Andrea Gorman Interview

Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library
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TRACI DRUMMOND: Today is Tuesday, November 19th. My name is Traci Drummond. Um, I’m a director of the Southern Labor Archives, and I am in Las Vegas, Nevada, with Andrea Gorman from Local Lodge 1584, um, out in, uh, uh, California. And, um, we are going to talk today to her about -- with her about some of her, um, experiences at -- as a union member, and as an activist. So, welcome, Andrea, and thank you so much for agreeing to, uh, participate in this program with us today.

ANDREA GORMAN: Well, thank you.

DRUMMOND: Um, I -- so, let’s get st -- let’s go back to the beginning. So, tell me, where were you born, and when?

GORMAN: I was born in Detroit, Michigan, on January the 8th, in 1946.

DRUMMOND: In ’46? And what did your parents do?

GORMAN: My father was a college professor, and my mother, um, at that time, um, 1:00she wasn’t working. But she was a third-grade schoolteacher before that.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Because I was number seven out of eight kids. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Oh, wow. Yeah, so that was keeping her busy, um, I imagine. So, um -- and you were earlier that your father was from Canada?

GORMAN: My father originally was from Canada. He went to Detroit, to work at the Ford plant.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And while he was working there, uh, he ended up going to, uh, to Michigan school -- uh, and, and teaching math in college. And my mother went to the school to become a schoolteacher -- third-grade schoolteacher. That’s how they met.

DRUMMOND: OK. And, um, these days it might be frowned upon if a professor and a student were to, um, you know, maybe have more than just a, you know, traditional relationship.

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: But, so, did -- well, do you know if that was ever a concern or a problem for them?

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: I mean, did she take classes from him, directly, or --?

GORMAN: Um, I actually -- like I said, I was number seven out of eight.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: So, everything I know is hearsay.

DRUMMOND: OK, I see, that’s --

2:00

GORMAN: But my understanding is, they had great respect for each other.

DRUMMOND: Oh, good.

GORMAN: And there was no, no feeling of any kind, other than really respect for each other.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

GORMAN: And in th -- in those circumstances, every one that knew them had respect for them as well.

DRUMMOND: Oh, wonderful, OK, OK. And so, um -- so they’re -- so, what was it like growing up in a household with so many kids?

GORMAN: Um, we had a little bit of problems, uh, in my story there -- uh, in, in my past history. Um, we ended up -- my father died before I was four -- uh, to -- six weeks before I was four.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And we were separated for a while.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And, um, it was really great to get back together again.

DRUMMOND: OK. Well, let’s --

GORMAN: And, uh, I would have to just say we were very fortunate to have each other.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um, well, let’s talk a -- do you mind talking about that a little more? Because I can’t imagine being five years old and being separated. Did y-- uh, and so, from what I remember, you said that four of the kids went into an orphanage. Were you all, at least, in the same orphanage, or was it -- ?

GORMAN: Yes.

DRUMMOND: OK.

3:00

GORMAN: Yes, we were very lucky, the four youngest.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And like I said, I was seven out of eight. And the twins were just older than me.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

GORMAN: And, and my o -- other younger sister, Frances, were the four girls -- we were four girls. And went to the orphanage, which was actually, uh, St. Vincent de Paul-Sarah Fisher, Detroit. And, um, we were -- uh, we were -- like I said, we were the same age groups, uh, too, you know, because we were all so close in age. Uh, it was scary. I mean, when we seen our mom leave, you know, we cried, and it was scary. But we had each other. We stayed together. And they let us -- uh, there was four beds in a room. And four people sat at a table. They let us stay together at all times. The nuns were absolutely wonderful.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: But it was not the same as being home. And we had just lost our father. And then, to be taken away from our mom, and then our other brothers and sisters, you know --

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: -- I had two brother and two sisters that did go into foster homes. And, and, you know, um, it was, you know, I mean, sad to us, because, you know... But 4:00we, we were treated good, and we were very fortunate where we were at.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: It was a very wonderful place. But as kids, all we knew is we weren’t together. And that was sad.

DRUMMOND: OK. And can I ask, uh, you to maybe give a -- I mean, more detail about what precipitated being taken out of your home, after your father? Because it wasn’t immediately after your father passed away.

GORMAN: No, it -- my mom tried to keep us together. But, um, we have -- she had eight kids from the ages 2 to 12.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And she financially could not keep us together.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

GORMAN: So, um, you know, that’s really, uh -- from what I understand, the bottom line is, she just, financially, couldn’t keep us together. And it wasn’t until less -- you know, actually less than four years later, we were able to receive Social Security survivor benefits.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And thanks to Social Security, we were reunited with our mother.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And each other.

DRUMMOND: OK. And was your mother able to visit you?

GORMAN: Yes, my mom was able to visit us, and we were able to go home.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And it was hard on her, because, uh, you know, we would cry when she had 5:00to take us back. And she’d say, “I’ll be back next week,” you know, whatever. You know --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and sometimes she couldn’t. But, uh -- but we -- I do remember going home and, and, you know, being really happy every time we could go home, but very sad every time we went back.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. And what year was it when you were finally able to go home?

GORMAN: Um, I would have to really look that up. But I believe, uh, it was, uh -- but, I believe it was June of ’59.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Or it -- yeah.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Or no, no, ’55, sorry. (laughs) Sorry, I, it, it was ’51 -- I was around ’51 when we went in the orphanage.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, it was ’55 when we went out.

DRUMMOND: OK. And, um -- and everybody was able to kind of come home and come back together at the same time?

GORMAN: Yes, um, the older ones that were in foster care were able to come home first -- they, you know -- and that -- uh, but my older brother, um, he was a lifeguard in Detroit.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, a month before he turned 16, he, he drowned saving two people. 6:00So, he wasn’t there when we got home.

DRUMMOND: I’m sorry.

GORMAN: And, um -- yeah, because we felt -- you know, we didn’t understand why he quit coming to see us. They didn’t tell us right away, what had happened.

DRUMMOND: Right, right. That must have been hard.

GORMAN: It was extremely hard.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: But, uh, you know --

DRUMMOND: It sounds very bittersweet, that you were coming back together, but missing -- you know, your dad was gone, and your oldest brother.

GORMAN: Right.

DRUMMOND: But what a heroic way to pass, if he was saving other people.

GORMAN: Yeah, well, a -- actually, as a child, we just -- you know, we looked at the good side. Because, you know, it wasn’t until I looked back. Everything then just seemed like, you know, we were so lucky to get back together again.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And like I said, it was Social Security -- we’ve seen so many other kids in the orphanage that never got to see their family, being adopted out and everything else.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But we, at least, got back together again.

DRUMMOND: And the Social Security helped because you all were able to receive a benefit?

GORMAN: We received a benefit, uh, for the eight kids. And my uncle, he, he’s provided a house for us to go live in.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

7:00

GORMAN: And that’s how we had -- we were able to get out and stay together.

DRUMMOND: OK. When -- and what were things like after that? Tell me a little bit about school, and your friends, and --

GORMAN: Well, um, actually, I remember, uh, first we went to a public school. Um, and it was nice and it, um, and that. And then we went to a Catholic school -- uh, St. Cecilia’s -- uh, for a while, before we moved to Ohio. But, uh, the -- it was pretty good. I mean, like I said, uh, we had, uh, what we thought was a normal childhood. (laughs) But, uh, we look at each other laughing, because there was -- there’s nothing really normal about us, (laughs) other than the fact that -- I mean, everyone’s a little different, but the s-- but we had the main qualities of family.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: You know, you want to stick together, want to be together, and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- good times, bad times, it doesn’t matter. You want to be with each other, and you want to support each other.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. And so, how old were you when you all move to Ohio?

GORMAN: Um, I was 14 when we moved to Ohio. My mom had remarried. And, uh, uh, 8:00he had gotten transferred to Ohio.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And, uh, so, we moved to Ohio, to a farm. Not all of us did. Now, the older, uh -- I said my, um -- Pat had passed away, and my older two sisters, they had already graduated, and -- from school, and that, and, uh, married and that. Um, so, it was the -- you know, the younger ones that moved to Ohio.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. OK. OK. Um, and what was that like? Was that, uh, (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)?

GORMAN: Oh, we didn’t -- yeah, no, we moved from a city to a farm. (laughter) Yeah, I mean, we said, well, it was the fresh-cut farm air. It was not fresh. (laughs) I mean, it wasn’t the kind of fresh we were expecting. Um, I didn’t like the farm life. I liked city life, yeah.

DRUMMOND: So, you were -- like, at the farm, you were expected to work and help --

GORMAN: Uh, no, not really.

DRUMMOND: -- do all the -- ?

GORMAN: It was just --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- the difference in -- city living and country living is --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- totally different. And, um, I just like the city. I, I always have and I think I always will. I couldn’t wait to get back in the city, you know?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, OK. And, so, you got there when you were 14. And --

9:00

DRUMMOND: OK, um, we are continuing the recording. Um, so, a few years after you got to Ohio, you met a young man and fell in love. And you got pregnant at the age of 16.

GORMAN: Yes.

DRUMMOND: What was that like, being young and, um, in love, and everything seeming very -- yeah, you know, I guess it was a very exciting time for you. Um, what was that like for you then?

GORMAN: You know, it -- I was -- I had a lot of support. I mean, everybody was telling me -- I was 16, and I was given many choices. I was told that I didn’t have to get married, uh, but -- uh, the priest said that there was, uh, many options I had, if I didn’t -- you know, and, it -- as it turned out, I w -- you know, I was in love. I got pregnant because I was in love. And so, we did get married. I was 16, and he was 19.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, we got married June 2nd. And then, the baby was born on October 31st (laughs) of that year.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

10:00

GORMAN: So, it, it -- I mean, I was happy. Um, I, I just -- you know, at the age of 16, I thought I was the smartest person in the world.

DRUMMOND: We all did.

GORMAN: And the day the baby was born, and I was holding him, I remember thinking this poor little thing has got to depend on me. (laughs) But before that, I thought I was the smartest person in the world --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- (laughs) until I was -- I totally didn’t realize the responsibility that I was taking on.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. And was it a boy or a girl?

GORMAN: A boy.

DRUMMOND: Tell me a little bit about your son.

GORMAN: I am very fortunate. I have three sons, but this is my oldest one, and I keep telling him being born on Halloween was perfect, because next day is All Saints’ Day. (laughter) And, uh, but, he was a -- he was extremely intelligent, and I didn’t realize, uh, um, to the effect because of being 16 and, and that. But, uh, I, I realize now, and even -- I realized a long time ago, I was very fortunate because I got to enjoy my children -- playing with them. And I think I probably grew up with them. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: But, uh, we had a, a really great relationship, and we still do. And 11:00he’s, uh, uh -- he works at General Motors now, um, as an electrician. He t --

DRUMMOND: What city?

GORMAN: Oh, in Defiance, Ohio.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

GORMAN: Yeah, he works in Defiance, Ohio. He, he loved California. He lived -- he was born here, but -- and we moved back east. He, you know -- but he, um, also worked for the post office for a while and that, but, um, uh, I’m extremely proud of him. And you’re ask -- you know, uh, for his mother, it, it -- you know, I, I could -- he’s a wonderful father. I, I’m proud of that fact. He has two sons. And -- which, uh, gave me my first two grandsons. And, uh, he, he’s very, um, considerate and kind.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Intelligent, and, you know, I tell him -- I says, “You know, you were given everything. You’re good-looking. You’re healthy. You’ve got a great personality. You’ve got a great education. So now it’s up to you to do something good with it.”

DRUMMOND: Yeah. That’s great.

GORMAN: And he has.

DRUMMOND: And, and I’m sorry -- and tell me his name again, if you didn’t mention it.

GORMAN: I didn’t mention it. David.

DRUMMOND: David?

GORMAN: Yeah, Avina, yeah.

DRUMMOND: Um, and when you -- so, that’s the first time you went out to California, is when you were --

12:00

GORMAN: Pregnant with the --

DRUMMOND: -- pregnant --

GORMAN: Yes.

DRUMMOND: -- with David. And, um --

GORMAN: Then, the year later, I had Jeff. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: OK. Oh, wow, I didn’t realize that they were so close together, and --

GORMAN: The first two are, uh, a year apart.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And then, the next one was six years later -- the third one.

DRUMMOND: OK, so tell me a little bit about Jeff.

GORMAN: Uh, Jeff is, um, uh -- actually, he was born on November 17th. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, um, he, he, he was actually -- well, they were both really great in sports. I did mention that about Jimmy, but Jeff was, um, the, uh, really good hitter. Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds were looking at him in his senior year.

DRUMMOND: Nice.

GORMAN: But he went on to Ohio State, um, and, and take other classes, because he realized he couldn’t sit on the bench. And even though he thought he was the best, if -- when he went to their camp for a couple of weeks, he realized there’s a whole lot of -- that were the best and that.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, he didn’t want to sit on the bench, so he took a different career line. And he’s doing an excellent job. And he has two sons.

DRUMMOND: OK.

13:00

GORMAN: So, I have my next two sets of grandsons (laughs) --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- that I’m extremely proud of. And, uh -- and again, uh, he’s an excellent father and son and --

DRUMMOND: OK. Well, while we’re talking about this, you -- let’s go ahead and talk about your third son. You said --

GORMAN: My third s--

DRUMMOND: -- it was six years later.

GORMAN: Yes, six --

DRUMMOND: What’s his name?

GORMAN: Uh, Joseph.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And Joseph lives closer to me in California. Jeff lives in Lyons, Ohio.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: But Joseph lives in California with -- uh, same as I do, with his son, D.J.

DRUMMOND: All boys.

GORMAN: All boys. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: Uh, and I’m extremely proud of all of them.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: Uh, they’re extr -- uh, you know, like I said, they’re -- uh, one thing about my boys, I, I realized that they realized how important family is, because they’re great fathers, and -- and, uh, that meant a lot to me, too, to watch them with their kids.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I get a lot of happiness just watching them. And now, respo -- it -- I think that’s the biggest thing, a parent sees their -- when they see their child growing up, it’s hard to see them growing up, because they’re your child. But when you see them with their children, and how much they do and that, that realize how much of a success you were raising them --

14:00

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- because they just turned out great.

DRUMMOND: OK. OK. Um, so, when did you become a Teamster?

GORMAN: I became a Teamster back in, um -- when I move back to Ohio after, um, Jeff was born. And it was around ’66, I believe.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And I went to work at Fayette Tubular, and you had to be -- you know, I always looked for union jobs.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. OK.

GORMAN: I mean, I always knew I wanted a union job.

DRUMMOND: OK, so then, this is a good time for me to ask you, what did you know about the union, and why was it important to you to have a union job?

GORMAN: Well, I remembered -- I, I knew this really horrible person, and he was talking about how he made people work -- at work, run in circles. And then, him and his brother one night were talking about -- these people were talking about getting a union, and they just couldn’t have it. And I thought, if they didn’t want a union, it had to be good. (laughter) And all my life, I was going to look for a union.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And I was 14 at that time.

DRUMMOND: OK, and so, you really didn’t understand --

GORMAN: All I knew --

DRUMMOND: -- exactly what unions do.

15:00

GORMAN: No, I just knew this bad person didn’t want a union, and that meant it had to be good. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: OK, wow. Um, and so -- and so, your first union job -- ’66, you were a Teamster at Fayette Tum-- Tubular.

GORMAN: Uh-huh.

DRUMMOND: What did you do there?

GORMAN: We made car parts -- really tiny ones. We ran a press, and, um, I remember that -- and I did a deburring machine. It -- with the -- you know, some of the parts... But they were for the --

DRUMMOND: What’s a deburring machine?

GORMAN: Oh, OK, when, uh, you cut the steel, it’s -- it, it ends up -- a burr on them, and around them, inside.

DRUMMOND: Burr -- OK.

GORMAN: And a deburrer makes it smooth.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, that way, people don’t get cut off the (inaudible).

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, a deburrer machine does, uh, do that. So, I also did that. But, um, uh... And then I -- the very last part of it, I, I was t -- an inspector.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I, I really loved being an inspector.

DRUMMOND: OK. But you weren’t there very long, because in ’68 --

GORMAN: I -- I, I --

DRUMMOND: You went -- you became a steelworker in West Unity.

GORMAN: Yeah, this factory paid twice the amount of money than --

DRUMMOND: Wow.

GORMAN: -- the other one did, and my brother was working there, and he got me a job there.

DRUMMOND: OK.

16:00

GORMAN: And so, I went to work there in --

DRUMMOND: Hayes-Albion.

GORMAN: -- in Hayes-Albion. And --

DRUMMOND: What did you do there?

GORMAN: Actually, I started off working in the pipe department, which was kind of rare, because mostly men worked back there. But there was a few women.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And we ran some of the presses and that. And then, others, and the deburrer. So, I was qualified for that department to start with. But I ended up doing inspection work. And even though I was there for 13 years before they closed down, I did mo-- I -- uh, the -- I did mostly inspections.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: I went on inspection and I loved that the most.

DRUMMOND: OK. And in either of those two jobs, um, at Fayette Tubular or at Hayes-Albion, did you ever come into -- did you ever face any conflicts with the men working there because you were a woman in the plant, trying to do the same things that they were doing? Did you have any issues with that?

GORMAN: Um, I will s -- yeah, there, there was times that you had to prove yourself.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But I would say more afterwards, when I went into a shop, uh, in Richmond, California. I was the only female production worker, and I had to 17:00prove myself all the time.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And that was more a conflict. But at that time, uh, I was the first woman that was on the committee. I mean, I was a steward first.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, for the steelworkers --

DRUMMOND: For the steelworkers?

GORMAN: -- they, they run it a little different on their, uh, officers. And when it came time to go in with management to try to settle grievances, you have a committee for it, and they’re the ones who negotiate the contract. And I was the first woman that, uh, actually held that position for the -- then.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And back then... And, um, I had to prove myself a lot, but not, uh -- you know, it seemed like, uh, it would -- you know, if -- after a while, and especially with management, you know, they thought they were gonna be able to, you know, like -- because I try to work things out with people.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I, I feel it’s best to try to reason and, you know, be -- work together at settling things. But, uh, they took it as a weakness.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

GORMAN: And I had to prove to them I wasn’t weak.

18:00

DRUMMOND: OK. I see. So, uh, were you one of the first female stewards on the floor, or -- ?

GORMAN: Uh, I believe so.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Uh, I’ll be honest -- I never thought about it, because the committee men was -- uh, the reason I remember the committee men so well, when we were negotiating the contact, the guys at -- I say “the guys,” as they’re union members -- wanted to change it to “committee person.” And the company said they weren’t gonna do it for one person. And they were using the time up. And I says, “You know, we’re not gonna waste time, because I don’t care what you call me at work, because I’m coworker.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: “So, when I leave the plant, I’m a lady. So, I don’t care what is down on paper here.”

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

GORMAN: “As long as you know that I’m a coworker here and a lady when I leave the plant.”

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And, uh, so, that was more into that. But --

DRUMMOND: Well, as you -- as you got more involved with the union, and you thought back to when you were 14 and you heard those two guys talking about ant-- you know, being very antiunion, did you ever think back to that and say, “Oh, well, I can see why they would have been threatened by a union”? And 19:00did it -- did it sort of, um, become more than you just wanting to do the opposite of what they were saying -- that you were really -- you really wanted to be involved?

GORMAN: Completely. And, as you said, I knew, because of their personality, I didn’t want to be anything like them. But I realized the more I worked -- and I was in this environment that it is -- uh, the unions protect you. They actually work together. They recognize your good qualities. They bring them out. They, they encourage you to do more. And this frightened these people like this. So, I realized unions were g -- a good thing.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Not just because someone else didn’t like them, but because they really are good.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I strongly believe that every -- I don’t care what union it is, every union is better than no union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But the Machinists is the best. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Um, and, so then, let’s talk. So, you were in West Unity, Ohio, um, 20:00from ’68 until ’81. And then, you headed back to California.

GORMAN: Correct. We had a plant closure, and at this time, my older two boys, the -- the oldest one was married and had a son.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, then just -- and then, my other son was going to Ohio State. So, the youngest son and I -- I told him -- I said, “There’s no work here in Ohio.” And I said that, you know, “Go to California and try it for six months, and if either one of us don’t like it, we’ll come back. But, um, I’d like to go and give it a try.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And he agreed. So we came -- we went to California, and we both loved it. So, we’re still there.

DRUMMOND: So, what was it like moving away from your f-- like, this life you had established for yourself and...?

GORMAN: Oh, it was -- my s-- I had a couple of sisters and my mom were living in California at this time.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

GORMAN: And I had a couple of sisters in Florida. So, I had a choice where to go. Uh, but I -- the only one I had in, in Ohio was my children --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- which was more -- it was definitely important, but I realized that they were going to go on with their life as well, and I, I needed to support myself.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I’m self-supporting at the time, and there was just no jobs.

DRUMMOND: OK.

21:00

GORMAN: So, I had to make a difficult decision. It wasn’t easy, but I knew it had to be made, and I think I made the right one.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. So, you ended up in East Bay, California, and became a Machinist in 1982.

GORMAN: Correct.

DRUMMOND: And that would have just been, um, six years before their hundredth anniversary --

GORMAN: (laughs)

DRUMMOND: -- um, because they were founded in 1888. Um, and your first job was at Sherwin-Williams. Talk to me a little bit about that job.

GORMAN: Um, yes, my sister worked in the office there, and, uh, I didn’t realize it, but a lot of people there -- working there (laughs) was related. And, uh, she got me the job. Uh, but she did tell me I couldn’t -- uh, didn’t want me to embarrass her, because she worked in the office.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, I -- uh, she got me the job, and I told her I wouldn’t embarrass her. Uh, and she knew I was a good worker. I wouldn’t miss work and everything. So, she wasn’t worried about that. She was more just worried about me becoming very active in the union --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- because she was not a union person. And then, her and I would always have our disagreements on that. (laughs) And that -- so, I -- but it was good, because I, I was union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

22:00

GORMAN: I was able to. And met a lot of wonderful people in the union there. And, uh, um, you know, I had a great job, in my opinion. And --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and it’s all because of the contract we had. And we had a wonderful rep -- Bob Moffatt, at the time.

DRUMMOND: OK. Is that M-O-F-F-A-T-T?

GORMAN: Correct.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um, so, tell me about your job at Sherwin-Williams. Did you have the same job at -- the whole time you were there? Or did it -- ?

GORMAN: Well, actually, um, we ran the presses, uh, mostly the women.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: They had the press department. And they had a can line. We made, uh, cans for paints but also, I think, for the peanut oil or something. Uh --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- I remember so-- one of those -- were, uh, at one time -- but women worked in the press department, so I was hired to work in the press department. And you ran the presses, and you checked the lids, and you packed them. Uh, on the can line, it was always men. But, uh, one in a while they were short, so the foreman came over and asked me, because I was the low seniority at one time -- he told me I had to run the job off. He found out that I was really good at it. 23:00But I found out the men got paid a little extra, and the work was easier than the women’s department. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Really?

GORMAN: Yes. So, I end up volunteering and working a lot of overtime, and I actually went back and worked in shipping, even. You know, and on overtime and that. And I had to laugh because they pulled one over on us women, because (laughs) it was not hard at all.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, it didn’t matter. I was happy to have the job. I was very lucky to have it. And I --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- um, and it was diff -- it was different. But I found that -- and I say it, when the plant closed, and I freaked out -- what was going to happen to me?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I got a better job. It paid more. It was easier work.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And that happened every time.

DRUMMOND: Really?

GORMAN: In every plant closure. And I was in several.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I freaked out every time, but every time, I found a better job.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Easier, and better pay.

DRUMMOND: Um, well, did you ever -- bringing it to anyone’s attention that the women were not being paid as well and doing more difficult work? Did you ever try to --

GORMAN: Oh yes, I would --

24:00

DRUMMOND: -- make that a, a li -- a bit of a campaign, to, to rectify that?

GORMAN: Oh, I -- actually, I, I did it as far as the education is, is, you know, you have to try something to know if you like it or not.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: You can’t just look at it. And sometimes things look different than they are. So, unless you try it, you really don’t know.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: And I -- you know, don’t assume because they pay more it’s harder. Find out. If you want it. If you want to try -- you know, there’s no reason not to try something.

DRUMMOND: Right. But do you think maybe they got paid more because they were -- because they were men?

GORMAN: Well, I -- uh --

DRUMMOND: Even if the work wasn’t more difficult?

GORMAN: Back -- I believe, back -- you’ve got to remember, now, we have these -- more equal rights, because of the union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And we -- working with lobbying and everything, and the activists and that, making things equal. Things were not equal back in our -- my childhood and my first working days. And I think this is part of it. We got education to find out they were... You know, we -- you know, we were all good workers, and wanted -- earned our pay and, you know, no one wants to stir nothing up. But, at the 25:00same time, hey, I want to be treated equal.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, you know, it -- I want to be paid what I’m worth.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you find out it’s not just you feeling that way. That there’s -- others feel that way.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, it’s easier when you’re standing together.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: Because it’s not just about you. It’s about what’s right.

DRUMMOND: Yeah. But then, you had -- somebody has to step out front first and say, “Hey.”

GORMAN: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: And was that you?

GORMAN: Well, it was me in the fact that I realized that the pay was there. Most of them didn’t -- they didn’t realize there was a difference because they were happy where they were at. They had a good paycheck. They were able to support and help towards the family. Um, you know, I always wanted -- um, I always liked looking and learning and, and just getting more.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I’m not -- you know, financially. I’m getting more education-wise, and, and find out what -- uh, how -- like I said, unless you do it, you don’t know if you like it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I found out so many things you think you’re going to like, you don’t. And other things that -- you don’t think so, you do. So, you just -- you know, if you’re able to, get out there and learn it. Try it. Find out. And I -- and I think I stood out because of the fact that I wasn’t afraid to try 26:00something new.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: A lot of people afraid to try new things. And I was never afraid to try new things.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I was never afraid to stick with the old that works good, but if you can add better to it, you know -- ? And I, I think that’s where I stood out, is the fact that -- and I -- and I also stood out for the fact that I didn’t like anyone, uh, bullying at -- they call it bullying today. Where before, we had to stand together, and I realized that they’re -- some people needed more support than others. And I just was always there to support, if I could.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And I -- and I don’t think it’s that I was standing out for an issue. Uh, but it co-- it turns into an issue --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and it turns into a lot, because, you know, I mean, you just want to support everybody and make sure everybody is treated right as an individual --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and as a group. And --

DRUMMOND: OK. You keep downplaying your role when you keep, “I don’t think I did any...” and “I don’t think I -- and I -- ” But, um -- but I sort of 27:00feel like the things you just talked to me about are really sort of your blossoming, maybe, as an activist. Not just a union member --

GORMAN: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- but somebody willing to go that extra step, go that extra mile, maybe put their, um, personal comfort level on the line a little --

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: -- to, to do stuff. Do you consider yourself an activist?

GORMAN: I definitely consider myself an activist.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: I believed in --

DRUMMOND: And when did you first feel -- or when did you first realize that?

GORMAN: It was after I was a Machinist. Uh, I have two men -- uh, mentors.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: One was Daniel Barreiro, who was the president of the local lodge.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And Marge Kolb, who was our s -- record-- our secretary-treasurer. And they made me realize that I had a lot of to offer. And, you know, I always felt like you said, you know, that -- uh, someone fought and got me Social Security. My family got back together again by all those that fought to get us Social Security.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, I know we have to fight to keep it for the future as well as the 28:00present, because it is good.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But I realized everything I have -- our jobs, our, our safety -- we have the Machinists union because people had passed away, and they formed the union --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- for safety. And I realized someone else had done something for everything I have. So, I’m not really thinking down -- you know, with me, I’d -- I just don’t think that I gave and did as much as the peo -- previous people before me.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I hope that I do something to help the future, because of how much I’ve gotten thanks to the union and all these before me. And I definitely am an activist, because we need people to stand up for what’s right, for yourself and for others.

DRUMMOND: What makes you unafraid to do that?

GORMAN: I think --

DRUMMOND: Because so many people are just afra -- I mean, sometimes people aren’t motivated or, you know -- it’s hard work, and you have to give a lot. And maybe you take a chance on not getting a lot in return, or not, you know, accomplishing what you achieve. What makes it worth it to you?

29:00

GORMAN: What makes it worth it to me is, like I said, the mentors I had --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- made me realize I had the ability to do it. But it’s the things I have because of others, and I go -- they made me realize I can make a difference in someone’s life, too.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And then, I have people today -- I mean, like, we have Charlie the reti -- in the retirees’ club --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- who really lets you know how much you do and how much it’s appreciated.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And this to -- helps you go and get stronger, when people are -- let you know that what you’re doing is making a difference.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, you know, you don’t have to second guess yourself when you hear others tell you as well. And, you know, because no one’s perfect, and my ideas -- yeah, I -- you know, I know that everybody has great ideas.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And when someone, um, can let you know that you’re doing what’s right, and, and everything, it makes you feel better and you can get stronger over it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, I honestly believe in letting peop -- I’ve always let people know what’s right, so they can -- know that what they’re doing is good, and not to change it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

30:00

GORMAN: Let them know what’s wrong so they can change it. But with the Machinists, we also get that education. Um, and I’ve been very fortunate, enough to go to the -- uh, you know, the school -- the int -- uh, WWW. And, and it’s just wonderful. It, it, it trains you, and it gives you the strength you need to keep going, as well.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: To speak up in the first place. And I can remember the first class I went to, I probably was scared. By the end of the week, I was talking, and, and, and giving my opinion. But I was scared to at first. So, they really help you grow. And I, I, I know, 31 years of being a Machinist has helped me grow to be a lot better person than if I would not have been one.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. OK. Do you, um -- I mean, I think part of the education and technology center is getting the right tools, because --

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: -- sometimes you want to do things but you’re not sure of the way to go about it. But, certainly, having that stuff reinforced, I think, makes you, uh, definitely feel better about, uh, what you -- and you talked about mentors. Um --

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: -- Barreiro?

GORMAN: Daniel Barreiro and --

DRUMMOND: Daniel?

GORMAN: Yeah, and (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

31:00

DRUMMOND: And Marge Coke?

GORMAN: Right.

DRUMMOND: C -- like, the drink Coke?

GORMAN: K-O-L-B.

DRUMMOND: K-O-L-B -- OK. And, um, tell me a little bit about how you feel they mentored you.

GORMAN: Well, when I first met Daniel, um, it was at the factory, and I had heard rumors. And being the shy person I am, I straight-out asked him.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I says, “I heard you didn’t want the people from Sherwin-Williams here. That you wanted someone else hiring.” Now --

DRUMMOND: Oh, OK. So, this is when you’d moved on to National Can, from -- OK.

GORMAN: Right, he, he was at -- yeah, he worked at National Can.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And he said no. They said they ha -- they had, uh, merged two can companies together and he felt they should hire them first, but he had no objection to us being there as long as we wanted a job too.

DRUMMOND: And he was management, and not in the union?

GORMAN: No, he -- no, he was the union steward.

DRUMMOND: He -- OK, he was the steward, OK, OK.

GORMAN: He was chief steward. He was the chief steward and the president of our local lodge.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And, uh, he would watch me, and he was in -- yeah, I was inspecting. He was an inspector in the litho department, and I would go up there and relieve, 32:00and I would, uh, inspect, uh, and give breaks, you know, in his department. And he says, “You know, you’ve got to come to the union hall and meet Marge Kolb. She’s a wonderful person, and she needs to h-- you need to be mentored.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I had to laugh, because he’s telling me to meet Marge a mentor, but at the same time, he was being a, a good mentor.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And then, he told me I needed to meet Maria, with the Retirees’ Department. She was a great mentor.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, that’s --

DRUMMOND: Maria Cordone?

GORMAN: Cor -- yeah. (laughs) And, uh, so, uh, he, he couldn’t wait for me to be meeting these women to be mentored.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But at the same, um, uh, you know, he wasn’t thinking -- him being the president and being a man that I could take a lot -- learn a lot from him, which I did.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I learned, even though some of them -- uh, talks with a loud voice, and, like they know what they’re doing, find out. You know, like I said, I’m not afraid to find out. And he, he actually encouraged me, and Marge, uh, uh, told me, you know, “Danny said they needed a trustee, and he says you’re good -- ” Uh, you know, Marge says, “OK, we’re gonna put you out as a trustee. 33:00Danny just appointed you.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I said, “Well, I don’t know that I can do the job.” She says, “Yes, you can, so you’re gonna to do it,” you know? (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, and so I found out I could. But they really more than encouraged me, because I didn’t have the confidence. But they encouraged me, and I --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And then, you know, just went -- kept going up from there.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. And so --

GORMAN: And I, I respect them so much I wanted to be a lot -- liked what they were doing.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: And I was hoping I could follow in their footsteps as far as taking the Machinists and our local, because they, you know, did some wonderful things for our local lodge --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- building it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. I think it’s, um, very important that you’ve mentioned women as your mentors. You know, you are the first female Machinist I’ve ever interviewed. I mostly interview males, and I feel like that is because they are mostly males in the higher-up positions and more leadership positions. And I know that they, um, Machinists have made great strides in recent years to level the playing field a little more. But, you know, in the early ’80s -- early to mid-’80s, when you, you know, had moved to California and started working 34:00there, you probably didn’t see a lot of women in leadership positions.

GORMAN: No, and, uh, the one thing -- you’re -- like, you’re right. The Machinists, even then, uh, they s-- they had a lot of their women’s programs --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- trying to encourage women to become leaders, because women weren’t coming out and wanting to be leaders. They --

DRUMMOND: And why do you think that is?

GORMAN: I think that is because they’re a male environment. They -- I -- they weren’t lucky enough to have Danny. Danny said, “Go meet Marge. Go do this.” These -- you know... And this was a man telling me that you want to become a leader, you want to do more.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And the other women don’t hear this. Uh, they just -- like, you know, you want to go home and do the dishes. (laughs) You know, I mean, and I -- it’s being -- this might sound bad, but it actually -- how many men do not encourage women --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- where women do encourage the men? But I believe, now, the Machinists have -- is educating the men as well, to encourage their sisters to --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- as well as their brothers. And I do believe it’s a lot to do with our education and where we’re -- where we came from, but where we’re going. And, and I think the Machinists, in the 31 years I’ve been a Machinist, I 35:00could see so many programs encouraging and helping women come up to it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you will be interviewing a lot more women.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And it isn’t that there weren’t a lot before me. Because I know a lot of women --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- that have been presidents and vice presidents in locals, and, um, many, you know, stewards and, and held a lot of positions. But they didn’t, uh -- you know, they stayed within their local. They didn’t go out because they had their family, they had this. I was lucky Marge and Danny encouraged me to go to Placid Harbor --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- to go to school.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, and reached out to more. And, and the more you go, the more you reach out, the more you find is out there for you. I just had such wonderful opportunities because of that.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I think all this time, there have been other women doing even more than me. They just didn’t have the opportunities that I had. And, you know, now I think the opportunities are there --

DRUMMOND: The support?

GORMAN: -- for everybody. The support --

36:00

DRUMMOND: Somebody saying, “You can do this.”

GORMAN: “You can do it, and you’re going do it.” And they make it possible. They send you to the school. They send you to here and there.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And then, you know, you have the confidence, and you feel if they’re sending you, you need to do the best you can.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: You can’t let them down. You don’t want to let your local down. You don’t want to let the people that need you down. And then, you find out that you’re getting a lot out of it, as well. But even if that’s not the reason you do it, you do get a lot out of it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And it’s just, you know, a blessing all the way around for everyone. And I think you’re gonna see a lot more of it, because when you look at everything going on with the Machinists, you can see where everyone’s encouraging everyone to do their best and put out.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Uh, and, and, and not say, “The other guy can do it.” Do it yo -- you know, jump in and help.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: Jump in and do it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and let others join you. Never hold anyone else back. Encourage them to go further. I mean this -- where, before, you know, people weren’t trying to encourage, now we are.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

37:00

GORMAN: We’re encouraging yo -- uh, like we have the Young Machinists now.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Uh, you know, which is a great program, because we’re -- uh, because we need our future. They are our future.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And they need us.

DRUMMOND: And I think pairing them with, um, an older Machinist --

GORMAN: Uh-huh.

DRUMMOND: -- to be their mentor is a great way. Can you talk a little more about the program?

GORMAN: You know, I, uh -- not totally, uh, uh, the wisest person, except for I do know, um -- I have met quite a few Young Machinists now.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And a -- everyone I meet, it’s just a wonderful experience. And, and I can see where even though I -- you know, they d-- can learn from me. I learn from them too.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: It’s a -- you know, you’re learning from each other. And I can see the hope and that. I really feel great because, you know, for a while, you know -- we have our, uh, businesses that want to destroy the union. But now we have these Young Machinists, and they’re getting educated, and they’re strong and, and good. I have hopes for the future more, because I know these Young Mach-- Machinists will take over where we’re at, and build even the -- more of 38:00-- for us. And it’s a good feeling. And it -- I think this -- the program is to get them so they can know that, um, you know, where they come from. You need to know where you come from, sometimes, to know where you’re going.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you don’t want it to hold you back. So -- and the -- and this -- they won’t. We, we learn to work together. And we learned -- we laugh, and work together. And it’s great. You know it takes the past and the future.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Well, and as someone who worked in unions from the ’60s through the -- through the -- and you retired in...?

GORMAN: Two thousand and one.

DRUMMOND: Two thousand --

GORMAN: I went on disability.

DRUMMOND: Yeah. Um, so, for -- during that period, unions have sh-- continued to shrink.

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: And I think what I see -- and this is just what I see. But when I -- you know, in my job, I get to work with different locals. And I see that there are these old timers still around who had to fight for a good contract, who had to fight for safety in the workplace and all the benefits and everything. And then, all these younger people have been hired, and they don’t understand that 39:00they could lose that. They don’t understand the fight that went into getting that. And that there seems to be this lack of participation from union members of a certain age. Um, do you think, maybe, a lack of mentoring over the years has been part of what made them, maybe, more apathetic?

GORMAN: No, I honestly believe that what they don’t realize is that the unions have ch -- had help-- had actually helped in changing the laws to make their life safer --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and equal -- equal rights. If it wasn’t for the unions, you wouldn’t have all these laws concerning equality. If it wasn’t for the union, you wouldn’t have all these safety laws, especially with children. I took -- it took, uh, different groups working together to get these laws passed --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- to make their lives better, and our lives better, you know, it’s part of it. I think the thing that -- what’s losing is, uh, unions were -- 40:00before, you had to fight to be in a union. Then all -- some -- we had unions, and people knew they were good. Just like everything else, you’d -- you forget where you came from.

DRUMMOND: Mm.

GORMAN: And, and now, they’re t -- now that they’re taking it away, and they, uh, “Wait a minute. Why are we getting less pay now? We’re supposed to be getting more pay. Why are we not getting this?” Well, it’s because nobody was working on it, because they took it for granted. They didn’t realize they were being brought up, and you’re teaching them something else because this, now, has become an everyday... You don’t realize how much people had fought, and had to get it. But everything you fight for, to get in the first place, you have to constantly fight to keep it, because it, it is good. But you, you still have to constantly fight. But I don’t think we, we really understood that and passed that message on.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I think what we passed on to our kids is, it’s safer, it’s better, it -- and you need to get more education and, and that. But we didn’t push on to them, “You need to keep the fight going.” That it’s -- that it is a 41:00fight. It’s not just a -- it’s not something that you’re entitled to. You should be, but you’re not. You need to earn it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you have to constantly remind them, “You are earning it.” That nobody’s giving you credit for it. Like, “We give you this.” No, they didn’t give it to us. We earned it. Companies have never given us anything that the union didn’t earn for us. And I think that’s what the children need to be told, and need to recognize.

DRUMMOND: And you, um, are getting good feedback from the Young Machinists?

GORMAN: Oh, yes, I’ve -- already have. It’s wonderful.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: It’s a great feeling, now, I mean, because you, you know -- we know we need -- we need them for our future.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And when I see them and I’m around a few of them, and, and that, I think, “Hey, yeah, our Machinists union is gonna be in good hands.”

DRUMMOND: Good, good. Um, and I’m excited to hear more about their program while we’re here. So, let’s get back, a little bit, to your work history. So, you were at Sherwin-Williams for a while. And that’s where you met Daniel and Marge. But then you -- and they merged with National Can.

GORMAN: No, Sherwin--

42:00

DRUMMOND: So that’s when you went --

GORMAN: Sherwin-Williams closed down, and --

DRUMMOND: Closed. OK.

GORMAN: And we were very fortunate, uh, they -- all of us that were losing our jobs, they fought -- they found -- the other can companies that had contracts.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, we st-- we were able to stay with our same local, same union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. OK.

GORMAN: And get -- and, and find jobs right away. We weren’t out of work. I mean, even though the plant closure --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- we were able to go right to work somewhere else. And then, uh, National Can closed -- was bought out, and closed down, and they had to go to work.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But I was very fortunate. I had been a Machinist for 31 years, but I hadn’t been in the same shop. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Right, right.

GORMAN: And I’ve been in Local Lodge 1584, because I’d get a list of the places to go to.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And so, my last job was in Richmond. It was a, a steel plant -- Colorstrip.

DRUMMOND: Richmond -- ?

GORMAN: California.

DRUMMOND: California.

GORMAN: And, uh, it’s -- actually, I was the only female production worker when I first -- the first day I was working there, I was the only female production worker. When I went out on disability in 2001, the courts had ordered 43:00them to hire more women. And so, the owner said he would sell it before he hired women. And they -- um, he didn’t know his grandson had hired me, apparently. (laughs) But anyhow, uh, they ended up selling the plant and moving the equipment to Mexico. But I had been put on disability before the --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- that happened.

DRUMMOND: Do you feel comfortable talking a little bit about what happened that put you on disability? Because I think this is a good --

GORMAN: Oh, yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- way to talk about Social Security again. Because that’s sort of a theme for you.

GORMAN: Right, it -- Social Security, like I said, it, it saved my family, got us back together again. When I -- when I was 56 years old, and they told me I -- the doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to work again, I freaked out. I thought, what’s gonna happen to me? You know, and, again, the union came through with a pension (laughs) I didn’t know I was entitled to. As much as I did negotiation, I -- but, because of the Machinists, I had a pension coming.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I got Social Security Disability. But, um, mine was a Workman’s Comp case.

DRUMMOND: OK.

44:00

GORMAN: But I was actually, um, according to the doctors, born too strong for my body frame. And I had to have a hard, repetitious job, and I had to be a workaholic. That’s the only way you can get into the shape that I got into --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- which actually means that I have too many muscles, and they pinch my nerves and blood vessels, and put me in pain.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And if I use them, um, it, it causes a lot of problems. If I don’t use them, I’m OK. So, that’s why I do so well as a disabled person, because as long as I’m not using these muscles and that, I, I’m OK.

DRUMMOND: OK, I see.

GORMAN: So, that’s why I can’t work. That’s why I had to go out of work.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Because working, in this case -- in my case, the doctor explained it, working would kill me, because of the fact that if, if all these muscles get too strong, they’d pinch the nerves and blood vessels. As long as I’m not using them, they’re not getting strong and that. And then, I’m O -- yeah, I’m OK.

DRUMMOND: OK. Wow. And, um, you -- but even while on disability, you have been 45:00-- you were, the whole time, a trustee --

GORMAN: Yes, as long as --

DRUMMOND: -- for your local. And tell, tell us a little bit about that job and what that entails.

GORMAN: OK, yeah, um, a trustee you, you go -- you make sure that you watch the property of your local. The, the money situation, like we have a -- we own our own building, two-thirds of it, and that. And you, you make sure that, uh, everything is being done correctly for your members, because the -- as you know, everything that the local owns, the -- is the members’.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And so, you’re -- you’re -- you know, you have a few. We have three trustees and three auditors. We check the books and make sure the secretary -- uh, our secretary-treasurer is spending the money correctly and that, you know, and that -- you know, to make sure -- o-- kind of, overseeing it a little bit, like a -- (laughs) an auditor would do. And then, um, then, uh, you’d also -- you know, this ba -- that’s the main purpose of a trustee, is to make sure that, uh, the membership owns a -- uh, everything the local owns. And just to make sure that it’s not abused in any way. And that, that’s -- uh, to me, that’s what trustee means and, and that. And as far as the communicator -- 46:00that was a job that was created in 2000 at the convention.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, they wanted us to pass out, uh, literature -- to pass on literature to our members and that. And, um, I’ve also used it as a, a part to, uh -- and let the members know what’s going on in -- uh, as far as being the activist. Because so many of the laws make a different in your workplaces. So, you know, you’d kind of make sure they understand what’s going on, and, you know, try to encourage them to vote and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- be active politically in their community, and do other community services as well.

DRUMMOND: OK. So, your disability didn’t prevent you from holding an active --

GORMAN: No, it doesn’t, at all.

DRUMMOND: -- role?

GORMAN: Yeah, as long as I don’t have to work physically hard I’m OK.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. OK, OK. Um, so, then, let’s talk a little bit about -- let’s get back to the activism. Um -- actually, no, I’m sorry. Let’s go -- 47:00let’s -- so, you -- you’re not only active as a trustee and communicator, but you also, um, at your local, are part of the Human Rights and Organizing Committee. So, explain your role in those two committees for me. And that’s current, right? That’s --

GORMAN: That’s current. Yes.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: OK, um, as far as the organizing, as we all know --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- um, as you mentioned before, that unions, uh -- people don’t understand how important unions are today. They knew back when people were dying on the jobs, when people were losing jobs because someone didn’t like you, not because you weren’t qualified.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Or someone else had somebody that needed a job, and even though you had 20 or 30 years you were going to put them in instead. But it means a lot more than that, you know? And -- but you said -- so, we need to organize because we -- you know, we’re losing a lot of our members. We’ve had jobs taken, uh, with the free-trade acts -- taking our jobs away, and everything. It is so important that we organize. So, we have the Organizing Committee, and I feel, at 48:00this time, that’s the -- really one of the most important things I could do for my union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I’m talking about the whole union -- International Association of Machinists.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, um, so, I do, um -- we, we have meetings. We have events. Uh, we try to -- and, as -- I’m wearing this red wristband that just says “Local 1584 IAMAW, Organizing,” with the phone number.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Five ten, six three five, two zero six four. So that, if anybody sees it and thinks, you know, maybe I’m considering an org-- you know, we -- I need a union -- a lot of people know they do, but they’re scared. And maybe just by triggering, they might ask questions, and then I can give them information, you know?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, Organizing Committees are very important, because our, our union needs it, and the people that we help need it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. So, what’s the makeup of your org-- organizing committee? Do you have older and younger members on it?

GORMAN: We do have some --

DRUMMOND: OK.

49:00

GORMAN: Uh, we have both. I’m the oldest one. (laughs) I will say that. I happen to be the oldest one on our committee. And, um, uh, I wouldn’t say I’m the most experienced, but I am one that has a lot of experience.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But, uh, we have a very good organizing committee in our local lodge. Uh, they’re all active. We have a meeting, um, they all show up. Uh, when we had a campaign going on, uh, we, we could call somebody at the last minute, and we were there, handing out fliers and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- talking to the, hopefully, new members that we would be having by talking to them, and explaining what the union meant to us, and, and what we could do for them --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and everything. So, uh, being on that committee is very, um -- I’m very proud being on that committee, and that, uh, my -- all the others on my committee... We have some that are, are reps -- are -- and are a rep and organizer. Uh, we, uh, actually have a, a new organizer who had just came out of, uh -- got his, uh, second master’s, but he just graduated with two masters.

DRUMMOND: Wow.

50:00

GORMAN: Yes, and he c-- we, we were able to -- fortunate to get him on a summer program out of Berkeley, uh, to do research. And he’d come out to the lines and hand out fliers, and he’d be just wanting to learn, and we’re lucky enough to be able to hire him on with the district.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, we’re really proud of our organizing committee, which -- and I’m really proud to be on it, because I think we really -- we -- we’re there because we know how important it is to increase in numbers.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Because numbers is power.

DRUMMOND: And you --

GORMAN: And we all know that.

DRUMMOND: You gave me numbers earlier. I’m sorry to interrupt, but you gave me --

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: -- numbers earlier. Can you repeat those, that your local --

GORMAN: Yeah, yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- was once -- ?

GORMAN: Well, our local, at one time, had over 9,000 members. And, and we had to merge with other unions and everything -- other locals that had -- were losing members as well.

DRUMMOND: Other Machinists locals, or any -- ?

GORMAN: Yeah, other Machinists.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: All Machinists.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, uh, those -- uh, and then, now, we only have 400 working members at this time.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And at one time, we had over 9,000 at one plant. Uh, we -- it was a Singer Sewing Machine, but they were called Friedens. And they had 4,500 51:00members. We had -- in our local lodge, from them.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But we were Local Lodge 1518 before we merged. But the -- because we lost so many members, we had to -- we did merge with others. But, and, uh, the last few years, we’ve done nothing but losing members. But, uh, hopefully, uh, right now, we did, uh, get a new -- uh, we did get the vote from this campaign I was telling you about. And, um, they’re, right now, negotiating a contract. So -- and until they do get the negotiation of the contract, we can’t say we have officially numbers, but that would be 69 new members --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- if they get a -- once they get a contract. And I do believe we will be getting it. Uh, but it’s really important to go and, and get more, not just for them. Because it is important for them to get them -- the life and the benefits of the union --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- that is so wonderful, that we all experienced. But it’s also an -- important for us, for the union, because there is power in numbers. You let your numbers drop too much, you’re hurting yourself and you’re hurting others. So, you need to do as much as you can to build those number up, because 52:00they’re important.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Knowing what you know now, with all the wisdom you have, all the work you’ve done and seeing that organizing is so important. What do you think the union, or unions in general, could have been doing differently the last 30, 40 years, where they’ve been losing lots of union members? What could they maybe have done differently?

GORMAN: I’ll be honest. I think what happened isn’t the unions. It’s what you should -- uh, union members should have been speaking at home to their children and to their friends and relatives, to --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- letting them know what these -- all these benefits they have is because of the union. I think that, you know, parents as -- like I -- like I said, I told my son, is -- they got everything. We got them. It’s up to them to do with it. I said, “Thanks to the union, I was able to give you this.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: This is what we need to do. Let the -- they -- well, that’s what we could have done better. Uh, but that’s looking backwards. Give the credit 53:00where it’s due. Without the union, we would not have given -- been able to give our children what we gave them, and our children doesn’t -- didn’t know that they had, because of the union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: My grandson knows it now. I learned from that mistake.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: He sees union labels, and that -- he points them out. He’s seven now, but he was --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: -- five when he was doing it. So, we need to educate our children and let them know that everything we have and they have is because of the union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And things they don’t have is because of the greed in politicians and the greed in the companies, and that they need to become activists and union.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And need to be out there. And, also, need a good education. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: And that is one thing we -- that Machinists do provide now, is a great education.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um, in addition, uh, uh -- so, you talked a lot about the Organizing Committee. What about the local Human Rights Committee?

54:00

GORMAN: The Human Rights Committee is important, because everybody has to know they fit in.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: And I think a lot of people don’t know it. Like, I didn’t know how much I’d fit in --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and how much I did until my mentors let me know. And I think the Human Rights Committee -- people can come to you and, and talk to you, and know it’s, it’s confidential.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you can tell them -- give them advice or whatever. But mostly let them speak. And you find out -- when people speak to someone else, and they hear themselves talk, they learn from themselves, too.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, even just to be able to come to you... So, the Human Rights Committee is a very important thing, because it lets people recognize that they are individuals --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and they have rights, and people do listen and do care. I think that’s the most important thing from the Human Rights Committee.

DRUMMOND: And how committed do you think the Machinists are to, to really having the most diverse workplace possible?

GORMAN: Well, you’ve seen how far I came.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, like you said, so -- and if it wasn’t for the Machinists, like I s -- I, I would not be here.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

55:00

GORMAN: I, I wouldn’t, uh -- I wouldn’t have done so much. But the Machinists were committed to me --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and I had the opportunity from my local lodge -- uh, encouragement as well. But I also took the advantage --

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: -- of that. I mean, other -- others are afraid to take advantage. They don’t know. But, you’ve really got to reach out and try.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, the Machinist offers it. It’s up to us to take it, and learn, and use it. And then give it back.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Don’t keep it to yourself. Give it back. Encourage others, you know?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, uh, I was so lucky I ran into just so many people that -- you know, they had learned, and they, they shared it with me. And I’m trying to do the same.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um, in addition to all of that, you were also a delegate to District Lodge 190.

GORMAN: One-ninety.

DRUMMOND: And what is the work of a delegate to the district?

GORMAN: Uh, to the district, yeah, and all -- uh, we -- yeah, uh, they have the agenda just like your local lodge where you’d vote on them and that. And then, and, uh, to see where the priorities are, the movements you know, that we’re -- our -- you know, local lodges -- like, our members make up our local lodge. 56:00So, you’re -- you commit to what’s best for everyone.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And you try to prove it. Well, local lodges belong to the district, so you do the same. And you try to -- you know, you work together, you help each other out. And if one has a strike or one’s having hard negotiations, you work together. You help each other. And then you encourage each other, as well. And then, the… agenda, um, uh -- you know, it’s just -- uh, at, uh, uh, at a higher s-- uh, state.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Because more people are involved, of course, and everything. But I think that’s what it -- uh, we -- you know, you gotta make sure that they’re -- again, you, you watch to make sure that the money is spent on the members and everything, and that it is used wisely. You listen to all of that, and, uh, you know, um, the programs that they give, and the opportunities that they offer -- you know, there’s many -- we, uh, we just did a class -- an organizing class the district put out, uh, at our local lodge last Saturday. We hosted it in our hall because it was big enough to bring other locals from the district there. 57:00And, um, so, uh, we -- it’s a -- it’s -- we’re working together as a district. It works all the lodges together, with more leadership that [gives you?] more knowledge to help.

DRUMMOND: OK. Um, and you’re also a delegate to the IAM Building Association?

GORMAN: Uh, yes, our local lodge, uh, owns two-thirds of this building. And, uh, the other third is owned by the Ironworkers.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: So, we have a Building Association that we meet four times a year. And we have our bylaws for that, as well.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But what we do there is protect the property of our members --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- because our members are the two-thirds owners. We make sure that, uh, it’s run properly, the money is spent correctly, and all is kept up. And, uh, it’s used in the proper manners.

DRUMMOND: OK. And, um, it also says here that you are a volunteer?

GORMAN: I love volunteering, without a doubt.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: There’s a -- I have found it, uh, to feel really fulfilling, uh, to 58:00volunteer. And, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do to.

DRUMMOND: And what are those -- some of the things that you’ve done as a volunteer?

GORMAN: Um, the most recent one that, um, you know, I -- I was very fortunate, enough to be able to go to Ohio and work on, um, you know, education, uh, and while I was there, I was able to volunteer my time --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: You know, my extra time, on the Obama campaign and on other issues that were very important on, uh --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- upcoming election. Uh, that stands out in my mind quite a bit, because it was a wonderful time.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I felt like we really accomplished a lot.

DRUMMOND: And it was for the 2012 election?

GORMAN: Yes, it was.

DRUMMOND: And Ohio was a swing state.

GORMAN: Yes it was.

DRUMMOND: They weren’t sure what was gonna happen. So, can you describe the sc -- the scenario of all of the retired Machinists sort of going in there and the work that they did? Can you tell me a little bit about that?

GORMAN: Well, when you first a-- this was my first experience.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, um, I just -- you know, to myself, is, you know, you think, well, you know, well, how can they -- ? You know, I, I know how elections are. I -- 59:00and everything. But, you -- there are several things that were going on in Ohio that were very important. And I was really amazed at how many to -- in -- that lived in Ohio weren’t aware of the importance, and what, and why.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, I know we made a big difference, because we were able to educate them as far as letting them know what the issues -- like, redistricting --

DRUMMOND: Mm.

GORMAN: -- why it would be important. And why this person was good for us -- how they voted, and how they can, for the future, themselves, know -- watch where -- how people vote, you know? And a lot of people are -- you know, aren’t aware. And, and as a retiree going in, it’s the same thing. You take -- well, you don’t realize, people take things for granted unless you tell them why you do it, and how --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: You know, you just tell your children, you know, you’re gonna vote this way and that. But you tell them why you’re gonna vote for that person.

DRUMMOND: So, were you all only targeting Machinists, or union members, or were 60:00you -- it was just the community in general?

GORMAN: Well, the most thing is, you, you’ve got to remember, uh, we were -- as a -- you know, we were able to go to the union, uh, you know, uh -- you’re tied by laws.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, you can only do what, what the law will allow you to do.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: In general, I would love to tell the whole world --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- what I think. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: I mean, that -- I’ll be honest. But I also -- the, the main, bottom line here is, the -- you’re -- sometimes you’re restricted. We were telling, um, union members how we felt and why.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: That we were retirees and that, and we were volunteering, and, and that. You know, so, you do tell them how you feel and why. But I’d love to tell the whole world. I’d love to tell the whole state.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But you -- there’s only so many you can tell at one time anyhow.

DRUMMOND: Yeah, and so, you all were, um, just sort of localized, and if you -- in, uh, certain counties or certain cities or -- ?

GORMAN: But there’s only so much you can do.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: And so much area you can cover --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- and be at. So -- and if you’re here -- and, like I said, when you’re here, you know, learning about education and, and, uh, everything. And 61:00then, you’re volunteering your time, you can only do it where you’re at.

DRUMMOND: So, what city were you in?

GORMAN: I happened to be in Toledo.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Uh, I did go to Akron for two weeks.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: I was there.

DRUMMOND: How long were you there total?

GORMAN: Um, from October 1st to November 7th.

DRUMMOND: OK, so, you were for almost six weeks. Wow, so that’s a -- yeah, so that’s a lot of time to really get to know the area and the people. Were there certain neighborhoods you all focus-- or, you know -- or certain --

GORMAN: Union.

DRUMMOND: Or certain demographics -- so, it was all union?

GORMAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

DRUMMOND: It was all union? OK.

GORMAN: And, and just because, like, number one, well, what’s important issues that we were there for.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, how, how do you feel? I mean, like, right now, I’m so strong on Social Security.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, I can go to everywhere. It -- now, let’s say you’re going to -- now, there’s a rally going on, on Social Security, in San Francisco. I mean, I live down in -- you know, in the S-- you know, East Bay, San Francisco’s in -- on the other side. So -- but I will go to that rally for San 62:00Francisco. You, you will go where you need to, to know that, if you can make a difference, that’s something that’s important.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I think that’s -- is -- I don’t know if that answers your question, but I think you go where you’re, you’re needed and you can go. There’s a -- you know, only so much you can do, but you will go where you can, and where you’re needed.

DRUMMOND: About how many Machinists, retired, were in Ohio, working on this campaign?

GORMAN: I believe around seven.

DRUMMOND: Seven of you, around the Toledo area --

GORMAN: Yes.

DRUMMOND: -- potentially --

GORMAN: And Akron, yeah.

DRUMMOND: -- were res-- and Akron -- were responsible for having the state swing more Democratic.

GORMAN: But we were -- we were there -- uh, there was others as well.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: I remember Merle and his wife -- excuse me -- and another gentleman that, um -- so, we had -- you know, and you have your retirees that are active, that don’t ju -- you don’t really realize it, but you’re a retiree, and you’re -- you’ve been active, and you’ve been that. You are gonna be -- 63:00you’re, you’re talking to your neighbors --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- you’re taking to your church, you’re talking to your groups. So, I really couldn’t tell you how many retirees are active.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: Because I believed there was a whole lot of retirees.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK. But it wasn’t just your little group. They -- there were people everywhere.

GORMAN: No, they’re –- ev -- everywhere. You know, this is was something, you know -- and this was what we always had to remember. The word -- it doesn’t have to go in just your group. You’ve got to spread the word throughout.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Because that’s where it will make a big difference, too. But, you know, you tell 10 people how you feel, and you tell them why you feel that way, and they believe you. They tell 10 people, and, you know, you’ve got a hundred now, because those 10 tell 10.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And that’s what the Machinists do. They --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- know that it, it, it’s not the one person or one place. It’s, it’s the way it blossoms that’s important.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. But, um, why is this important? Is this important to you because Social Security has played such an important role, uh, in your li-- 64:00you know, with your childhood, and then with your disability? Or is this important to you because you’re a union member wanting unions to stay strong? Is this important to you because you’re an activist? Why was it important for you to be part of that?

GORMAN: I think it’s -- a lot has to do with the union, because I realized the, the strength in numbers, and how much the union does for everyone. So, if you’re going to be an -- uh, uh, I realized you have to be involved. You can’t sit back and let everybody else do the work. You know -- literally have to be involved where it will make a difference with so many people.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And I think that’s -- uh, and, and it all relates. I remembered, like, with organizing, uh, the first time I worked on an organizing campaign, I was surprised how much it was so much like when I was working as a, a delegate to C-- Alameda Central Labor Council. And I was going out on a -- the campaigns for, you know -- the political campaigns.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And so much is all alike. You -- it’s the same foundation. Maybe you’re -- and it’s the same outcome, because it’s all so important. It’s 65:00your future. It’s your children’s future. It’s your grandkids’ future that you’re out there for.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And everything you do is related back. But I think the strongest thing I had in my life -- and I know that has made my life a good life -- has been the union. Everything that I have that’s really good in my life today came from the union --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- and the fights. And Social Security, it started with, uh, as a child. Now, I mean, everybody fighting for that, and I realized after that it -- everything we have -- the safety in -- for children that we believe in so much, education, healthcare -- everything. The union has been involved in, in sending the words and message out to all the -- their members.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And that makes a difference in the long run. I mean, it’s not the only thing in life. Other messages get out there. So, we have to see, you know, how we can get the message out more and better, at times. Because, you know, we -- 66:00you know, fighting bigger groups -- sorry. But, anyhow, it’s just so important. To me, I think the union has made the biggest difference in my life.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. And so, it’s important for you to be giving back.

GORMAN: Oh, definitely.

DRUMMOND: Because you’re a union member?

GORMAN: I was so fortunate, I know, because of, of everything -- my kids and everything, is because of what the -- what the union --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And I -- and, and I want to thank them. I volunteered at first just to say thank you. And the more I volunteered, the more I gave, the more I get.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I mean, there’s no way of ever paying back, because you get so much back in return for everything you give.

DRUMMOND: That is a very grateful attitude. A lot of -- a lot of union members that I’ve interviewed have that.

GORMAN: Yeah.

DRUMMOND: Um, have that attitude. But that -- but you mentioned the Alameda Central Labor Council. So, is Alameda the county?

GORMAN: It’s the county that I live in.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And, um, I was very -- I -- very proud, I got the COPE Award.

DRUMMOND: That -- the --

GORMAN: That was for volunteering --

DRUMMOND: The Committee on Political Education.

GORMAN: Uh-huh, yeah.

67:00

DRUMMOND: And when did you get that award?

GORMAN: I don’t really remember the year, to be honest. (laughs)

DRUMMOND: (overlapping dialogue; inaudible). OK.

GORMAN: But I can find out. I think it was about five years ago. But, no --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- it has to be -- it was about six -- six years ago.

DRUMMOND: OK, OK.

GORMAN: And that was -- but that’s when I realized how important political actions are.

DRUMMOND: So that -- were you campaigning locally at that point?

GORMAN: In -- totally locally.

DRUMMOND: OK, mm-hmm.

GORMAN: On statewide issues and local issues. And that, um -- and so, it’s -- it was very important. It was really a good experience. And --

DRUMMOND: And I know that California -- I think, from the outside, people think of it as a liberal place, because what we see mostly coming out of Hollywood, and what we know about San Francisco, right?

GORMAN: And how -- right.

DRUMMOND: So, LA and San Francis-- the only two big, big, big, big cities in -- um, in California. But it’s -- you’ve had Republican governors, including Arnold.

GORMAN: I can honestly say I’ve never voted for a Republican governor.

DRUMMOND: So, you’ve never voted for --

GORMAN: For a Republican governor.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: Because they’re -- I -- there is not -- I have not seen a good one. I voted for the Democrat because he was the best choice.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

68:00

GORMAN: I would love to say “because she was.” But (laughs) there hasn’t --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: -- been one yet.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: But people in California, like you say, are more liberal and that, uh, somewhat. I, I think probably California speaks out louder. I don’t think --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- we’re the only ones that have a lot of ideas and everything. But it’s like I said, it -- the -- we -- you know, we, we have ways. You have the Hollywood movies -- they speak for us. They don’t speak for everybody because not everybody feels that way.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: We don’t have a say in what goes in those movies.

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: Or what comes out in the news. Same with San Francisco. I mean, there’s so much beauty, and so much --and there is diversity. And people accept people for who they are, and that -- and this is what we have to do across our country, is -- not just California. And I think we ha-- we do have, cross-country. It’s just not as much out in the open like -- you know, like I said, Hollywood makes these movies, so everybody’s watching them. And they think Hollywood --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: It’s coming out of Hollywood. But it might be coming out of your own backyard and you don’t realize it.

DRUMMOND: Right, right. Well, I guess I was at -- I was sort of setting up by saying those things, the question how, uh, labor-friendly is the state of 69:00California these days?

GORMAN: Depends where you live, in what area --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- to be honest. Because, uh, we -- if you look at the voting records, our area -- Alameda County -- is, is very highly Democrat. And the way we vote, you know -- we, uh -- and that shows it. Now, you have the Central, and --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- you have different areas. So, like everything else is -- is in a area, and what they people are taught, and what they hear, and what they believe. And the same as -- uh, in other areas, is just, where’s the number’s the greatest? (laughs)

DRUMMOND: OK. So, you were doing some campaigning for the Alameda Central Labor Council, and won the COPE Award. But you’re also involved in the Contra Costa Central Labor Council. And is that an area close to you, or a city close to you?

GORMAN: That --

DRUMMOND: Or -- ? OK.

GORMAN: Yeah, yeah, it’s -- actually, what it is -- I actually worked in Richmond, which is in Contra Costa County.

DRUMMOND: OK. OK. Oh, I see.

GORMAN: And I lived in Alameda.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And our local lodge has members in, uh, several different counties. And 70:00now, those two were -- and we have -- uh, so we have delegates in for both. And, and uh, delegates -- they’ll volunteer their time.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And since I do more volunteering time because I have it --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- um, my children being grown up and everything, and, uh -- and that. So, uh, yeah, so, I was involved in Contra Costa. A lot of that, uh, I’ll be honest. I -- it -- without going more into politics, I was helping more with, if someone was on strike or, uh, unfair negotiations, I’d be able to go out in support.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Um, I’d be -- I took a peer-counseling class, so if people needed any help or anything, they could call, and I could -- uh, mostly what you do is, you refer them to who could help, you know?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But I was available, and, and tried. And I did it for Alameda, as well. But -- so, that’s basically more what I did in Contra Costa, because I was giving my time in Alameda, because that’s where I lived, and I could vote.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And that -- and issues, you know, I, I was, uh, campaigning for people that, uh, would be in my area, that I could vote for.

71:00

DRUMMOND: OK. So, you have a very busy life, even as a retiree?

GORMAN: I say you’re busier -- the difference is, you get to choose where and when.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And you love it because you choose what you want to do.

DRUMMOND: OK. And you’re an activist, as well as a labor-union member.

GORMAN: Very, yes.

DRUMMOND: Um, are there any other areas that you’re active, or that your activism shows, sort of, outside the labor movement and outside of politics?

GORMAN: I don’t --

DRUMMOND: Is there any -- are there any, maybe, local issues or anything?

GORMAN: I volunteer in -- at the school, because you know that everybody has cutbacks.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: So, I do volunteer. My grandson is going to school.

DRUMMOND: OK, so is it elementary?

GORMAN: And I had -- I volunteered in the class -- I, I’ve actually volunteered in other classrooms. Uh --

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: -- and, um, helped the teachers. I -- basically, just whatever they need, you’ll do. You might make copies. You might work with a student one-on-one.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: You know, you do whatever you can. So, I do volunteer with the school as well.

DRUMMOND: And that goes back to your -- your -- what you said about education being --

GORMAN: Definitely.

DRUMMOND: -- incredibly --

GORMAN: Important.

72:00

DRUMMOND: -- important. And if children can have mentors and people encouraging them early on -- very good. Um, and of course, Social Security, now that you’re retired, is also very important for you.

GORMAN: Well, Social Security has been important all my life.

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: But I’ve realized, uh, it has -- it -- it’s there for everybody.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, and it’s the best program our government has.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And it needs to be there for everybody, at all times.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: Seventy-five years fantastic, and gonna be better for the next 75 years.

DRUMMOND: Well, and -- are there specific...? I mean, I’m sure that was a lot -- that played a big role in how you -- when you were in Ohio, sort of, uh, you know, talking to people. Um, that that played a big role in, in what you said to them. But are there any other ways that you’ve, um, gotten that message across?

GORMAN: On Social Security?

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: Or on other issues?

DRUMMOND: On, on Social Security.

GORMAN: Well, actually, yes, I pointed out to several people that -- on my childhood, that we had to go to an orphanage because we did not have Social Security benefits.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

73:00

GORMAN: But as soon as we got them, we -- my mother was able to -- and asked them, “Do you really want to lose your Social Security or keep it?” You know, “Think about who you vote for.”

DRUMMOND: Right.

GORMAN: “And who supports it, and who doesn’t. This is important. You’ve got to see how they vote. Watch how someone votes and what they vote for. And if they’re...” You know, “Anyone that is not for Social Security is not for you and your family, because it is the best program we have.”

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And really -- for all age groups, for every American, no matter Republican or Democrat, it is the best program.

DRUMMOND: And you were recognized by, um, Fortney “Pete” Stark, who was a member of the House of Representatives, representing California.

GORMAN: Mm-hmm.

DRUMMOND: And, um, he had -- he -- and you didn’t even know he was doing this, but he recognized you, um, on the floor, on Monday, March 19th, 2012. And that must have been a great honor for you. And, and your -- and your -- specifically, all your work, um, uh, for Social Security.

74:00

GORMAN: Yes, I was very honored when I -- when I got that, I, I -- I mean, it was a total surprise. I did not even know that he was gonna mention it on the House -- and have it on the records for the Congressional Records. But I felt a -- very highly -- tribute, but I also realized I did not really earn it. It just happened to be part of my life story.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But I -- you know, I, I did work with him -- other campaigns, like, for foster children and that, that we know need help. And, um, so, I knew him in our district --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- for just different -- even others. But he knows my strength and the thing that I -- is Social Security, because --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- I know how much difference it made. And so, I really was very honored that he did that for me.

DRUMMOND: OK.

GORMAN: And for Social Security.

DRUMMOND: OK. And, um, if you don’t mind, we’ll include a copy of that with your transcript. So, when people are looking at your transcript, they’ll have that little bit of extra information to read over, too. If you don’t mind.

GORMAN: Oh, I don’t mind at all.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: I’m very proud of it, and I --

75:00

DRUMMOND: Yeah, you should be. I think you downplay yourself a lot. I think you, uh, should give yourself a little more credit for all the hard work that you’ve done.

GORMAN: Well, thank you.

DRUMMOND: I’m just gonna -- I’m gonna -- I’m gonna say that as a -- I don’t know. Maybe it’s not my place to say it, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Yeah, um --

GORMAN: I appreciate it, thank you. A little more encouragement, I can do better tomorrow. (laughter)

DRUMMOND: Or take the day off, because seriously, you’ve worked so hard for so long. Um, so, I, I guess we’ll be wrapping up here pretty soon. Do you have any more mentors you want to talk about, or anyone that’s really influenced you, or encouraged you? Because earlier on, you talked about folks at your local. But it -- within the union, or anywhere else, or -- have there been any other --

GORMAN: There are many --

DRUMMOND: -- folks?

GORMAN: You know, to be honest, like, Charlie, had taken over -- when -- and Maria was fantastic.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: And I just couldn’t imagine anybody taking her place.

DRUMMOND: Uh-huh.

GORMAN: And then, when Charlie came aboard, it’s like wow, he’s doing a fantastic job. We’re so lucky. Uh, Lee Pierson was our general vice president, and when he left --

DRUMMOND: I interviewed Lee.

GORMAN: -- it was the same -- I -- and, and so you understand, I, I thought, oh, 76:00when Lee left, you know... Because Lee, I think, was a wonderful -- for everyone.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: He made out -- he helped save our local and make it stronger.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And then, I just didn’t know -- and then, Gary Allen is our general vice president, and he’s doing such a wonderful job for all of our members. And, and you look around, and, uh, you know, there are many --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: -- that you don’t even realize, they’re your mentor by watching what they are achieving and how -- and how many others are learning and getting from them. And, and like I said, it -- it’s just, like -- Gary -- I, I look at people now, and OK, I’m talking my age now. And, I’m looking, and I’m thinking, I see so many. And then, how lucky we are we have so many passionate, well-educated, caring --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And that -- and, and we’re getting them moved up into positions where they can actually do some good. And it’s so wonderful. So, yes, I do have other mentors.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, and, and I just look at them, and just see it. And, um, I -- every -- there’s mentors all around you. I even -- even the children -- some of the children around you -- I look at them and I see how they overcome some of the 77:00things they overcome, and, and become so much better and stronger, you know?

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And that’s mentoring, in a way. I mean, you know, and --

DRUMMOND: Yeah.

GORMAN: And my -- the -- my feeling -- and so, you have many mentors you don’t know about. And they’re -- you know, I listen to Tom Buffenbarger when he speaks. And when he talks it’s like, oh, my gosh, he’s so right. And, and there’s so many people listening and hearing, and it’s going to help us. You have your mentors and don’t know it.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: But everything they do --

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm. Yeah, they’re -- absolutely. Um, well, is there anything else you’d like to say to wrap up the interview, or anything --

GORMAN: A union strong -- I have -- really, really believe in that saying -- union strong.

DRUMMOND: Mm-hmm.

GORMAN: And, you know, people -- uh, just be good to each other, and educate and learn. You know, I mean, don’t keep your knowledge to yourself, and don’t be afraid to learn.

DRUMMOND: OK. Well, if that is it, I will thank you very much for your time today. I hope you enjoyed the interview. I did, very much. And, um, that’s it, 78:00I guess. Thank you.

GORMAN: Thank you. You’ve been great.