Michael Dorsey Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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TRACI DRUMMOND: This is Traci Drummond, Archivist for the Labor Collections at Georgia State University library. I am in Maryland, at the Winpisinger Center for Education and Technology, at Placid Harbor in Hollywood, Maryland, um today, with Michael Dorsey, who’s going to be talking to me about his time with the Machinists. Today is Wednesday, the 7th of December, 2011. Uh thanks, Mike, for joining us today.


DRUMMOND: Um let’s get started uh with some background information. Can you tell me about your parents and where they were from and the kind of work that they did?

DORSEY: Uh my father was a uh pharmacist uh and my mother was a uh homemaker. Uh we lived uh -- I was born in Lowell, Mass. Uh my father moved around a little 1:00bit around the Boston area, Medford, Malden, Arlington, and back to Lowell, Mass., then up to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I graduated from high school. Uh not a heck of a lot more. Brought up middle class, if you will. Uh family history of -- of unions. Uh his brother -- brothers worked for GE [General Electric], uh Sunshine Biscuit, which was the Teamsters. GE was the UE. Uh my father was youngest of them all, and the youngest of uh seven. Uh he was the 2:00only one to graduate from uh night school, for a pharmacist. And that’s how he became a pharmacist. So the only thing I can remember of those early days that had anything to do with unions was when I went to work. And I said Pratt & Whitney was my first job but it wasn’t. It was Hamilton Standard, which was still part of United Technologies. Uh and uh all he gave me for advice on that was -- and uh was, “You cross no man’s picket line. You’re going to be working in an area where there’s going to be strikes.” Even though he wasn’t union, uh he knew the philosophy and that was not to cross any picket line.

DRUMMOND: And he respected --

DORSEY: And -- right.

DRUMMOND: -- and respected that.

DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: Uh how many brothers and sisters did you have?

DORSEY: Do I ha-- did I have? Do I have? OK. I had one sister -- she passed away recently -- and uh a brother. And uh he’s still uh in the Boston area. And he 3:00lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but he works out of Boston. He’s a pharmacist -- mate, I’d call him in the service but uh -- he’s an assistant pharmacist in a hospital.

DRUMMOND: OK. Uh what was school like for you? You said a mostly working class neighborhood growing up. Um was it a big --? Well, let me ask first, uh s-- were there a lot of folks in your neighborhood who were -- who were members of unions? Was it sort of a -- pro labor or pro union area that you grew up in?

DORSEY: It was a working class neighborhood. I don’t think it was -- I don’t think it was union. I don’t think it was nonunion, during that period of time. That was the uh ‘50s. Uh Democratic area. Uh we were Irish. But we had uh -- you know, my friends, Italian -- uh Italian, Jewish -- You know, it’s uh -- 4:00Living in duplex houses --


DORSEY: Oh, it uh -- In the city -- Uh during the ‘50s there, uh before he moved to uh -- back to Lowell -- uh hm -- just a working class neighborhood.


DORSEY: Uh just about everybody -- nobody owned a house.


DORSEY: Everybody was in -- Duplexes were a big thing back then. Uh that’s -- you -- you could afford the uh -- (laughs) the house next door, upstairs. Uh and most of the people I hung around with, you know, either their -- either their parents owned the house --


DORSEY: -- and were in the bottom or, you know, they were on top. So --

DRUMMOND: Were they called two-family’s --


DRUMMOND: -- or -- or --?


DORSEY: Well, to me, a duplex was -- Well, there were two of them. You had two front doors. One brought you in and you went up a flight of stairs to the second floor. The other front door brought you in and you were on the ground floor --


DORSEY: -- you know. So uh it was two-family. Uh we used to call them duplexes, for whatever reason.

DRUMMOND: OK. And tell me about your education growing up.

DORSEY: Growing up. Oh. When I was in Medford -- uh that would have been grammar school, from kindergarten to uh fourth or fifth grade, I guess -- it was a uh -- it was a Catholic school, Catholic grammar school. Then we moved to Lowell, Mass. And it was a -- another Catholic grammar school --



DORSEY: -- uh and a real Irish neighborhood. Uh you know, I don’t know if you know anything about nuns but they were -- they were kind of strict, at the time. And I guess you could say I was the wise-ass. I mean, you know, I felt the three-corner rule a few times over the knuckle --


DORSEY: -- you know. But uh other than that, you know, grammar school was grammar school. Uh I was fortunate, as I’m thinking about it now, after you mention it -- Between uh Medford and Lowell -- And they’re big cities in the Boston area. Uh one, two, three, four of the people I hung around with in uh -- in Medford -- Uh and I guess it’s a good thing we moved out of there. Uh one of them died of a knife attack. Another one went to jail for life for murder. Uh 7:00and the other kid I just lost track of. But, uh you know, I’m -- I’m going back with them in the uh third, fourth, fifth grade but, you know, later you keep track -- or touch with them every couple years. But that’s what ended up. So uh it was nothing to uh -- as kids, to uh pull up the -- the sewer cover -- Uh because my old man used to say, (laughs) you know, “You can’t cross this street. This is South Street. I don’t want you crossing that street.” Well, the MTA was across that street.


DORSEY: Uh Mass. Transit Authority. So that was the uh trolley. You remember --? You’re probably too young to remember uh “Charlie on the MTA,” -– “Tom 8:00Dooley.” No. Well, anyway. So -- so I’d stay straight with the old man. We’d go through the sewer, walk the side, come up on the other side, and get on the MTA. Back then, it was five cents. So we could go from Medford over to Fenway Park -- you ever heard of Fenway Park? --


DORSEY: -- and we’d go and -- go and see the ballgame.


DORSEY: Uh you know, back in those days, things were a lot different. I would say, as you’d walk through -- I don’t even know how much the ticket were at the time. I don’t think they could have been any more than 25 cents. But the three of us would go in or four of us, whatever we had at the time, and say, “Uh my father’s got the ticket,” “My father got the ticket.” And ushers, they didn’t -- they didn’t care that much. So you get by the ushers, then you run like hell to uh center field, to the bleachers. You know? And that was -- that was a day at the park.


DORSEY: You know. And then, by the time the game started, you know, you could drift your way in so you was sitting right behind the dugout, if you wanted to 9:00get autographs or anything.




DORSEY: Yeah. And that was a typical good weekend in the summer. Uh the sewer kind of smelled but -- Uh that was where we got the --

DRUMMOND: It was worth it.

DORSEY: It was worth it.

DRUMMOND: It was worth it. OK.


DRUMMOND: And so do you think maybe your parents moved you from Lowell uh to maybe get you out of a -- a neighborhood that --?

DORSEY: No. Uh if they thought it was what it was, they probably would have. Except that my father, working -- He worked for Liggett’s Drug Store. So he got transferred --


DORSEY: -- and promoted at the same time. So he went from uh Medford to Malden to Arlington -- you know, it’s all in the Boston area -- to different stores. And when he got the position uh back in Lowell, Mass., he was manager of the store. So, you know, we ended up moving because he had the promotion --


DORSEY: -- needless to say. And that’s how we got from Lowell, Mass., to 10:00Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where I finished high school.


DORSEY: Uh and he got another store, bigger store and, I would guess, a promotion. And then I went to high school, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

DRUMMOND: OK. And going through high school and looking toward graduation, what were the expectations? Were you looking for uh military or uh at college or --?

DORSEY: My expectations (laughs) was to get out of school --

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

DORSEY: -- any way possible. You know, so I wasn’t a big uh -- a fan of schooling, if you will. Uh I worked, uh you know -- Well, I worked after school. I worked on the weekends. Uh you know, so I didn’t play any sports or anything during high school -- excuse me -- except what you did, uh you know, at home with a, you know, bunch of kids at the playground. So, no, I just wanted to get out of school. Uh my thought was I wanted to be a mechanic. Because I had a job 11:00in a gas station, as well as selling shoes. Hm. So, yeah, I just wanted to get out of school.

DRUMMOND: OK. So you -- but you started working when you were 15, 16?

DORSEY: Oh, I guess I was -- Uh I was running a paper route from the time I was 12, I guess.


DORSEY: Uh well, it was a -- a small paper route when I got it but it uh -- I built it up to about 130, 140 customers in a ten-mile area. A--

DRUMMOND: That you delivered daily?

DORSEY: Yeah, on a bike.


DORSEY: You know. Uh they had little awards then, you know. You get so many new customers, you get a trip to Boston, get a trip to the -- to Fenway. So, uh you know, I started there, at 12. Uh I guess I started a-- Eleven, I was washing 12:00dishes. The old man got me a job washing dishes at a restaurant. Uh then it was the paper route.

DRUMMOND: What kind of wages were you making washing dishes?

DORSEY: Oh -- Whatever it was, it wasn’t too much, because I ended up spending it on food. Uh because even -- Well, it couldn’t have been too much, because even when I started at uh -- at Hamilton Standard, uh I started there at $1.80 an hour.


DORSEY: You know. It wasn’t uh -- wasn’t a heck of a -- The old man said, you know -- Uh because I ended up getting married in ’64. He says, “You can’t get married --“ or -- “live until you’re making at least $100 a week. You just won’t make it.” So once I made $100 a week, I ended up getting married.



DORSEY: So I worked uh -- blah blah blah. And -- and I liked playing around mechanics. So when I got out of high school, that’s when I went to East Coast Aerotech --


DORSEY: -- aircraft engine mechanic school. Uh I don’t -- Still working different jobs, getting through there. And uh ended up at Hamilton Standard --

DRUMMOND: That was --

DORSEY: -- went in the Coast Guard, was in the military. Yeah. I left Hamilton Standard -- because that would have been 19-- uh --62, I guess. I graduated from high school in 1960. So it would have been ’61, ’62. Uh the draft was out there then. So I ended up joining the Coast Guard.

DRUMMOND: OK. In 1960, when you graduated.

DORSEY: 1962, I think.


DORSEY: I graduated in ’60 from high school --

DRUMMOND: Uh then went to --

DORSEY: -- went to work at Hamilton.


DRUMMOND: At the same time, taking classes at East Coast Aerotech.

DORSEY: No. East Coast Aerotech was before Hamilton.


DORSEY: In other words, I got the job at Hamilton because I had some experience with --


DORSEY: -- with aircraft.


DORSEY: And they were hiring, back then in those days.


DORSEY: Oh, then I went in the Coast Guard, like I say. And that was the reserves. And I got out of there. I was laid off from Hamilton at the time I was in the service. So that’s when I come back and I got a job at Pratt & Whitney.

DRUMMOND: OK. And that was --

DORSEY: That was ’64.

DRUMMOND: -- ’64. OK.


DRUMMOND: Uh were you -- when you were at Hamilton Standard, what did you do there?

DORSEY: Uh it was a hot fuel lab, mechanical testing of uh turbo pumps. Been a 15:00long time. But, you know, that’s what we did. We tore the pumps down. We built them back up. And then we tested them.

DRUMMOND: Was that a union shop?

DORSEY: That was a -- uh and it was the Machinists union.


DORSEY: Uh but at the time I was there, they had just had a very bad strike, in 1960, uh so they were down to about uh 20% organized.


DORSEY: And --

DRUMMOND: So it was an open shop.

DORSEY: It was an open shop, yeah.


DORSEY: Yeah. And so I didn’t join the union there. I didn’t join the union until I got to uh the Pratt & Whitney. That’s when I joined a union again, active.

DRUMMOND: OK. So uh -- And you got married the same year that you --

DORSEY: ’64, yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- the same year. So uh what was your first job at Pratt & Whitney?

DORSEY: Well, as an experimental -- called experimental. But it was uh building jet engines.


DORSEY: Uh you start off at uh C man -- and B level and A level, you know, based on your experience, et cetera.


DRUMMOND: Uh did you have to go through a probationary period before you could join the union?

DORSEY: Well, there was always a probationary period for the job, not necessarily to join the union.


DORSEY: Because you can join the union at any time, even if it’s a union shop. You don’t have to wait 30 days, 60 days, 90 days --


DORSEY: -- most of our contracts, anyways. Like I tell my kids, you know, if you get a job, first thing you do is find the steward and you sign up. (laughs) That’s it.


DORSEY: If you want to -- if you want to live under this roof!

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

DORSEY: Simple.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Um so you started there in ’64. How long did it take for you to get active? And that was Local Lodge 17--

DORSEY: 1746.


DORSEY: Yeah. Well, it was uh -- 1966 is my initiation date, so couple years.



DORSEY: And uh there was a lot of organizing going around then, trying to build up the Machinists union. And I became a union steward, uh elected by my peers on my line. Then I became a shop steward, over a period of time. Then I became a committeeman, again, over a period of time.

DRUMMOND: Negotiations?

DORSEY: It’s negotiations.


DORSEY: Committee would -- was the next step. So, uh you know. And that took, you know, four, five years to be able to get elected, so you -- you knew the people to elect you. Because at that time, that shop was about 20,000 employees.

DRUMMOND: That’s huge.

DORSEY: Yeah, that’s a big shop.

DRUMMOND: That’s a huge shop.

DORSEY: And to get elected into that group as full-time -- Uh that position of 18:00secretary-treasurer, by the way, was full-time. So I was out of the shop then.

DRUMMOND: OK. And tha-- and when -- once you left the shop for that, you were gone. You never returned to the shop?

DORSEY: No, not officially.


DORSEY: Couple of times I went in there to raise hell, when we were having --

DRUMMOND: But not to work.

DORSEY: Not to work.

DRUMMOND: Not to work. OK.

DORSEY: Uh no.

DRUMMOND: But to raise hell?

DORSEY: The last ti-- the last time I -- uh I used my toolbox --


DORSEY: -- uh in a shop was prior to 1971 when I got elected full-time ST [Secretary Treasurer].

DRUMMOND: OK. What were some of the uh types of grievances when you were steward? Like what were the -- uh some of the things that would come your way?

DORSEY: Well, uh just about everything and anything. Because it’s uh what the people looked at for grievances.


DORSEY: Most of the time it was uh -- In those days we had a merit rating system. And it was uh -- if you’re not familiar with that, it’s whatever the 19:00foreman decided to give you. Uh if you did a good job or you painted the guy’s house, you might get a promotion. Uh there wasn’t any automatic progression. Uh and your merit rating, you used to get every -- I don’t know. I can’t remember whether it was six months or three months. You’d get a rating from your uh -- from your foreman, saying, you know, good, bad, no good. Then there was a rating in there. And so there were a lot of grievances on that. Uh working conditions, to some degree. Uh but it was a pretty -- pretty decent shop.


DORSEY: It wasn’t like a -- a hammer and a mill shop. It was a, you know -- And uh the uh -- the experimental department I was in was considered above the production line, if you will. So the production lines, you know, were a little 20:00different. Uh experimental was experimental. You were building new jet engines and then sending them down to test -- uh test. Yeah. Uh --

DRUMMOND: Of the uh grievances that you sort of started seeing about that time, did anything sort of accumulate to the point that it made its way into the next round of negotiations? Did you --?

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Uh -- Well, one of them that I could think of was uh -- was jury duty. Uh we didn’t have anything in the contract that covered anybody that was on jury duty. Uh so I had a couple of grievances on where the individuals weren’t getting paid anything when they were on jury duty. And uh maybe it was the second negotiations, part of the negotiations was trying to get jury duty. You know, it wasn’t a big item. Uh but it was an item for 21:00collective bargaining agreement. And we -- we ended up securing it.


DORSEY: Uh we secured a lot of other things. But that had to do with the wages, hours, and uh getting rid of the merit rating system, those type things. Uh you know, that’s -- that’s 30 years ago when we were doing those negotiations. So -- Uh and you were still organizing, at the time. So it was still an open shop.



DRUMMOND: How was it negotiating with Pratt Whitney? Were they a good company? Were they fair?

DORSEY: (laughs) No.


DORSEY: Uh the worst company I ever dealt with.


DORSEY: Yeah. Uh and during that period of time, they got better since, but their stripes haven’t changed. Uh I -- I think my old district now has still got suits against them for moving jobs out of the state, where they had an agreement for it. Uh Poulin probably could have spoke on that, because he dealt with uh -- with them as a Grand Lodge rep in charge of negotiations. Justin 22:00Ostro was another one. Uh you haven’t seen him yet.

DRUMMOND: No, mn-mn.

DORSEY: Uh so I was a uh -- I was a troublemaker, a rabble-rouser, signing people up, you know.


DORSEY: Uh you threaten them when -- Once we got our department pretty well organized, uh you could use a little leverage to sign people up.


DORSEY: Uh (laughs) one example -- but -- is that -- Whe-- uh jet engines -- uh probably -- had elevators. And you could raise and lower the uh -- the jet engine to work on the -- uh on the nose or the tail. Uh and, uh you know, I used to work at that second shift. I was the steward on second shift. Uh so at one 23:00point, when we were pretty well organized in that department, there was this one guy that just wouldn’t join the union. And he happened to be working on my side. And uh I think I was a B man then. So he was a C man. So that was the lower rung. So we’re getting ready to clean up. And this guy just kept mouthing off and he just wouldn’t pay attention. So -- You know, part of the job was uh you clean up before the next shift came in. And you bring the elevator back up, so the next shift can start working on it wherever they want. So I sent the guy down below to clean up underneath the elevator. Then I brought the elevator up and left him down there for the next shift to let him out. He signed up a couple days later.

DRUMMOND: Excellent. (laughs)


DORSEY: Yeah. Uh it could have been worse --


DORSEY: -- like I said to him.


DORSEY: You know. “You could have been hurt.” Or there (laughter) might not have been somebody working that engine the next shift.

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

DORSEY: And you can’t hear a heck of a lot.


DORSEY: So those things happen. Uh so. But uh the point I was getting at, uh we did a lot of organizing. You sign people up, you know. Uh got up to 50%, 60%, 70%, got a better contract, better contract. And uh then I left to get elected and I went uh secretary-treasurer. And I was still on the negotiating committee, that uh -- that first year. Uh and then I -- I gave that up the -- the following three years.

DRUMMOND: What was the highest percentage of organized workers you had at that shop? You said there were about 20,000 folks there?

DORSEY: Yeah. Well, there were one, two, three -- there were four divisions. It 25:00was really 20,000 uh -- that’s really the district. Because I was the ST of the district.


DORSEY: OK? So that was District 91 then. Now it’s District 26. So until we -- unt-- Well, I wasn’t even there when they got the uh -- when they got the union shop. So uh probably the highest that Pratt & Whitney East Hartford got was probably 75%, 80%. Southington got up to 90, 95, Middletown, 90, 95. Uh I think it was uh -- Trying to think what year it was. Let’s see. I went on staff in ’79. So it must have been ’80 negotiations they picked up uh the union shop. Uh you know, then it was -- uh you had to join.



DORSEY: Uh it wasn’t really a union shop to start with, took uh -- that was -- Anyways --

DRUMMOND: Did you all ha--?

DORSEY: -- we finally got it.

DRUMMOND: You finally got -- Did you all have good turnout at meetings, in the early days?

DORSEY: Well, if you’ve got -- See, people only came to the union meetings if you were a steward, you were interested in what was going on, where your money was going, voting. If you got 5%, 10% of your membership out for a regular lodge meeting, you’d be lucky. If you were raising the dues, you’d probably get 70% out.

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

DORSEY: Uh contract ratification -- uh contract negotiations, where you’ve got the proposals, uh everybody would come out, you know --



DORSEY: -- 80%, 85%, all wanting something. But uh if you got 10% -- In my Local Lodge, uh on election of officers, s-- it was 1,500 to 2,000 people coming out to vote --


DORSEY: -- you know, on a ticket. And that was at a, uh you know, 10,000-man shop. So, you know, 10%, that’s about all that really showed up.

DRUMMOND: Uh so once you were off the shop floor and working as the Secretary-Treasurer for the local, uh what was that like, going from, you know, being among workers every day to sort of having this removed spot?

DORSEY: Well, it’s hard to explain. The union hall was right across the street from the -- from the shop.


DORSEY: So you had people coming into the union hall --

DRUMMOND: All day.

DORSEY: You had three shifts. All day.



DORSEY: Uh you know. And you had steward training, uh you know, three times, four times a week, you know, on the different shifts. Monday would be the second shift or -- Tuesday would be the third shift. So. So you had a group of stewards in there. Uh and we went from a stewards’ force of uh maybe uh 20 or 30 to, at the height, probably uh 400 stewards, between all shifts. So.

DRUMMOND: Wow! Yeah.

DORSEY: So. Uh and -- and the stewards’ and part of the secretary-treasurer’s duties is to collect the money, needless to say and uh go through the check-off. Uh but we have dues books, where they’d stamp them. Uh so the stewards would bring the books in, uh shoot the shit, complain about what was going on in the shop, you know, uh your senior steward, you know, that 29:00type thing. Uh and then I had the responsibilities of keeping the books. Back then everything was done with a -- with a pen and a calculator, you know? A--

DRUMMOND: Did you always like numbers? I mean, because I always think of that as being one of --

DORSEY: A lot of numbers.

DRUMMOND: -- the toughest jo--


DRUMMOND: -- one of the toughest jobs.

DORSEY: Well, yes and no. Because you’d have to -- part of my job, or at least I thought it was part of my job but -- On an open shop, you know, a lot of people want to know where their dues money is going --


DORSEY: -- what are you using it for. So besides my financial report that I’d give each month, you know, somebody that was bitching or a part of the department or a department that was complaining, uh I’d bring them in and sit them down and go through the books with them, you know, what I thought they -- they were concerned with, you know, uh could explain it away. Because the membership took action each month on spending any money. And uh if you weren’t 30:00at the membership meeting, you didn’t -- You know -- you know, SOL. You know, show up if you want to complain about it. So. You know, then the salaries came in and all the other stuff. So. Yeah, I enjoyed that part of it. And while I was in there, as I mentioned before, I probably uh mouthed off quite a bit. Anyway, I was -- I became a delegate to the Hartford Labor Council, and, you know, still holding the position as secretary-treasurer. You probably ought to be interviewing the wife. Because at that period of time, uh even though I was full-time out of the shop, uh I probably had meetings every night during the week --


DORSEY: -- and sometimes on the weekend, with the state AFL CIO, something. So I spent as much -- When I went on full-time with Grand Lodge in ’79 --



DORSEY: -- uh I had less meetings than I had when I was in the Local Lodge.

DRUMMOND: Mm. Uh and s-- you brought up uh being the delegate to the CLC [Central Labor Council] for -- for Greater Hartford.


DRUMMOND: Uh what -- what was uh labor like in Hartford, at that time?

DORSEY: We were pretty strong during that period of time. Uh building trades were still active. UAW had already left. Uh they were just coming back partially when I -- when I left. Uh it was a strong union town. Uh building tra-- like I say, building trades were strong. Uh Ostro was president of the Labor Council before I was. And when he went on as the General Vice President, in ’77, uh then I was elected to uh fill his spot. Uh we had a good working relationship. 32:00Uh one of the reasons that we had that working relationship was, in the Hartford area, uh my local was, you know, the strongest -- You wield more power because you had the votes. Uh and that’s the reason I got elected and that’s the reason Justin [Ostro] got elected, was, you know --

DRUMMOND: You had the votes.

DORSEY: Had the votes.


DORSEY: Uh it’s the same -- during that same period of time, I was elected vice president of the uh Connecticut State Labor Council, ALF CIO. And uh I followed Justin into that too. And again, in the state, uh where we had the -- now we had the 20,000 votes. So, you know. We uh -- we -- uh I guess -- (laughs) I j-- This uh -- this big guy, Sonny Metz, is a -- a uh business agent for the 33:00uh labor union. And they were always mouthing off. And so when I uh -- (laughs) when uh -- It was a roll call vote. So he was standing there. And this was on Chris Dodd, at the time -- uh not Chris Dodd, Tom Dodd, voting for Tom Dodd. We were working for uh -- we were working for Joe Duffy, at the time. And uh Tom Dodd had been censured by Congress, so we’re trying to get rid of him. Anyhow, as I was walking by Sonny, who was this big strapping guy, you know, carrying a piece on him all the time -- Uh and he -- wearing their hardhats. And they’re raising hell as we’re going up to vote. So, you know, part of my vote uh was -- Uh I don’t know. I don’t remember whether it was 500 or 700 -- split up 34:00again-- Uh you know, each one of us had 500 votes. And there were probably ten of us. And he probably had 500 total votes. So you just kind of let him know, you know. (laughs) Here’s your 500 going the other way. And -- and these other seven guys have got 500 more, see.


DORSEY: Yeah. So. Uh that was uh -- just thinking about -- those are things that -- just enjoyed, coming up --


DORSEY: -- you know. Uh and so that uh -- you know, that rolled over into my job as a -- as an auditor. Because I had the experience, then, as the Secretary-Treasurer.


DORSEY: And uh that’s when Glover hired me.


DORSEY: And I don’t know if you know what a Grand Lodge Auditor is.

DRUMMOND: No, but let me a--

DORSEY: Go ahead.

DRUMMOND: -- some uh questions before we get there.


DRUMMOND: So during your time as secretary-treasurer for the Local Lodge, you 35:00were busy keeping the books and -- and getting dues in and things like that. Did that sort of preclude you, then, from uh other activities, like organizing and negotiations? Or were you sort of in on some of that stuff too? You --

DORSEY: Well, you’re always organizing. But uh I wasn’t in the shop to do it.


DORSEY: Yeah. And the first year uh out, I got off of the negotiating committee, bec-- And one of the reasons was, uh you know, I had a lot to do if there was a strike (laughs) --

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

DORSEY: -- you know.

DRUMMOND: And were there any strikes?

DORSEY: Uh no. No.




DORSEY: Uh after I left there was. But while I was there, there wa-- there was no strikes.


DORSEY: But you had to be prepared in case there were, because you had to pay out strike benefits. And that all came through --


DORSEY: -- the Secretary-Treasurer’s office.

DRUMMOND: And you -- your -- your local was pretty big.


DRUMMOND: Uh did you all have local strike benefits or did they come from the International?


DORSEY: In ours it was all from the International.


DORSEY: We weren’t that -- we weren’t that big that long.


DORSEY: You know. Like if you’re talking to Jimmy Brown -- Or you will be. Or I guess you already did --


DORSEY: -- or maybe somebody else did. They had a big strike fund.


DORSEY: You know, ours uh -- But they had membership for a long period of time and union shop for a long period of time. So they were able to build it up.

DRUMMOND: Uh -- So while you were working as Secretary-Treasurer, you also started, at some point during that time, taking on responsibilities with District 91.


DRUMMOND: And what kinds of things were you doing?

DORSEY: They were in the same building.


DORSEY: Uh and uh the district uh had a set of books like, you know? And the locals paid per capita into the districts. And the districts hire the business agents, you know, the directing business ag-- business agent. So there was 37:00salary. Uh so that was part of the books of the -- of the district. Uh you know, and the regular business of the -- of the district and the meetings -- of my responsibilities with the -- with the finances.

DRUMMOND: OK. And -- and that’s pretty much -- Once you were like Secretary-Treasurer, you dealt mainly with finances all the way through the rest of your --


DRUMMOND: OK. Uh is there anything -- were there any particular challenges that came up during that time? ’71 to ’79 was a hard time for labor -- not as hard as the ‘80s, not as hard as the ‘90s -- but that I think that that’s -- You know, I know, especially like in uh textiles, there’s the big J.P. Stevens campaign --

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Well, yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- throughout the -- throughout the ‘90s.

DORSEY: Yeah, but, see -- uh but that’s all part of the job. You’re out on the picket line on those --


DORSEY: -- uh you know. And -- and that was through Central Labor Council. That 38:00was all run through there.


DORSEY: Uh we ran it. But, I mean -- Yeah, we’re -- we didn’t have a problem in our particular shop on strikes but we were a big part of the -- uh you know, the boycotts. Uh you know, GE, during that same period of time, had a big strike, nationwide. Uh J.P. Stevens. There was another one I’m trying to remember, we were on the picket line for. But, you know, becau-- uh as president of the Central Labor Council, I had responsibilities on getting people out there, being there, you know, on different ones of the affiliates -- against Red Cross. I remember them. Catholic Church. We had to take them on. You know uh --

DRUMMOND: So there was a lot of solidarity? Uh --


DRUMMOND: And -- and overall, was Hartford, as a city, pretty generally receptive to issues in labor?




DORSEY: Yeah, yeah. As a matter of fact, one of the first ones -- I can’t even remember the guy’s name. But uh hell of a good guy. But Operation Fuel, I used to sit on that board. Uh --

DRUMMOND: And that would have been the ‘70s?



DORSEY: And, uh you know, they’d give fuel to uh people that couldn’t afford it, elderly, unemployed. Uh of course, we set up the bylaws that, if somebody were on strike, they’d be entitled to it too, you know, to solidify the uh -- the community. So -- Yeah, and uh it wa-- it was uh interesting. Uh I don’t think it was any more interesting than it is now, except now there’s so many unemployed --


DORSEY: -- that you don’t really have that solidarity that you did back then. Uh it was a lot easier if you were employed to help out one of your sisters or brother locals, you know, for assistance, one way or the other, whether it was 40:00-- whether it was uh meals, fuel, uh picket lines. Uh and we had our own organizing campaigns and everything else going.



DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Uh but it sounds like, for the most part, that time you were Secretary-Treasurer, which was eight years, over eight years --


DRUMMOND: -- in working with District 91, and then also president of the Greater Hartford --


DRUMMOND: -- Central Labor Council, it sounds like, for the most part, things were pretty straightforward and moving along. Nothing wasn’t business as usual. Can you think of anything that really stood out?

DORSEY: Uh not really, not really. Yeah, I’d say that. Uh you had your regular uh politics, if you will, within the -- within the union, within the uh -- well, within the union and (laughs) within the uh Central Labor Council. So, I mean, 41:00that’s -- that’s the nature of the game. So.


DORSEY: You had to get elected every year. Back then, you had to get elected every year. Uh so, you know, you were always in -- you’re always running for office.

DRUMMOND: You had some good competitors?

DORSEY: I wiped most of them out.

DRUMMOND: OK. So they weren’t as good as you.

DORSEY: (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Is that what you’re saying?

DORSEY: Well, that’s what the membership said.

DRUMMOND: That’s what the membership said. Fair enough, fair enough. Um so you went straight from uh working as um Secretary-Treasurer for your Local Lodge in ’79 and became the Grand Lodge Auditor. At --

DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: At what point do you -- did you start sort of catching the eye of or -- or communicating with folks uh that --?

DORSEY: Well, the --

DRUMMOND: Uh and that’s for the Eastern territory?

DORSEY: Oh, it was for the nationwide.


DRUMMOND: Nationwide. OK. OK, for the International.

DORSEY: Yeah. Uh well, I was also a delegate to uh -- to our convention. Every four years there’s a -- a convention. So, you know, big mouth, you know.

DRUMMOND: (laughs)

DORSEY: You -- you get recognized, one way or the other --


DORSEY: -- on the mic.


DORSEY: Uh you’ve got your own background and what you’ve done. Uh and Grand Lodge reps, which are -- are the same as auditors uh pay wise but reps are doing the negotiations and the organizing and the auditors are doing the finances out in the field -- So, you know, you pick up a name and somebody recognizes you. And -- and Glover finally recognized me and brought me on.

DRUMMOND: Um d-- and you had to apply?

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um so it was a --

DORSEY: But I was an appointed -- it -- it’s an appointed position --


DORSEY: -- not an elected.


DRUMMOND: OK. Not an elected. But you skipped -- Uh I think a lot of folks go through the territory and then hit International. But you skipped that altogether and just made the jump from district to --

DORSEY: Well, yeah. Because what -- uh the business agents coming up usually get on Grand Lodge staff. Uh they’re going from business agent to Grand Lodge. Mine was parallel to that. In other words, being secretary-treasurer of the district and -- treasurer of the district and secretary-treasurer of the local, that would be equal to a business agent. Because the business agents, you know, they had to come to me to get their paycheck, you know.

DRUMMOND: Mm? (laughter)

DORSEY: So you wielded a little power. I mean, the DBR was the DBR but, you know. So, you know, you get -- you get recognized. And -- and so that’s the 44:00difference, where you -- you see the uh staff of the Eastern territory and the Midwest territory. In Grand Lodge, you become a Grand Lodge auditor, period, and can be assigned anywhere in the country or in Canada. Then you get -- like there’s -- And when I came on, there were uh 16 or 17 auditors -- excuse me -- spread out across the country. Uh so I went from Hartford -- my assigned station was in uh L-- uh Syracuse, New York. I covered New York, part of Pennsylvania -- uh all of upstate New York, part of Pennsylvania. So. And that was, at the time that I took over, if I remember right, roughly 100 different local and districts that were my responsibilities.



DORSEY: And those responsibilities included, if somebody stuck their hand in the cookie jar, you had to go in and do an audit. Uh we didn’t put them in jail. Uh we just removed them from office.

DRUMMOND: Trusteeship.



DORSEY: No. Didn’t have to be a trusteeship.

DRUMMOND: OK, you can just be --

DORSEY: You stick your hand in the cookie jar --


DORSEY: -- you’re going!


DORSEY: All right? Uh later on there were some other uh --

DRUMMOND: How big was your district? You said you went to S-- to Syracuse?


DRUMMOND: But how big -- how big of an area did you --? You -- you said part of Pennsylvania, all of upstate New York.


DRUMMOND: So that required a lot of travel.

DORSEY: Oh, yeah.

DRUMMOND: For the first time, you really had to --

DORSEY: Uh yeah.

DRUMMOND: You had to move your family --


DRUMMOND: -- and then you had to -- to --


DORSEY: Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, uh Syracuse is like in the -- Uh say this is Syracuse. [begins illustrating] This is Lake Erie, over here somewhere. PA is here. Albany is here. Uh so from Syracuse to here was about 200 miles. Over to Albany was about uh 500 miles. Buffalo, 500 miles. Rochester. And this is about 200 mile. And in this area were 100 different locals and districts.


DORSEY: So I’d have to drive out there just to review their records. If I -- You know, when I first come on, uh all I do is go out there and meet and greet, see how you’re doing, service them to that degree, uh help them set up their books if they weren’t doing it right, uh remove them from office if they stuck their hands in the cookie jar -- uh and assisted, you know, the reps in 47:00organizing or anything else out in the field, the business agents, as I’m traveling around.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. About how many days uh of the month were you on the road, once you started this job?

DORSEY: In that territory there, I was very fortunate -- than some of the other auditors. Like Engler, you’ll be uh talking to later, he had a heck of a big territory. Because there were so many -- Like the guy that was up in Montana and Idaho, you know, uh his territory went all the way to Seattle, if I remember right. So he had a lot of miles but not that many locals.


DORSEY: I could pull into a district, like a district in Buffalo, uh and I could camp out there for a week or two weeks.

DRUMMOND: And visiting --

DORSEY: And visit --

DRUMMOND: -- one or two a day.

DORSEY: That’s right. And then, if I had to an LM report or the financial report or they got behind or something, you know, uh I could stay there.



DORSEY: But I could still -- I could still get back home, you know. I spent more time at home my first year on -- on staff than I did when I was uh --

DRUMMOND: Doing the other three jobs --

DORSEY: -- in the uh --

DRUMMOND: -- at once. OK.

DORSEY: Yeah. And got paid more.

DRUMMOND: And got paid -- Uh fantastic. Um when you would go, when you did find someone had been sticking their hand in the cookie jar and you had to go in and remove them, uh what were some of the reactions you got from membership? Did they usually know what was going on?

DORSEY: Well --

DRUMMOND: And how would you get tipped off? I mean, was it just, in the books and stuff, you could see clearly? Or were -- did you have some really smart uh --?

DORSEY: You could usually --

DRUMMOND: Unh-huh.

DORSEY: Oh, uh in our -- under our constitution, the Local Lodge has to do an audit every six months.


DORSEY: Prior to that it was every quarter or six months. They had a choice. So 49:00the auditor would get a copy of the -- their audit that the membership did --


DORSEY: -- the trustees and the rank and file members. And that gets sent into the auditor, as well as headquarters. So you review the audit and find out what they’re -- you know, where the monies are going. You know, if there’s a big thing on parties, that’s -- you know, well, maybe we ought to take a look at it. What’s the party? Or uh big thing on golf clubs, you know, what’s going on? Uh if you -- if you can’t go into arbitration because you ain’t got any money, you ain’t going to be spending money on a party. So that would get you in there. Once you took a look at the books uh -- You know, uh I guess it’s interesting stories. Uh I can remember one at uh -- this uh -- this one guy I had for a shortage. Uh 10,000 bucks, I think it was, or 15. Anyhow, so I’m -- I’m meeting with him. You know, I’d gone through the books and we identified 50:00the shortage. So I says to the Grand Lodge rep that was in that same district uh with me, “Well, when we meet with him, uh you sit here. I’ll conduct the meeting here. And we’ll put the lips over here.” OK. We’ve got that all squared away. We bring him in, sit down. He plops down this .38 gun in front of him.


DORSEY: And he says to me -- he says uh -- Uh and he knew he was coming in for a reason --


DORSEY: -- because he stuck his hand in the cookie jar. (laughs) And uh he says, “Well, I had to take care of my neighbor’s dog today,” uh you know. So I’m saying to him, “OK.” Uh my knees are knocking, underneath there. Uh the rep that was sitting next to me, (laughs) he gets up. Because we uh already 51:00told him, you know, “We -- we’ve got the paperwork for his resignation,” you know, “And we’ll just slap it in front of him.” He gets up and he says, “Let me go get the paperwork from the secretary. She’s way down the other end of the hall.” I’m sitting there. My damn knees are knocking. A goddamn .38 sitting in front of me. You know -- uh you know, so there’s not much you could do then. You just learn to live with it. And hopefully you don’t -- he don’t shoot you. So those things happen. Uh but we usually come out on top.

DRUMMOND: S-- well -- well, how did that end up? You didn’t finish the story. So the guy goes to get the paperwork, comes back?

DORSEY: Yeah. And he signed the resignation.

DRUMMOND: Uh just left.

DORSEY: Took his gun and left, yeah.


DORSEY: Yeah. I’m still alive.

DRUMMOND: Fair enough.

DORSEY: (laughs) Yeah.


DRUMMOND: Fair enough. Um being auditor of your uh -- of about 100 -- you said about 100 offices in -- in that area, uh abou--?

DORSEY: Well, you’ve got to remember that, a lot of these locals --


DORSEY: -- the individuals did the work of Secretary-Treasurer at their home.


DORSEY: All right? I mean, you had a set of books. You brought them home. The shop wasn’t that big. Everybody didn’t have an office. The offices were in the districts, you know. And like I say, I had five or six districts that covered those 100 locals.

DRUMMOND: Mm. Mm-hmm. How -- uh but what uh -- but what uh percentage of them ever had anybody doing anything --?

DORSEY: How many shortages did I have?

DRUMMOND: Yeah, yeah. And -- and I suspect at some point you probably just found somebody who wasn’t very good at bookkeeping.

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Just weren’t doing their job.

DRUMMOND: Yeah, yeah.

DORSEY: Yeah. And -- and those, you -- you know, you slap them in the back of the head and say, “Thanks for trying but we’ve got to get somebody else in here.” And you retrain them. That’s --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.


DORSEY: -- part of my job, retraining them, uh retraining the new ones. So. Uh of the ten years -- ’79 -- ’89 -- I probably only had -- In my territo-- Well, (laughs) some things work to your advantage. My first couple years there, I had two big shortages. Uh probably scared the shit out of a lot of other people, because this new guy just come into this territory. And so I carried a reputation, you know. Uh so I probably -- in those ten years, I probably only had four or five, uh three or f--

DRUMMOND: After the two big ones that you go--


DRUMMOND: -- you got started with. OK.

DORSEY: Yeah. And, uh you know, I’d get an assignment every now and then from the GST to go somewhere else --



DORSEY: -- uh from the Assistant Secretary uh to assist another auditor. Or another auditor couldn’t do it and they’d send me in to take care of the rough stuff. So, you know.


DORSEY: -- come to headquarters as the Administrative Assistant to him.

DRUMMOND: Did you have to uh -- did you have to apply for that or were you appointed that? How did that work?

DORSEY: I was an auditor. I was in upstate New York. I got a call from the GST, Tom Ducy, to meet him in Albany, uh as he was just coming back from planning the uh -- the ’92 convention. So he asked me meet him at a hotel in downtown 55:00Albany. I did. Had a couple of drinks. And I thought I was pretty well caught up in my territory. And uh there was an opening, at the time, in California. So I had mentioned to the wife, when uh -- when he called, that uh I was going to put in for a bid for California, lateral, as an auditor. And I figured that’s what he wanted to talk to me about.


DORSEY: And that wasn’t the case at all.

DRUMMOND: Well, why did you want California?

DORSEY: Because I was uh -- I was caught up in my territory and there was an opening in California.


DORSEY: The guy retired.

DRUMMOND: OK. So it wasn’t change of scenery, change of weather, change of --

DORSEY: No, uh just a different challenge.


DORSEY: Yeah. Uh that territory was a little behind in its per capita, which, part of the job is making sure you collect the per capita for Grand Lodge. So that’s what I was prepared for. And uh after a couple of beers, he asked me if I wanted to come to headquarters as the Administrative Assistant, in charge of 56:00personnel, as well as any other duties assigned by him to me, and work for him and the Assistant Secretary. The Assistant Secretary then was Bill Engler, who I think your other partner is interviewing. And uh so that was in ’88, ’89. And uh so there was a lot of administrative duties there.

DRUMMOND: Did you like the change from more activity at the local level to more of an office environment?

DORSEY: Well, no, you -- you missed a spot. Or --


DORSEY: I went from the local level to Grand Lodge --

DRUMMOND: Bu-- yeah, but you still --

DORSEY: -- in the territories.

DRUMMOND: But Grand Lodge auditor, you were still able to go in and work with different locals and help them --


DRUMMOND: -- and -- and different districts and help them with things.



DORSEY: But not my old local.

DRUMMOND: But not your own loc-- Uh and I’m sorry, and uh that perhaps I mis worded it. So instead of sort of having that hands-on with folks all over and being pulled and -- and put into an office uh w--?


DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: That was a big change for you, I guess.

DORSEY: Uh no, because it’s what I did when I was Secretary-Treasurer --


DORSEY: -- you know, office environment.


DORSEY: Yeah. And this one here had personnel, which was a challenge, to that degree. You know, I’m the easygoing guy, you know.

DRUMMOND: You are?

DORSEY: Can’t you see me in personnel?

DRUMMOND: Flexible?

DORSEY: Uh yeah.

DRUMMOND: Easygoing, laid back.

DORSEY: Yeah. You know. (laughter) Can’t you see me negotiating a contract on the other side, with -- with OPEIU uh? Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Oh, yeah! So -- so the -- the folks who worked in the offices were OPEIU [Office and Professional Employees International Union].

DORSEY: Unh-huh.

DRUMMOND: Did you all have any uh --

DORSEY: Grievances?

DRUMMOND: -- strikes or grievances --

DORSEY: Str--? No. Uh no, no, no.

DRUMMOND: -- or contention?

DORSEY: We di-- No, we worked -- we worked them all out. But --


DORSEY: But, yeah, I was -- I was sitting on the other side of the table when we went in there. And it was me and the General Secretary-Treasurer and the Assistant Secretary, so.

DRUMMOND: Yeah. So what -- uh what was a typical week for you, in that role?


DORSEY: Go to work 7:00, 7:30, leave at 4:30, 5:00. Home every night.



DRUMMOND: Can’t beat that!

DORSEY: Not on the --

DRUMMOND: But you had to move. You had -- Did you have --?

DORSEY: Had to move.

DRUMMOND: To -- to the D.C. area.

DORSEY: Yeah. Ended up moving up to -- to Waldorf.



DRUMMOND: W-- and so were the offices still on Connecticut Avenue, at that point, or had they uh --?

DORSEY: At that point -- at that point, I was -- Yes, Connecticut Ave.


DORSEY: And then, as being in personnel and working for the GST, I uh -- part of my assignment was putting the move together, to get rid of the furniture and -- you know, mine and Engler’s and Ducy’s, uh assist in the -- in the move to the new building. And we moved in ’92. Uh during that period of time as Administrative Assistant and uh -- and Special Assistant, all tied in together, uh there was a difference in -- in money but the duties were -- were pretty much 59:00the same. And uh another one of my responsibilities was setting up and working conventions.

DRUMMOND: OK. The four-- the every-four-year convention.

DORSEY: Every-four-year.

DRUMMOND: Unh-huh.

DORSEY: But there was a lot of legwork ahead of that, hotels --


DORSEY: -- vendors, machines. Uh you know, so that was part of my responsibility. So I did that for three conventions.

DRUMMOND: Twelve years.

DORSEY: Yeah. Uh yeah. Four, eight -- yeah, 12. So --

DRUMMOND: Well, what --?

DORSEY: -- that took a lot of time.


DORSEY: But uh you get better and better at that. Then you’ve got to give it up, when you retire. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Yeah, yeah.

DORSEY: You know. Not a good -- not a good -- There’s nothing you can take, on setting up a convention, to anybody, unless it’s a -- I uh -- well, I don’t 60:00even know where you go with it. But anyways. It worked good while I was there.

DRUMMOND: Uh there’s -- uh I’ve planned a -- a considerably smaller conference --


DRUMMOND: -- that, I was the only local arrangements person.


DRUMMOND: And uh it can -- the logistics involved were --

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Uh we were talking, in -- in those days, uh anywhere from uh 1,200 to uh -- I guess the biggest one was 2,200--

DRUMMOND: Would that have been a --?

DORSEY: --person convention, delegates. Grand lodge convention.

DRUMMOND: And you became Administrative Assistant -- Was it after the uh centennial, the 100-year celebration?


DRUMMOND: Or -- right before or right after?

DORSEY: Right after the ’88.

DRUMMOND: OK. OK. Well, then -- And that was probably the biggest -- the la-- the biggest last convention, in terms of numbers?

DORSEY: In terms of delegates, no, I don’t know. I think --


DORSEY: -- the 2004 was bigger. But just --


DORSEY: -- a matter of numbers.




DRUMMOND: And that -- and tha--

DORSEY: ’88 was my first, if you will -- I was an auditor at the time -- that I was assigned in to work the convention, with Bill Engler, who was the Administrative Assistant then.


DORSEY: So, yeah. That was my first shot at a convention. And then, the other ones, I did.

DRUMMOND: And how di-- once you became Special Assistant to the General Secretary-Treasurer -- That was uh ’96.


DRUMMOND: And that was your -- your uh --

DORSEY: Wharton brought me -- Uh I was at headquarters. Wharton promoted me to Special Assistant.

DRUMMOND: And uh --

DORSEY: Uh and he had me give up personnel. And uh I was the uh -- well, they called me uh -- I forget what they called me.

DRUMMOND: Did you have a --?

DORSEY: But anyways, I had to uh -- any lodge that was way behind --



DORSEY: -- in per capita -- uh if you made my list, you got a visit from me.

DRUMMOND: So you started traveling again.

DORSEY: Yeah. But not -- not every day.

DRUMMOND: Right, right.


DRUMMOND: Not exclusively.

DORSEY: Yeah, right. So.

DRUMMOND: OK. And what’s it -- uh what are some reasons, for -- for people who don’t know, uh that a lodge might be behind in their per capita?

DORSEY: They’re paying other bills with that money, paying salaries --

DRUMMOND: So they might --

DORSEY: -- uh that they should be laying off instead of --

DRUMMOND: Continuing to pay.

DORSEY: -- paying salaries.

DRUMMOND: So you had to go in and -- and make the hard decisions.


DRUMMOND: Did you get a reputation for that?


DRUMMOND: Tell me about that.

DORSEY: Uh nothing to tell. “Look out. Dorsey’s coming with a baseball bat.” (laughter)

DRUMMOND: With a baseball bat?


DRUMMOND: Did you get any more guns on the table during that time period?

DORSEY: No, no.


DORSEY: No. No. Most of them -- Couple of them, I had to uh walk the secretary-treasurer, president down to the bank and have them draw the check 63:00out, or take it out of the savings account --


DORSEY: -- where they were hiding it --


DORSEY: -- and have them write the check out.


DORSEY: And then I’d take it back to headquarters.

DRUMMOND: OK. So sometimes there was mismanagement but sometimes people were up to no good and --


DRUMMOND: -- and trying to -- In uh --

DORSEY: More mismanagement than anybody sticking their hand in the cookie jar, at that stage of the game.


DORSEY: It was either you had the money or you didn’t.


DORSEY: And how you got there was the mismanagement part.

DRUMMOND: Yeah. Well, and do you think --? Because you mentioned a minute ago that, in some cases, they had folks still on staff who -- who -- and they should have downsized. They should have just been getting rid of people.

DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: Do you think uh there was still this hope that labor would recover, that unions would recover and that maybe they were just keeping folks around?

DORSEY: Yeah, that was always --

DRUMMOND: Or -- or did it --? Because I think it was difficult.

DORSEY: -- that was -- that was always the case in the thinking. The problem is that, when you’re talking about full-time people --



DORSEY: -- they’ve been out of the shop for a period of time. Some of them had rights back to the shop. Others didn’t. So a lot of it was job security, job protection they were after, you know. And somebody had to, you know, cut to the chase. So I made it easier for them. If they didn’t have any money, they couldn’t pay anybody. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Yeah, yeah.


DRUMMOND: OK. Uh are there any experiences maybe that we didn’t cover?

DORSEY: Well, not in those --


DORSEY: -- two positions.

DRUMMOND: Well, uh I’m sorry. And then here it says 2003, Assistant --

DORSEY: Assistant Secretary.

DRUMMOND: -- Secretary. OK.


DRUMMOND: All right. So --

DORSEY: That’s the Assistant Secretary to the GST.



DORSEY: So in that capacity -- uh and he still does it now -- the auditors -- the Grand Lodge auditors, the 17 that are out in the field, report to the Assistant Secretary.


DORSEY: So if they’ve got a problem with a shortage, it’s a phone call to him, you know, what problems they had --


DORSEY: -- what it looked like, how to file a shortage --


DORSEY: -- who to file the shortage with.

DRUMMOND: And those auditors also shut down -- like, if a union merges or uh --

DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: -- or if they lose a shop or something, bu-- those auditors also shut down.

DORSEY: Right.

DRUMMOND: And you did that. Did you that while you --?

DORSEY: Oh, I did that as an auditor, yeah.

DRUMMOND: You did that.


DRUMMOND: Well, we -- I don’t think we talked about that. Can I go back to that for a second and --?


DRUMMOND: And did you ever have to shut anybody down and --?

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. But those -- uh you -- you’ve got to -- you wouldn’t know but, when we say shut them down, uh the shop could have left.


DORSEY: The shop could have went bankrupt.

DRUMMOND: Right. No, no. And I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to imply that you all were just doing that.


DRUMMOND: But, yeah, certainly if the jobs are gone --

DORSEY: So we’ve got to -- you’ve got to g--

DRUMMOND: -- then you can’t sustain the local.


DORSEY: -- you’ve got to go in. You’ve got to close the books down, do the federal reports --


DORSEY: -- et cetera, bring the membership up to date, transfer the membership, you know, that type thing.


DORSEY: Uh yeah, you had to do a lot of that, because there was a lot of disbandments during that period of time -- and still now, I would imagine. So, yeah, you did that as an auditor. I didn’t do that as a Special Assistant, necessarily, you know, unless it was a type circumstance. But most of the time I was just taking the money. If they ended up closing down later, then the auditor in that territory would go in and do his or her job, closing it up, doing the federal reports, et cetera. So.

DRUMMOND: It must have been a very difficult job, because typically, if you showed up, it was bad news. Is that fair to --?

DORSEY: During that period of time, yeah.

DRUMMOND: Is that fair to say? OK.



DORSEY: As an Assistant Secretary, you know, you were glad-handing most people, you know.



DORSEY: You were sitting on the uh -- you ended up sitting uh on the Executive Council, at their meetings.


DORSEY: Uh no -- no vote. You know, because that’s just for council members. Just sat in on all the Executive Council decisions. Uh that was interesting. Yeah. So you could s-- you could hear and see the debate, or debates, whatever it may be, from the council members, with the IP and the GST, and talk to them after, you know, if you had any input for them. So that was very interesting. And that was traveling around with the council. They met four or five times a year, based on what the IP wanted.

DRUMMOND: And as Assistant Secretary, with all the different auditors -- And you had sai-- you said 17 at the time. Are there --?


DRUMMOND: Do you know if there are fewer now, if they --

DORSEY: Yeah. I think uh --

DRUMMOND: -- if they’ve been condensed a little?


DORSEY: Yeah, I think, with that -- Well, they got down to 15 and they -- With -- with one of the mergers, the uh TCU came over. And uh --

DRUMMOND: That’s kind of going to be official January 1st of 2012, I think. Transportation? Communication?

DORSEY: Transportation Communications?

DRUMMOND: Yeah. Uh I uh --

DORSEY: Maybe --

DRUMMOND: Like it’s been a gradual merge.



DORSEY: OK. That’s the per capita. Maybe January they’re up to full per capita.


DORSEY: OK. Yeah. Yeah. So we -- we brought them over. Uh now I forget what you said. What’d you ask me?

DRUMMOND: Oh, how many um auditors did you have? And you had 17 --


DRUMMOND: -- but with your --

DORSEY: Yeah. And uh -- and so now I think they’re probably just about the same, maybe. Because uh that’s where I was going. Yeah. Three people from the TCU came over as auditors when one of our guys retired uh here, a year ago. Uh 69:00yeah. So while I was there, there was only 17. And besides that, uh you had the responsibility as the Assistant Secretary uh to assist the General Secretary-Treasurer, and running the -- the office of the GST --


DORSEY: -- which included the reports department, which does the membership, and the building, the -- the operation of the building itself. Of course, you had help. You had -- I, as the Assistant Secretary, had a -- a special assistant, you know, doing the work that I was doing before.



DRUMMOND: OK. And 2007, you retired.

DORSEY: That’s correct.


DORSEY: And enjoying the hell out of it.

DRUMMOND: Yeah? Every day?

DORSEY: Every day.


DRUMMOND: Every day? Are you active uh within a -- uh are you active with like a Machinists retiree group or any other --


DRUMMOND: -- labor groups in town or --? Just --?

DORSEY: Yeah. No.

DRUMMOND: No? Just --

DORSEY: I may.


DORSEY: Uh for political reasons, there’s -- there’s nothing out there that -- well, there’s nothing out there I want to start from scratch on. You know, I’ve knocked on plenty of doors.


DORSEY: I’ve passed out many a flier. Yeah.

DRUMMOND: That need is gone. That need is gone.

DORSEY: Yeah. Yeah.



DRUMMOND: Uh are there any other experiences uh about your time with the Machinists or working or --

DORSEY: I enjoyed it.

DRUMMOND: -- anything that we didn’t touch on that you think you should --?

DORSEY: That I would tell you?




DORSEY: (laughs) No.

DRUMMOND: Not so much that you would tell me but that you -- that you think is important to mention.

DORSEY: (laughs) No.


DORSEY: [W?]--?

DRUMMOND: Uh what about any role models you might have had, inside or outside of the union?


DORSEY: Oh -- Inside or outside?

DRUMMOND: Yeah, either.

DORSEY: Well, uh I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of them but Hubert Humphrey, Harry Truman, uh Wimpy.


DORSEY: And uh -- and I guess the uh GST role model would be Tom Ducy and uh Don Wharton, because I worked with them for 20 years --


DORSEY: -- you know.

DRUMMOND: And -- and they would be --

DORSEY: They were the GSTs.

DRUMMOND: And they were people you could look to on -- on like knowing how to --


DRUMMOND: -- do a job correctly.



DORSEY: Or tell them what I thought that they weren’t doing correctly.

DRUMMOND: OK. And how did they take that?

DORSEY: No problem from any of them.


DORSEY: I mean, you know, uh in my mind, if you’re going to be a leader, you know, you want both sides of the issue.



DORSEY: You know. Uh so I figured that, when I come up where I uh -- that, uh if the guy is worth his salt, he’s going to want to know my opinion, whether it’s -- agrees with his or it doesn’t.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

DORSEY: I -- you’ll find, if you ever ask any of them, I was never called a yes man. Uh --

DRUMMOND: Excellent!

DORSEY: You know.

DRUMMOND: I can’t --

DORSEY: But I --

DRUMMOND: -- imagine that you would have been.

DORSEY: But, you know, once that decision was made, you know, we go down the road --


DORSEY: -- and that’s what we carry out.


DORSEY: And all I’ve got to do now is figure out -- Uh geez, I forget to uh tell Engler about Usery [W. J. “Bill” Usery]. Uh all I’ve got to figure out now is how to get to uh the University of Georgia to organize.

DRUMMOND: The University of -- You mean Georgia State University.

DORSEY: Georgia State Universi--

DRUMMOND: To Univer-- to organize the archives?




DRUMMOND: You come on down! (laughter)

DORSEY: We’ll uh --


DRUMMOND: We’ll pass out some fli-- So you would be willing to pass out fliers for --

DORSEY: Oh, yeah!

DRUMMOND: -- for me.

DORSEY: Oh, yeah. Uh --

DRUMMOND: Not for the retirees but you --

DORSEY: Uh yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- you’d come help me out.

DORSEY: Right.



DRUMMOND: All right. And short of that, uh if you find yourself uh down that way, let me know and I’ll at least give you a tour.

DORSEY: OK. And uh --

DRUMMOND: We can leaflet the -- we can leaflet the stacks area.

DORSEY: OK. Uh now, if I remember right, didn’t they just move into a new building at the time Usery came on?

DRUMMOND: I’m not exactly sure of the timeline. Uh but --

DORSEY: But it was a new building --


DORSEY: -- seems to me. Oh, or maybe it was --

DRUMMOND: Oh, it was libraries tha--

DORSEY: -- refurbished building.

DRUMMOND: It was a new floor on a refurbished building.


DRUMMOND: They moved from uh what had been uh formerly referred to as Alumni Hall up to Library South.


DRUMMOND: And that’s where it remains today.


DRUMMOND: Yeah. Although we have so much material, we actually are spread out in five different areas on campus, five different [sources?].

DORSEY: So Placid Harbor uh is just a peeve of m-- not a peeve. I shouldn’t -- 74:00shouldn’t say peeve. I just went down to the library here. And uh so Placid Harbor probably sends a lot of stuff to you too.

DRUMMOND: Because a lot of s-- Folks don’t know where to send stuff, so they send it here. And then uh either Chris will get his secretary to send -- to --

DORSEY: The -- the reason I say that --

DRUMMOND: -- or Linda will.

DORSEY: -- uh you know, I had, uh a while uh -- eight, ten books, between Harry Truman and uh -- and Hubert Humphrey, that I sent down here for the library after I retired. So I just (laughs) read through the books down there. Uh I don’t see them there. So my guess is they shipped them down to you.

DRUMMOND: They may have. But I was not there when that happened.

DORSEY: I don’t know.

DRUMMOND: I wa-- No, uh I know.


DRUMMOND: I've only been there like 4 1/2 years.




DRUMMOND: -- hasn’t happened on my watch.



DORSEY: No, I didn’t mean for you to go looking for them. I’ve already read them uh --


DORSEY: -- you know.


DORSEY: I’ll raise that with Charlie. No. I’ll raise that with uh Chris.


DRUMMOND: Yeah. OK. Well, I think we’re done --


DRUMMOND: -- unless there’s anything --

DORSEY: No. You’re going to send me -- Let me sign that letterhead.

DRUMMOND: Let me thank you first --


DRUMMOND: -- for the record.


DRUMMOND: Thank you, very much, for sitting with me today.

DORSEY: For the record --

DRUMMOND: For the record.

DORSEY: -- thank you for interviewing me.




DORSEY: How's that?