel, had a bunch of contracts, and I got my biggest guy, put him in a black robe, he was the judge, on a table up there on that platform. And he was sitting there, we had everybody lined up, all crying, sniffling, and had their contract in their hand, and didnt know whats going to happen to them, and you know, and, uh, the judge had listened to their complaints, take their contract, throw it in the trash.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Thats a pretty --

BAY: They called -- they called --


BERNSTEIN: -- clear dramatization.

BAY: They called right away, and I got a call from our legal counsel, what are you doing in Houston? I said, were only having a little demonstration on, you know, the function of this court. Get that damn trailer out of there! (laughter) So, we finished up, uh, as quickly as we could, and we got our trailer out of there, but we made our point. So, we had a lot of things like that.

BERNSTEIN: Thats a good one, yeah.

BAY: So, we had air balloons, uh, the pilots, uh, were, you know, from Texas Air were, uh -- and, I mean, from Continental, and some of them joined from Texas Air, and had a big, uh, uh, they were very active. So they would do a hot air balloon demonstration, and -- or theyd do flyarounds with private planes, and then, uh, they would bring coffins, and -- and put Eastern Airlines, and you 02:32:00know, and watch through the esplanade area there on the -- on the Eastex freeway. And, you know, every opportunity we had, you know, we tried to, uh, show the public what -- what was happening, you know? And it was news, and -- and sometimes, we -- wed get some pretty good coverage. But Texas was pretty much, you know --

BERNSTEIN: Its not a union-friendly state.

BAY: No, mm mm.


BAY: No, we even went to -- to Lorenzos house and marched around it a few times, and, uh, you know, so they finally prevented us from doing it, but, you know, you can get it done once, you get a little publicity and then try to find something else to do.


BAY: So. But it was a difficult time.

BERNSTEIN: What did you think about the -- the way it ended?


BAY: Not a good ending. Uh, but, you know, theres a lot of blame to go around. Uh, I dont know, you know, I wasnt directly involved with, uh, in the bargaining on Eastern, but, yeah, just -- it looked like, uh, we had opportunities to resolve that strike, and we got so close, but we just couldnt quite, you know, get over that edge. And I think a lot of, uh, we had a lot of personality problems, you know. Borman, who was the, uh, CEO at that time, you know, he was the former astronaut, Frank Borman. He was a pretty decent man, I thought. And, you know, and I still think so. Uh, but it was hard 02:34:00times for him too. You know, his -- his company was, you know, bleeding, uh, to death financially, and --


BAY: And we were hurting in other ways that he couldnt, you know, help as much as, maybe, he -- he may have wanted to, and he couldnt, you know? You know, as we look back now, we can see some of those things, but at the time, when youre there and you're so close to it, and you dont -- you can't really -- and you dont have that -- that view, you know, that viewpoint.


BAY: But, and no, it didnt end well, but I think deregulation, when you look at what deregulation has done, every airline, including [unclear] even American, was the only one that escaped, has filed for bankruptcy, and its -- and most of them are gone. If theyre not, theyve been absorbed, or consolidated with --


BAY: Theyve lost -- uh, you know, they're no longer in existence as -- as 02:35:00they once were. So deregulation was supposed to, uh, improve, uh, you know, and expedite the handling of some of the brute structures and fare things, which the CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] did a terrible job, I mean, they procrastinated for years on some of those issues. You couldnt live with that. So the idea was that you'd allow the free market to play, and (laughter) -- and, uh, let the free market, you know, take charge of everything. Well, this is what you got, you know? And, uh, we do have cheaper airfares, but we dont have anything to go with it, no frills, absolutely none.

BERNSTEIN: Thats for sure.

BAY: You know? But, you know, the airlines were -- were, uh, going broke the 02:36:00other way. So they had to be -- and they had to make a change, but they went from one extreme to the other. And, you know, so were faced with that situation today, its really.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, the consequences.

BAY: Yeah. So, uh, as a result, I think Wimpys prediction is coming about. And he said -- predicted many years ago that were going to have three major airlines, with this new regulation, thats where its going to. And were almost there, and if American buys up, uh, USAir, thats where were at.

BERNSTEIN: Thats it.

BAY: Its all over with.

BERNSTEIN: Its extraordinary, isn't it?

BAY: You know what thats going to do to our travel. You know, were going to be at the mercy of them, price wise and otherwise.

BERNSTEIN: Mm hmm, yeah, absolutely. So, did you -- you stayed in Kansas City 02:37:00and went out to do your job as grand lodge rep, and eventually, you said you became internal affairs?

BAY: International affairs.

BERNSTEIN: Ah, I just can't read my writing, sorry!

BAY: Yeah, international affairs. Um --

BERNSTEIN: That makes so much more sense, OK.

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: How did you get to that? BAY: Well, uh, the fellow that was there, had been there for many years, and he was close to retirement. Hes -- he was -- he, I think, had announced that he was going to be retiring, so they wanted to -- needed to replace him. And, uh, uh, President Kourpias asked me if I would be interested in, you know, doing that kind of work. And I didnt really know what it was, I said, well, let me talk to Ben, and, uh, yeah, I said, you know -- see, I was, at that time -- uh, I had become a grand lodge rep in 78, so I was already on the International staff.


BERNSTEIN: Even though you stayed based in Kansas City?

BAY: Yes, right.


BAY: So, uh, uh, this was, like, 1990. And, uh, Ben was -- Ben had worked in the Peace Corps, and hed, uh, travelled all over the world, and lived with everybody the way they lived. So, he was one of those, you know, very adaptable individuals that loved the work he did, and he impressed me very much, and, uh, I decided I -- I think Id like to do that kind of work. So, um, I accepted, and, uh, uh, what the, uh, international affairs department was doing at that time was working with the Metal Workers Federation out of Geneva, which we were affiliated with from the -- from the very beginning.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.


BAY: We were, you know, and official affiliate of it. And, uh, they would, uh, try to conduct a training, or meetings with, uh, in these countries where unions were actually outlawed, you know, illegal, and try to help them develop a union program or a training program, and assist them in trying to get, you know, their government to...

BERNSTEIN: To recognize them, yeah.

BAY: Recognize them, you know, so that they could have bargaining rights. So we, uh, Ben had travelled all over the world, you know, in very remote areas. And our first trip was to, uh, Nairobi, Kenya. And, uh, it just happened to be, um, in, uh, we were in London, uh, getting ready to go to catch a flight to Nairobi, and we had visited his sisters, his sisters lived in England. And, uh, we were 02:40:00going to the airport to catch our flight, and Im looking and seeing tanks at the airport, and, you know, big convoys of trucks, military trucks. And I said, Ben, whats going on here? Ah, I dont know, its the English, you know, who knows what, theyre probably on maneuvers or something, I was being so silly. Man, I dont know, this dont look good to me, you know, why would they be at this airport, you know, tanks? Ah, not a big deal. So we get in, catch our airplane, were flying, the pilot comes on and he says if you look out the right window, youll see these tracers, theyre not shooting stars, the Gulf War has started. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

BAY: So, oh, here we go.

BERNSTEIN: While youre in the air!


BAY: Yeah, yeah. So, Desert Storm had begun. So that was, uh, we get to -- get to Nairobi, and, uh, one of the -- one of the ways that governments prevented the, uh, unions -- I mean, the, uh, activists from forming unions is they would also prevent them from travelling. And, uh, so we would try to have meetings in places where we could bring people in from different countries where we couldnt hold meetings in that country because, you know, they were fearful of their lives and so forth. But then they would, (laughter) engage these other governments, and I guess, use some form of coercion. And these poor people would come there, they would come to our meeting, and they -- they -- Customs wouldnt let them...

BERNSTEIN: Wouldnt let them in.

BAY: Put them back on the airport -- get them back on the airplanes, send em back home. So thats what was happening to us with, uh, some of the countries like, uh, Zimbabwe, and you know, Nigeria, and others around there that were 02:42:00supposed to come to this first meeting for us. And, uh, then we had the Gulf War going on. So, we had a lax period there, and so, uh, Bens buddy that was the regional guy for the IMF there, um, his name was Ben also, Ben Udogwu, decided to loan us his Mercedes, and his driver to go ride -- and take a ride in the bush, show Alex around, you know, show him the bush country and everything. So we went out for the day, and little did we know -- so we took nothing with us, but the driver lived near this -- this, uh, camp, this big, uh, tourist camp that the Europeans used, and he was wanting to get there to go home for -- for the day, you know? And we thought we were going to go out and back. So hes driving, and theres no roads, once you leave, you know, two minutes out of 02:43:00Nairobi, its dirt and rocks, you know? So hes hurrying along, you know, driving as fast as he can, going up and down these gulleys, and I said, you know, you're going to -- you're going to tear something up, this is not a truck. Oh no, its OK, its OK. Boom, he hits a rock, and Im looking back and you can see the oil behind us. So, you know, he has to shut her off, and then were waiting for help, theres no roads, everybody makes their own road. And eventually, somebody stops, uh, to, uh -- in a big truck to pick us up, and they drag us to this camp. And, uh, the mechanic is not there to -- to weld the -- the hole in the pan, so we have to stay overnight in this very exclusive, you know, camp in -- in the bush. And we, uh, we had tents, they had showers, and 02:44:00you know, (laughter) facilities, and everything. I mean, they were really, really nice facilities. Wonderful, fancy dinner, theyre all dressed in their, you know, best clothing, and were filthy. So, we, uh, we enjoyed the stay there, and had to chase the elephants off, and the baboons kept dropping nuts on the camp -- on the tent all night long, Bens snoring, and I couldnt sleep. But, uh, we finally got our car fixed later the next day, and when we took a tour of all of the areas, all of the wild animals, it was about $300 a night to stay there. But we had no choice, and then we got back. Then it was a problem trying to get home, because, you know, the American airlines, I mean, all of the 02:45:00US airlines were being, you know, sort of, uh, boycotted, and there was worry that terrorists might be --

BERNSTEIN: Right, yeah.

BAY: So we had to find -- my wife, you know, was panicked. You know, well, she was worried, because she never -- couldnt get ahold of me, and that was another story. But anyway, between her and George, they made arrangements, uh, for me to fly on SwissAir and get back home, you know? And, uh, now, I mean --

BERNSTEIN: Quite an introduction to your new job. (laughter)

BAY: That was the introduction, right, and it was quite an introduction.

BERNSTEIN: Now, did you have to move --

BAY: No.

BERNSTEIN: -- From Kansas City? Because, once again, you were going to be travelling from anywhere.

BAY: Yeah, I was going to be travelling. But the object was to, you know, think about moving, you know, and I did, I got an apartment in, uh, in -- in 02:46:00Washington, D.C., on K Street, not far from the building. So I was, you know, between both places. But mostly I was gone. You know, those trips were --


BAY: -- two or three weeks, you know, at a time.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah.

BAY: Usually. And, uh, so we did, uh, we did quite a bit of travelling, and I wasnt -- didnt stay there that long, because then I was asked again to make a move. But, uh, I travelled to some wonderful places. Uh, went to Japan, went to, uh, Bruno, Czechoslovakia, to Swaziland, to South Africa.

BERNSTEIN: And these were mostly for meetings with the international...

BAY: With, yeah, with the metal workers.

BERNSTEIN: Metal workers.


BAY: Yeah, and trade unions that were affiliated. See, the IMF, uh, has a -- probably, theres about, uh, theres over 25 million members in the Metal Workers Federation, and theres at least 100 or more unions.


BAY: And then, uh, I mean, uh, 200 or more unions in about 100 different countries that theyre in. So, um, they would have regional meetings, and then, uh, they would bring in different people to -- to training, or educating, or just, you know, meet with them.


BAY: Mainly, these were, uh, these people were vey -- very educated. You know, they were -- they weren't, uh -- they -- they knew what it was, and what they needed to do, and stuff, but they either didnt have the money, or facilities, or equipment, like computers, or printers, or typewriters, whatever you could give them. So we provided them with a lot of material things. But as far as educating them, mostly, we shared our experiences with them, and, you know, 02:48:00listened to them to see if there was any way that what they were experiencing, that we could get -- offer them any help or advice, you know? And, uh, much like, uh, what were doing here, when we get together, you know, its, uh, they talk about their stories, and -- and, uh, how they tried to solve it, what their success or failures were. So, uh, but I never knew people that were more devoted, or committed, to the work that they were trying to do. You know, a lot of them, you know, did it in high risk.


BAY: You know, personal risk, to themselves. You know, most of them did it because even in South Africa, at that time, apartheid was still going on. You know, if you had two or more people meeting on a corner, you couldnt assemble, that was an assembly. And, we had -- when we had our meetings there, 02:49:00we had to meet secretly, or at least we thought secretly, I dont know how secret you could meet there with what was going on.

BERNSTEIN: Probably, people were secretly watching you.

BAY: Oh yeah. And you never knew that.


BAY: And you didnt know who -- who to trust, so it was pretty -- pretty touchy. And it was sad to see those townships, and the way that people were being treated, you know? All people -- people of all color. If you had any color at all that wasnt white, you had no rights in South Africa. You know, it was a terrible, terrible thing.

BERNSTEIN: And did you come home and share -- did most of the members know what you were doing? I mean, was there -- what about that piece of it?

BAY: Well --

BERNSTEIN: About bringing it back to the, sort of, local membership?

BAY: As far as the international affairs end of it, I dont think a lot of the -- our members, understood, or were exposed, or knew about what was going on there. And, uh, thats probably a -- a lot our fault, because we didnt do a 02:50:00lot of, uh, communicating on that aspect of it. But it was sort a, uh, you know, a side thing that were doing, had been doing for years, and, uh, had really no direct, you know, uh, effect or reflection on our members.


BAY: Uh, and yet it did, you know, because it was very fundamental, uh, unionism, you know? And, uh, I mean, and look whats happened now, you know, around the world. I mean, all of our works gone.

BERNSTEIN: And the thing we need more than anything else on the planet is an international group.

BAY: Thats right, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: that has some voice.

BAY: Right, right. Because if you raise -- you raise those boats, and guess where the waters coming, its coming back this way, you know? And, uh, so 02:51:00-- no, and I dont think they still under -- uh, get exposed as much to -- I think more so now than before, but still not as much as they probably should know about the importance of that.


BAY: In fact, one quick story. Uh, Brian Fredricks was, uh, my, uh, equivalent, I guess, or I was his equivalent, but we worked together anyway, on the -- uh, with -- after Ben [Charlman?] retired, and he was from South Africa, and he was a man of color. He was Chinese, African, and Indian. So, um, wherever we went in South Africa at that time, of course, you know, he had to be careful where he went, but he grew up there, he was my age. Uh, a little younger, about five years younger. And, uh, had never voted, they weren't allowed to vote. People of 02:52:00color weren't allowed to vote. So, uh, when apartheid did end, uh, we sent representatives there from the head -- from the union to assist at the polls.


BAY: You know, as poll watchers, to make sure that the elections were held. And I think Brian was in his early 50s when he cast his first vote. And, uh, he had to wait in line, I think, three or four hours to vote. So I had brought him back to Kansas City one time to visit. And, uh, took him to the overhaul base at TWA. And I dont remember if it was before or after this apartheid, but to show you how -- how much ignorance exists, I was introducing him around, you know, the people that I knew from, you know, working in the hangar and everything. And one 02:53:00of the big shop stewards there, uh, wanted to know where he was from, and he told him. And, uh, oh, South Africa, yeah. He says, well, you guys got unions there? Yeah, weve got unions, we, you know, we dont have all of the privileges that your unions do, but... Well, he says, um, he says, uh, uh, and -- and I guess Brian was telling him, you know, were not allowed to vote. Oh, he says, you guys just, um, you know, you work a little harder, and eventually, youll get the right to vote. You know, its just a matter of, uh, time, says yeah, its, you know, youve just got to work a little harder at it. And Im thinking to myself, my god --

BERNSTEIN: He knows nothing.

BAY: I felt so, Im so embarrassed, you know? But Brian took it well. I mean, he -- he, uh, he was really a very gracious person. And I told him after, I 02:54:00apologized to him, he says no, no, no, he says -- he says, not to apologize, he says, people just dont understand, they just dont know. He says, thats, you know --


BAY: But, you know, I find this in a lot of places, not just here. So that just, you know, shows you how much that -- how little they do know about what's going on around --

BERNSTEIN: Anyplace outside of their own, oh yeah.

BAY: -- even out of their yards, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah. Hmm.

BAY: So that was, uh, I truly loved that job. So, when George asked me to become his executive assistant, I had a hard time making that decision, because I didnt want to leave that job. And then, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Did you tell him that?


BAY: Oh yeah, I did. I said, I dont know, George, you know. Oh, he says, uh -- no, he says, I really -- really need you to come across, come over. And I said, well, what are we going to do with that gentleman? He says, oh, you can -- you can still get a -- stay involved, you know, but he says, I need you over on this side. So, uh, but he says, you -- its up to you, you know? That was the toughest decision I ever made, was giving that up.


BAY: Or leaving, you know, because it was -- you see those people out there, and you can see the rewards, I mean, you can see what -- what the work that you do really, you know, goes to work for, I mean, just, you can see it happen. But anyway, uh, I finally made the decision, and, uh, went across, and I wasnt sorry afterwards, but...

BERNSTEIN: To move to D.C.?

BAY: Yeah. And then I -- I was already living there, so it was -- finally, I just decided to make it permanent. Like I, you know, took his, uh, took the 02:56:00assignment, and, uh, we moved to D.C. And, uh, Maryland, Dunkirk, down here, not too far from here. And I stayed there for, uh, from 90 -- probably 92 to 96. I think thats -- I think thats when I left, about four years. And then we had, uh, a tragic accident, one of our vice presidents was killed in an airplane crash.


BAY: In Quincy, Illinois. A fellow that served in the Midwest territory. And the council had to meet to make a replacement, and they appointed me to -- to that 02:57:00position. So that was in December of 96. I became a vice president on the executive council. So then I moved again, you know, to Chicago, where the regional office was. And, uh, another very interesting assignment, uh, much different, uh, than the airlines, was mostly manufacturing, or it was all manufacturing, some big companies, but a lot of small, you know, mom and pop shops, automotive stuff, John Deere, Caterpillar, uh, Briggs & Stratton. (inaudible)

BERNSTEIN: You went from disaster and decline in one industry, to decline in the next industry? (laughter) Right, his is, uh --


BAY: Well, I was going to tell you, when I went into the territory there, we had 120 -- a little over 120,000 members, just in the Midwest territory, we had nine states that belonged -- that was under the jurisdiction of the vice president. And, uh, when I left -- when I retired in 03, we were down below 80,000. And every month Id look at those records, and I asked people from the staff that we had. We had, you know, a pretty good size staff. Where -- where are these members going, what shops are they? I mean, all I see is the numbers just disappearing, but you dont even hear about it, unless theyre big.

BERNSTEIN: Very true, right.

BAY: Like Maytag, and --



BAY: But it was just like hundreds every month. And now, I think you're even down to half that, in that territory. Its devastating. And all of its the manufacturing base.

BERNSTEIN: Right, moving overseas.

BAY: Yeah, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: South, some of it moved south before it moved overseas, or not so much --

BAY: No, a lot of this --

BERNSTEIN: From those kinds of manufacturers?

BAY: -- Ill tell you, some of it just flat closed, like, we had the Revere Ware, just, you know, that was one of our big companies, we had over 1,000-1,200 people there, just shut down, and just shut down. Uh, and I dont -- Im not aware of whether somebody bought them, or --


BAY: You know, but they just finally couldnt compete with all of the silverware and items coming from all over.


BAY: Imports. So, we had a lot of, uh, a lot of different disputes, you know, with the employers. But mostly it was, you know, the manufacturers, it was just 03:00:00that they couldnt compete. And everywhere we -- just about everywhere, we were involved in concessionary bargaining, which, you know, uh, is the beginning of the end, its just a matter of when you do your last concession. And, uh, it always ends up that way. You know, theyll survive for a while, and if theyre serious about surviving, you know, they may -- but most of them are not serious about it. They just knew the end was coming, and they just wanted to extract as much as they could out of it, and close their doors, either move offshore, or just plain close their doors. So you devastated, you know, entire communities, not to mention the lives and the personal, people that were harmed 03:01:00by that.


BAY: You know, its -- its sad out there, and now, of course -- of course, now, its a different story all together, I mean, youve got so many people unemployed, and nowhere to go, because all of them left a long time ago, and theyre still leaving. But I think theres hope.


BAY: Yeah, I really do. Because, you know, like they say, what goes around, comes around. Now, you know, the costs of -- of shipping, are -- are rising to the point where its not cost effective to continue to go offshore and ship it back, and make anything on it. Youre seeing some of it come back this way. Not only because of the --


BERNSTEIN: The economics.

BAY: -- driven by cost, the economics of it.

BERNSTEIN: Not because anybody has actually noticed that it helps to buy American.

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Or do you think thats going to change too? If enough jobs get lost, itll dawn on people?

BAY: I think so. I think its changing now. I think whats going on in Wisconsin, and Ohio, and -- and the -- the kind of, uh, you know, public -- publicity that its getting. Of course, everybody doesnt watch MSNBC like I do. And, you know --

BERNSTEIN: Some of them watch Fox!

BAY: I know, I know. But, you know, God bless guys like Ed Schultz, because hes out there with them. I mean, he was in, uh, Wisconsin, he was in Ohio, hes out there with the Occupy Wall Street people, uh, and -- and, uh, uh, Maddow -- Rachel.



BAY: Shes another one. But, you know, Chris Matthews, and all of them, Chris Hayes, theres just not enough of them on enough channels. And the newspaper is gone, you know, the newspaper, the reading.


BAY: The print press is going. But I really think that -- I think were going to survive it, and its going to come back, on a different form.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. What about the labor movement?

BAY: I think the, uh, I believe the labor movement will have a resurgence, uh, driven by all of the economics, and -- and whats taken place. And I think people are more aware now that its -- these are -- these are the kinds of issues that, you know, what the unions were able to negotiate, others were able to enjoy, you know, because it was, you know, shared, I mean, it was spread out.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, absolutely.

BAY: And, uh, they may not have had to pay for it, you know, or sacrifice for it in any way, but they...


BERNSTEIN: Thats who they owe it to.

BAY: Thats who they owe it to.


BAY: And I think theyre starting to realize it more. And some of the -- even our members that are union people were recognizing the -- giving credit where credit is deserved, and not necessarily thinking that their employer gave it to them, because thats whos taking it away from them now, real quick.


BAY: But the one thing that I think they need to realize, and hopefully, we can drive it home, is that it doesnt -- it doesnt matter how -- how good you can bargain, and how good your contract is, because they can take it all away with the stroke of a pen through legislation, thats whats happening up there in Wisconsin, and Ohio, and Michigan, and all over the country.

BERNSTEIN: And thats why the political --


BAY: And it makes you wonder, how can you -- how can you have legitimate contracts and then have government whether state, federal, or local, take it away from you. You know, theres something wrong with the system there that needs to be fixed.


BAY: And, you know, we need to get active politically and fix it.

BERNSTEIN: I guess so.

BAY: I want to just say one last thing.


BAY: Unification.

BERNSTEIN: Were you involved --

BAY: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: -- At the moment when the Steelworkers, and the Autoworkers, and the Machinists were trying?

BAY: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: Did you think it was going to happen?

BAY: I did.

BERNSTEIN: You really did?

BAY: Yeah. Maybe I was more hopeful and more optimistic than I shouldve been. Uh, but I thought the time was -- was a good time. Now would've been a better time, but you know, uh, it -- it -- it, we had good leadership from all three unions, the presidents were, uh, serious about, you know, looking at it, and 03:06:00they all understood the importance of the strength and, you know, what, uh, the effects of such a unification would bring about for the labor movement. It wouldve been a great thing. There were many obstacles, you know, political, internal --

BERNSTEIN: Structural.

BAY: Structural.


BAY: Policy, and, uh, the leadership, but they were all -- you know, we -- we had, uh, worked through them pretty good. And, uh, I dont know, uh, its a -- it was a big -- it was a big cultural shock to -- a big, you know, jolt culturally for all three unions.



BAY: -- you know, and their members. Because --

BERNSTEIN: Is that -- is that what you think was the final cause?

BAY: Well, I think it was a combination, and I dont -- Im not sure whether it was -- I know that our system, you know, we elect by referendum, the UAW elected by convention delegates.


BAY: Uh, Steelworkers, you know, um, had referendums, but the dues structures were a little different. The -- the, uh, servicing was different too. So, you know, there was a difference, but it wasnt -- I didnt think it was unmanageable, because we all had a lot of, uh, compatible industries that we worked through.



BAY: You know, like, we had automotive stuff, you know, we had members in all of those heavy -- heavy industrial states.


BAY: And we had looked at that, and structurally, it looked like, uh, we could make it work. I mean, we had to work at it, we couldnt o it overnight, we knew that. It wasnt going to happen in, uh, in that timeframe that we were shooting for. But we thought we could get -- get, uh, the format of it out and look at it over time. And it wouldve been, you know, a great thing for the labor movement, and for us, for all three unions.

BERNSTEIN: So you think thats the answer this time around? This time around, it might happen? You said unif -- you said you wanted to say one more thing, unification. You were talking about that?

BAY: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: At first -- not today.

BAY: I was talking about that effort, yeah.


BAY: And, um, thats probably one of my biggest disappointments, because I think it would of - had given us so much momentum.



BAY: And, uh, I just, uh, Im not sure, you know, what brought it down. Well, it had three presidents that were all close to retirement. And, uh, that had a lot to do with it, and I think, uh, uh, Im not sure, uh, how -- I know that, uh, Yokich from the Auto Workers, who, you know, I -- I loved the man, he was -- he was a hard nut, but he, you know, he pleaded his, uh, union, and, uh, he was hard to, you know, to move off of his issues, but once you moved him, you know, it made sense to him, you know, he was there with you. And Becker was, uh, he was another, you know, wonderful leader. Um, understood -- they all understood what this really meant, because they were all -- had been in it for so long.



BAY: But I -- I dont know whether they felt, uh, that, uh, the leadership, how that leadership would work out. You know, who would lead the union.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, thats always a difficult --

BAY: You know, and so, it -- it may have, uh, you know, and it was hard on our members too.


BAY: I mean, they didnt want to be -- they didnt want to have a steel worker or an auto worker leading them, and vice versa, they didnt want the other. So, how do you have three presidents, or how do you wear three hats, or how do you have three hats running one organization? Um, there were some -- some -- a lot of discussion on that, and there were concepts that could've worked, but it would've taken really a lot of cooperation. And really everybody coming together on it.


BERNSTEIN: A lot of commitment.

BAY: So, I just wanted to mention that as, you know, one of the big things that we could've done a lot with that, you know, whether it was some, so much organizing -- and we did a lot, we did do a lot of coordinated, uh, uh, work with, uh, politics, and -- and, uh, we worked on organizing campaigns jointly.


BAY: So you wouldnt have those kinds of conflicts, and youd have, you know, the financial wherewithal, and, uh, the staffing to do those things.

BERNSTEIN: Did I forget to ask you anything?

BAY: I dont think so. Do you think so? I -- I just -- and Id like to make one last statement. This, uh, this union, uh, has been my life, its made my life wonderful. Its made me, uh, I hope, I think, a better person, and, uh, its helped me to, uh, understand people, and, uh, work, uh -- listen more 03:12:00than to, uh, find out how to deal with them. Uh, I think, the Machinists is a great organization, and we do a lot of good. And, uh, you know, I think -- and, you know, without, uh, this union, uh, I think this labor movement would really suffer a lot, because we do a lot of good, and we -- we have a great, uh, organization, and a lot of skilled people, and a lot of committed people. And we -- we make, uh, make friends that last a long time.

BERNSTEIN: Weve seen that here this week, actually.

BAY: Yeah, yeah.



BAY: And I thank you very much for your time.