Ron McGaha Interview

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RACHEL BERNSTEIN: So, I’m going to say that all over again, it’s Rachel Bernstein, it’s November 20th, 2013. We’re in Las Vegas, and I’m with Ron McGaha. Thank you so much for coming.

RON MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: And Maria tells me you’re a member of the Rat Pack. Before we get there, I want to start at the beginning, if we may. And do you mind telling me where and when you were born?

MCGAHA: I was born in Wenatchee, Washington, in 1943. And, uh, grew up there.

BERNSTEIN: What did your parents do?

MCGAHA: Uh, originally, my parents came out there, uh, from the Depression era, you know, they came out to, uh, work in the, uh, fruit industry out there, and either picking, or packing, or something to do with fruit. And, um, uh, when I was born there, uh, they were actually working in the orchards. They were, essentially migrant workers at the time. And, uh, they tell me my first crib was 1:00an apple box. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) A man of the field!

MCGAHA: Right.

BERNSTEIN: Ha! So, what do you remember, were they involved in organizing, farm workers?

MCGAHA: No, not really --

BERNSTEIN: Do you remember of that part of your early childhood?

MCGAHA: No, they had -- they had nothing to do with that, they were basically working to make a living. And my dad went to work with the railroad, uh, which was a union job.

BERNSTEIN: How did he get from the field to the railroad?

MCGAHA: Um --

BERNSTEIN: That’s -- uh, did he have a -- did he know someone?

MCGAHA: No, it was, um -- it was, uh -- in those days, well, it still dealt with the fruit industry, because in those days, the, uh, boxcars that they shipped the fruit in, they were not refrigerated, and they used ice to cool the fruit. And they had the giant big blocks of ice, and a big chain conveyor that ran 2:00along -- near the tops of the cars, and they would put that ice in the ends of the cars, and the cold air would circulate and, uh, keep the fruit. And he worked there a short time, and, uh, technology caught up with it. And, uh, they came to mechanic -- what they call a mechanical cars now, and mechanical refrigerated cars, and did away with that job. And so, he lost his job on the railroads.

BERNSTEIN: Oh.

MCGAHA: But that was his first -- I think his first short stint as a union job.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: So, you came from a union family, sort of?

MCGAHA: Uh, I -- I don’t think I was necessarily opposed to unions, but most of the work there in those days --

BERNSTEIN: (inaudible) I’m sorry, but this is -- [rattling noise]

MCGAHA: It’s not even -- just put a halt to it.

BERNSTEIN: Let’s see if we can --

3:00

MCGAHA: Quietest room in the place, and it’s got a --

BERNSTEIN: And it didn’t do this yesterday. OK.

MCGAHA: Uh, you were asking about the, uh, union family. It wasn’t -- my dad wasn’t necessarily opposed to unions, but he was not, um, usually in a -- a position to have a union job in those days, because there -- you know, the work that was around there was not necessarily union, other than that railroad job. And he went to work then for a, uh, a non-union irrigation company as, you know, a friend of his owned this company, and he went to work there, and he worked there until he got, uh, severely injured. He had a fall, fell about 18 feet and broke the pelvis, and arm, and leg.

BERNSTEIN: Oh.

4:00

MCGAHA: And they said he’d never walk again, but he did. So, uh, he worked there. And, uh, then he -- or that company, um, I don’t know, the owner died or something, and the company went out of business, and he went to work for the, uh, water district, uh, doing similar work, because he worked in on the, uh, water systems. And, uh, he worked there until he retired, and that was a union job. So, he got a very, very small union pension when he retired. Just about enough to pay the co-pay on the medical, so --

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) Oh, boy.

MCGAHA: Yeah, so --

BERNSTEIN: So, you were born there, and you went to school, and --

MCGAHA: I went to school in Wenatchee, and East Wenatchee. So the, uh, school -- high school I went to was called Eastmont, which was East Wenatchee. And I got out of there and I went in the Navy, and I -- when I went in the Navy, I, um, had always had this urge, really, to go to work for Boeing. And I had a 5:00brother-in-law that worked for Boeing, and he was telling me all of the wonderful things to do at Boeing, and I always loved airplanes. So, when I went in the Navy, I, um, became a pattern maker, which is you build patterns for metal castings, and that sort of thing. And so, when I got out of the Navy, I went to work for Boeing, hired in as a pattern maker, but never worked there as a pattern maker, because they hired me for that, but typical Boeing and everything. So, uh, you know, rush, rush, rush, hurry, hurry, they put you on another job, and you end up staying there until you leave, but --

BERNSTEIN: So, what did you -- you were hired as a pattern maker, but you ended up doing --

MCGAHA: I ended up as a template maker by, um, classification. And, uh, to shorten the story a bit, and go back and fill in the blanks later, but the, uh, template maker job was, you know, is basically the start of everything, as far 6:00as the touch labor goes on the airplane. And you have to lock the curves for, you know, the contours of the airplane. And you make the basic tooling that they make all of the rest of the tooling, and all of the master tooling that we made, masters all of the other tools that are built for that airplane.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, uh-huh.

MCGAHA: And so, it was -- you know, it was a pretty nice job.

BERNSTEIN: And you did that all based on the training that you had gotten in the Navy?

MCGAHA: Yeah, that, and high school and stuff, because you know, a lot of trigonometry, and geometry, and that sort of thing involved with it.

BERNSTEIN: I mean, it sounds like a job for an engineer.

MCGAHA: Yeah, it’s -- well, we did a lot of things that, now, engineering does do. I mean, but again, like my dad, that job was displaced by technology. Because once they came to a digitally mastered tooling, you know, all of the computer-aided design, and manufacturing, and stuff, all of that high-skilled 7:00work went away, and it was replaced by, you know, computers.

BERNSTEIN: Computers.

MCGAHA: And so, I always like to say I was the last template maker. I intended, at one time, to write a book about that and call it The Last Template Maker talking about, you know, the loss of jobs due to technology, you know, that were once, uh, high paid, high-skilled jobs.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And -- and they go away. Well, when I was the last template maker, I had already gone to work for the union at that time, as a full-time rep. So, uh, it didn’t directly affect me, but it did a lot of other people.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, yeah.

MCGAHA: But the seniority roster that they keep in there, and mine was the last name on the seniority roster.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, it really is, ah! (laughter)

MCGAHA: Because I really was the last template maker, yeah. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: So, you hire on at Boeing.

MCGAHA: Mm-hmm.

BERNSTEIN: And it’s a union job?

MCGAHA: Mm-hmm.

BERNSTEIN: And so, you join the union because you have no choice. Did you get involved?

8:00

MCGAHA: No, in -- in those days -- in those days, you did have a choice.

BERNSTEIN: Did you have a choice? Yeah?

MCGAHA: Yeah, we -- we had a choice, uh, it was a, uh, open shop, and had been since 1948. Uh, they had a strike in 1948, and as part of the settlement of the strike, they had an open shop. And so, I could have chosen not to join the union, but I wanted to join the union, and really, I think my, uh, desire to join the union was based on, um, you know, fairness because, you know, growing up as a kid, you work in some jobs that are really not very good, you know? And I saw my dad, you know, the kind of stuff that he did. And I thought to myself, when I go to work, I’m going to go to work at a union shop, and I felt that way since I was, probably, eight years old. And, uh, so I went in there, and right away, I said, yeah, how do I join? Where do I sign? You know, let’s get this thing going. And then when I got in there, I found out that there was 9:00people in there that didn’t join -- belong to the union. So, in those days, the -- the union members within a shop were unmerciful on somebody that wasn’t in the union. I mean, they -- I mean, treated him very badly. And, uh, not physically, but I mean, you know, just sort of shunned him like they didn’t even exist.

BERNSTEIN: They didn’t just keep trying to organize, talk him in?

MCGAHA: Oh yeah. Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah?

MCGAHA: They -- they, you know, they signed up, ready to sign up, scab, you know? (laughter) I mean, it was every day, it was -- but anyway, I did sign in as union, and I got active, probably, about -- I mean, actually doing something other than paying dues, probably about three years after I hired in. And I hired in in 1965. So, about 1968, or ’69, or somewhere along there. About the time we landed on the moon.

BERNSTEIN: OK.

10:00

MCGAHA: Uh, I was a union steward up in the Everett plant, which was the 747, brand new 747s in those days. And I got involved in the union as a union steward, and working in elections, and that sort of thing. And, uh, one of my earliest involvements in the elections. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Roman Mayfield, have you heard his name?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MCGAHA: Well, Roman and I were on a, uh -- uh, we were chairing a -- an election committee, and he and I sat all day, you know, two of us running an election. And that was when the, uh, Boeing plant was starting to, uh, shutdown, back in the big shutdown in the late ’60s, early ’70s. And we had, like, 3,000 people laid off in a day, just lined up, looked like Disneyland, lined up to checkout their toolboxes, and that sort of thing. Well, Roman and I had the duty up there to run the election. And we sat in there, in a plant that had 11:00originally had, probably, 15,000-20,000 people working in it. And we got 13 votes all day, and two of them were our own votes.

BERNSTEIN: Oh my God.

MCGAHA: Because everybody was gone. And I got a chance to really get to know Roman over the years, you know? And he’s just really been a -- he was always an inspiration, if not a mentor, he was definitely an inspiration, so -- But anyway, that’s how I kind of got started, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: So, you met him right when you started in --

MCGAHA: No, I met him at the local before, but you know, we really got to sit down and talk, and kind of get to know him a little bit. So, he was set there for 14 hours, you know, sitting like we are, sitting here just chatting.

BERNSTEIN: Fourteen hours on the election --

MCGAHA: Yeah, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Uh, that’s a long time.

MCGAHA: And nobody there but us. You know, so we -- we get a lot of talking done.

BERNSTEIN: (inaudible)

MCGAHA: He’s really, uh, quite an amazing guy.

BERNSTEIN: So, you got involved in your local, and joined in.

12:00

MCGAHA: So, I -- I was a union steward, and then, uh, second shift at Everett, they shut down second shift, so I was no longer a steward, and I got transferred, uh, down to Seattle. And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Transferred by the union, or Boeing?

MCGAHA: Company, by the company. I was still hourly at the time, working in the plant. And, into a job that had nothing to do with my skill sets. And I was there about three months, and then I got back into my old job, down in the Renton plant, where I spent most of the career. And, uh, really got political down there. I got elected, uh, three times to the district council, and recording secretary of my local. And, uh, ultimately appointed onto, uh, full-time staff as an organizer for it. And went to, then, from there --

BERNSTEIN: So, it sounds like you worked -- you did a lot of union activity while you were still an employee.

MCGAHA: We did, yeah, we did a lot of, uh, you know, the internal elections, and 13:00external politics, and fundraising, and various things. We started a, uh -- you know, the MNPL, I don’t know if you’re familiar, that Machinist Non-Partisan Political League.

BERNSTEIN: Yes, yes.

MCGAHA: Our political PAC, I guess.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: Well, they -- years ago, we had, uh -- during that big shutdown, when we -- all of the stewards got a little stipend for their average every month, and the international came up and asked us if we would deliver -- if we would donate half our stipend into the MNPL fund. And I said, well, why don’t we just donate it all, you know? I mean, it wasn’t -- there wasn’t a lot, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, right.

MCGAHA: It was, like, an hour’s pay, or something like that. So, anyway, our, uh, district out there, District 751, and so, I donated $7.51. And, you know, because I wanted to know where this money was coming from, it was coming from 14:00751, both the company and the international, I wanted to let them know, you know, where these donations were coming out.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: And are you familiar with Bill Holyater?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, indeed.

MCGAHA: He was the MNPL director at the time. And he came out there, and he was reading off all these donations. Well, mine came out to these odd cents. And he couldn’t understand why that was. And I explained to him, I said, “Well, I gave $7.51 a month.” Well, later, a couple -- three years later, our district hired a, uh -- a political director, which we had never had before. And she -- you know, hooked onto this idea, this 751, and formalized it into a 751 club.

BERNSTEIN: Ha!

MCGAHA: And that 751, uh, card has grown into, I don’t know how many thousands of members, but it collects about a half million dollars a year out of that, just from 751 memberships.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding?

15:00

MCGAHA: Yeah, about a half million dollars a year. Because people -- some pay quite a bit more than that, probably.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: But still, there’s --

BERNSTEIN: They can do multiples. (laughter)

MCGAHA: Yeah, but that’s the base. So, when we signed that up --

BERNSTEIN: That’s a great idea, a really great idea.

MCGAHA: -- there were about three of us, you know, two of my buddies, they came along, and they -- they signed up after I did, but, um, I don’t know how we got on that subject, but, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Well, I’m looking for you to tell me stories about your early years --

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: -- when you were still working as a steward, and getting involved in the politics.

MCGAHA: Yeah, that was --

BERNSTEIN: And of the local and the political fun.

MCGAHA: Yeah, that was one of my involvements.

BERNSTEIN: Yes?

MCGAHA: And, uh, the political thing, we had, um -- you know, we have -- you could probably run for state office in Washington State easier than you can run for office in our district. I mean, it’s that difficult.

BERNSTEIN: Really?

MCGAHA: Yeah, and we’ve got -- well, we got, uh, multiple locations, for one 16:00thing, and a lot of members, and several offices. And we’ve got seven local lodges. So, there’s an election going all the time. You know, they spaced out elections for those local lodges, then you add in the district offices, then you add in convention delegates, and everything else that comes along.

BERNSTEIN: Lot of elections.

MCGAHA: You’ve got elections going all the time up there. So, you become very political, if you’re involved in the union at all. You get very, very political, or you don’t last. You know, so there’s a lot of -- a lot of politics going on there all the time.

BERNSTEIN: So, you lasted?

MCGAHA: I lasted.

BERNSTEIN: And to what do you attribute?

MCGAHA: Well, I don’t know -- you know, being, uh, very fortunate to, uh, surround myself with people that, you know, had the same or similar values, you know, union values, and that sort of thing. And working together to move the 17:00whole organization forward. And I -- I think that’s probably the reason I lasted, because I didn’t -- or at least I tried not to waiver from those values, and I think, uh -- I think that’s what saved me in the long run. (laughter) I went to work, uh -- while at Boeing, I was a -- I went to work as a supervisor for about three years during my career at Boeing, and during that three years, I continued to pay dues to the union. I didn’t have to, but I did, because, you know, I knew one day, I’d be back, you know, in the bargaining unit.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: So, I was short of three years there. And, um, I ended up getting fired out of management.

BERNSTEIN: Really?

MCGAHA: Actually, fired out of the company.

BERNSTEIN: For your union sympathies?

MCGAHA: No, well, I don’t know if it’s union sympathies, but the reason I got fired, 1977, we went on strike. And in 1977, we had, um, very little 18:00organization, as far as strike committee and everything, I mean, we were on strike...

BERNSTEIN: You were in a supervisory position?

MCGAHA: No, that was before I went into supervisor.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, it was before, OK.

MCGAHA: I was giving you the background, and then I’ll tell you the story.

BERNSTEIN: OK, good. All right, all right.

MCGAHA: Sorry if I’m confusing you.

BERNSTEIN: No.

MCGAHA: But anyway, we -- uh, we went on strike. And, during that time...

BERNSTEIN: So, did you help organize the strike?

MCGAHA: I was on district council for that time, so I was one of the picket captains. And, you know, we dispatched everybody for, uh, picket duty, and that sort of thing. And, uh, our members, you know, of course, being out of work, you know, they need food, shelter, whatever. And we had this, uh, it was called Boeing Employees’ Good Neighbor Fund, which is like a United Way, internal, um, collection agency within the company.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

19:00

MCGAHA: And they refused to offer any help to any of our members -- uh, to agencies to help our members. So, in other words, if an agency like Salvation Army was willing to help our members, they wouldn’t give them any money to do that. Which, you know, left us on a sour note there.

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

MCGAHA: So, when we came back from the ’77 strike, uh, everybody just dropped out of this, we called it BEGNF, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Good neighbor, yeah.

MCGAHA: Boeing employees getting the BEGNF. So, we all dropped out of that. And we, uh -- um, you know, just refused to sign up for it, it was kind of in a protest deal, you know? And so, when I went into supervision, um, I didn’t belong to BEGNF, had no intention to. And they had a big drive, and they wanted to have, you know, 100% participation, like they always do. And they came to me, and I said, “Not interested. Not interested in joining, thank you very 20:00much.” And we had a superintendent over tooling, and the superintendent had a meeting that I wasn’t -- I wasn’t at this meeting, but they had, I guess they called it a booster meeting, or something. And they had this meeting, and they said, “Well, all of the supervisors are signed up except McGaha, what’s with him?” “Well, he said he’s not interested in signing.” And he said, “Well, if he doesn’t sign, that’ll negatively impact his career.” Oh, OK. So, I didn’t know anything about it, but one of the supervisors who had been over there, he said, “Hey, they’re going to do something if you don’t sign up.” I said, “I don’t care, I’m not signing up.” So, I didn’t. And, uh, they were going to, uh, basically put me back in my bargaining in a position somewhere, you know, they were going to bust me out of supervision, I think. Well, my crew heard about that, somehow or another. I mean, they -- they 21:00know everything that’s going on anyways.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: And they found out about that, and one of the guys on my crew was Mark Blondin, who’s now the vice president of the southern territories.

BERNSTEIN: OK.

MCGAHA: And Mark and one of his buddies, they got together, and they organized a drive to go in and collect withdrawal cards for BEGNF. And he came around and he said, “Yeah, we got all of these cards.” And I said, “Well, do me a favor and yourself a favor, give them all to me,” because I didn’t want him to get in trouble, you know? So, they gave the cards to me, and I just hid them out, you know? I didn’t really turn them in. Well, they accused me of organizing this withdrawal campaign.

BERNSTEIN: Oh!

MCGAHA: And -- and basically put me on indefinite suspension. I mean, literally, fired from the company. So, I -- I -- you know, I said, “Well, ask around.” I said, “You know, you’re not going to find anybody out there that will tell 22:00you that I did that.” And they did. They had a big investigation, they talked to everybody in the whole building out there. Nobody said -- “No, he didn’t ask us.” So, we had a meeting in, um, went down to Auburn, which means nothing to you, but it’s a southern plant. (laughter) We went down there for a meeting, and this superintendent that had made the threat against me was in the room. So, they came in there and they were all toughed up, you know, big on themselves, and telling me, you know, this -- and I said, “Well, wait a minute, wait a minute, I’m the injured party here.” I said, “I’m going to make you guys a deal.” I said, “In this room, there’s a person that said that if I didn’t join BEGNF, they were going to fire me. And if he’ll stand up and admit that in front of everybody in this room, I’ll quit, and you don’t have to fire me. I’ll just quit.” He didn’t.

BERNSTEIN: He didn’t?

23:00

MCGAHA: He did not. He would not even raise his eyes off the table. And I said, “Now that we’ve got that out of the place,” I said, “I want to be back in my old job, in my old plant, on the same shift, and you have two weeks to make that happen.” Two weeks to the day, I was back to my bargaining unit job.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding?

MCGAHA: And got paid for all of the time I was off, so... (laughter) And, but what people don’t understand, when you’re in that position, even though, you know, I was still a union member, you know, by virtue of the fact that I was paying dues, the union can’t help you, because you’re not under that contract.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: The, uh, National Labor Relations Board can’t help you, the Department of Labor can’t help you, none of the things, the worker protection you have, when you’re in there, you have zero protections.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, yes.

MCGAHA: Well, I was in, uh -- after that happened, and I got back to work, I mean, I had every supervisor in tooling called me and thanked me for taking a stand on that.

BERNSTEIN: Really?

MCGAHA: Because they didn’t have, really, the guts --

BERNSTEIN: Because they didn’t want to --

MCGAHA: They didn’t have the guts to do it.

24:00

BERNSTEIN: -- sign up for the Boeing Good Neighbor Fund either, but they didn’t, or --

MCGAHA: Well, some of the -- most of -- in those days, most of the supervisors came out of the bargaining unit. Now, they’re all --

BERNSTEIN: So, they had the same idea about it?

MCGAHA: Yeah, now they’re all GE clones that go in there, you know, they’re not really -- you know, they never worked with the tools. So, one day, I was sitting in my office, after I went to work for the union, and this old fellow came in, and he says, “I got something you might be interested in.” Slammed it down on the table, and it was the Local Lodge seal from the Boeing Supervisor’s Local, IAM Local. And I still have that Local Lodge seal there.

BERNSTEIN: Oh yeah?

MCGAHA: Because after Taft-Hartley, they -- they could no longer be in the union. And so, prior to that, even the supervisors were in the union.

BERNSTEIN: Ah.

MCGAHA: Yeah, so -- So, I still have that Local Lodge seal there as my trophy for this whole thing, but --

BERNSTEIN: Uh-huh.

MCGAHA: But, yeah, politically, that was very good for me, because, uh, you 25:00know, uh, I guess people say, well, the guy takes a stand there, you know, and it was very good.

BERNSTEIN: Take a stand.

MCGAHA: I got elected, uh, to the council twice after -- after that incident. I’d been elected prior to that, but two more times beyond that, I got elected to the council.

BERNSTEIN: Nobody held it against you that you’d accepted the promotion to supervisor?

MCGAHA: No, no. Actually, it was, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Because sometimes, that happens.

MCGAHA: Yeah. Um, because -- and like I said, in those days, it wasn’t -- it wasn’t a big deal, because all of the supervisors came out on the bargaining end of it. And, you know, you came out of --

BERNSTEIN: So, it wasn’t unusual.

MCGAHA: Yeah, so one day, you’re working with the people, and the next day, they’re working for you, you know? And the highest compliment I ever got out of the crew was, uh -- well, first of all, they all stood up to get my job back. And the other is that, uh, a guy come over here and says, “You know, you haven’t changed a bit. You’re the same guy we used to work with.” And I thought that was a high compliment. You know, kind of humbled, but (laughter) it 26:00was -- you know, I really appreciated that they felt that way. And to this day, I run into people that are retired, and say, “You know, the most fun we ever had was working there in that area, you know, because we worked hard and played hard.”

BERNSTEIN: So, what kind of -- uh, what was the -- what were some of the recreational activities.

MCGAHA: For --

BERNSTEIN: Union? Union -- you said you worked hard and you played hard, was some of the --

MCGAHA: Oh, well, I was talking about as a crew there, you know, they would, uh...

BERNSTEIN: For someone that is union related?

MCGAHA: Well, you know, some of the --

BERNSTEIN: (inaudible) activities, or -- or not so much?

MCGAHA: We would go to, uh -- you know, the crews in those days, back in those days, everybody would stop after work for a beer and a pizza, or something, you know, and so, everybody sort of had a little community, or friendship, or family, a little bit, outside of work. Nowadays, you know, people just -- you know, they go to work, they go home, that’s -- they don’t have that interchange. There was none of that socializing. But, in those days, I mean, everybody socialized together, and -- and, um, I mean, they went fishing 27:00together, they went hunting together, they did all kinds of things. I mean, not --

BERNSTEIN: And just as much because you worked on the same crew as because of the local --

MCGAHA: Well, it was because you were close to everybody.

BERNSTEIN: Because of the local?

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Without the union involvement?

MCGAHA: The union involvement --

BERNSTEIN: Because I always think that unions are so much more multi-layered than people understand.

MCGAHA: Yeah, the union involvement there --

BERNSTEIN: So, that’s why I’m asking.

MCGAHA: I think the union involvement, at that time, didn’t have so much to do with that socializing, other than we did have a lot of social things, uh, at the union, in those days. We’d -- we’d have a steward’s dance once a year, for all of the shop stewards and their families, and we had an awards benefit for the -- you know, the service pins awards.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And we had a number of things that were, um -- were social that revolved around something that was going on in the union. But the things in the workplace, yeah, we were a little bit different, but they all spilled off into 28:00-- into the union, and a lot of it spilled off into the politics of the union, because, you know, you had this -- all of this social network out there, when it came election time, they’d come back and vote for you.

BERNSTEIN: They’d vote for you, yeah.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: So, it was -- it had -- it did have something to do with the union, but it wasn’t necessarily intended to have. So --

BERNSTEIN: So, how long was the strike?

MCGAHA: Which one?

BERNSTEIN: In ’77, that’s the one that you --

MCGAHA: Seventy-seven was -- I’m trying to think that -- I think it was 32 -- 32 or 36 days, or something like that.

BERNSTEIN: It was a significant amount of time?

MCGAHA: Yeah, it was over a month, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: Or, 29 -- it might’ve been 29 days. Up until that time, there had only been one strike -- well, there’d been two strikes prior to that, one in 1948, which essentially broke the union. And in ’65, just prior to my hiring in, they had a strike that lasted something like seven days, and the, uh, directing 29:00business representative of the district died. And so, they called off the strike, and all went back to work. And I came in right after that strike, is when I hired in. As a matter of fact, I think Boeing actually hired us just prior to, or maybe even during the strike. They didn’t mention it, they didn’t mention there was a work stoppage or anything going on over there. You know, I was in Wenatchee, and they -- they were around because of my -- I was a pattern maker, they wanted me to come, you know, work tooling. And that was 727-200 series airplanes were being built in, that was a big build up. And they literally had people hired in one door, and laid off out of another door. It was just a revolving door thing they had going on there, because they had recruiters that they put out on the road to hire people, and they’d over hire. And then 30:00they’d come back and then, you know, have to balance it out. But I hit the right place at the right time, and stuck right through it. So, I was very, very fortunate in that respect. I mean, there’s nowhere in the world could you go, well, certainly not in the United States these days, and work 40 years in the same place.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, it’s remarkable.

MCGAHA: It just doesn’t happen anymore.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: And, uh --

BERNSTEIN: So, it took -- so, how long before you became a full-time union?

MCGAHA: I worked in the shop about 20 years.

BERNSTEIN: Twenty years.

MCGAHA: And then I went to work, um --

BERNSTEIN: And so, was there another strike after that that you -- while you were still on the job?

MCGAHA: Um, not while I was in the shop. There was, uh -- well, technically, I was in the shop in 1989, I -- I’d been to -- I’d worked for the international, I was in Washington, DC when we formed the organizing department.

BERNSTEIN: Uh-huh.

31:00

MCGAHA: I was one of the coordinators for the organizing department, and then I went back to Boeing because nothing, um -- nothing that I was promised was ever delivered, so I said, well, guys, I’m sorry, I’m not going to, um, you know, disrupt my family life for this. If, you know, it’s not going to go where you said it’s going to go. That’s a whole other story, but --

BERNSTEIN: We’ll get to that, um --

MCGAHA: But anyway, I went to -- uh, I came back to work at The Boeing Company in 1989, technically as an hourly person, but I was representing the union there in the -- you know, these continuous improvement management, uh, technologies.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm, right.

MCGAHA: I spent a full year over there, we studied it all over the place. You know, the -- I’m trying to think of all of the gurus out there, you know, Dr. Deming, and -- and [Gerann?], and I forget who the others were. But anyway, all 32:00of these quality gurus that are really -- they aren’t quality, what they are are improving profitability is what it amounts to.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

MCGAHA: But then, when they started that whole movement back around ’88, or thereabouts, went over there and, uh, travelled all over the country, you know, visiting companies that had implemented these technologies, so-called technologies, management systems, and studied at different -- or took classes at various universities around the country, and got paid to do it, and it was -- it was a great job.

BERNSTEIN: And that was a company-sponsored job?

MCGAHA: It was ah -- The company was doing the study, but I was the union representative over there.

BERNSTEIN: You were union -- yeah.

MCGAHA: But, technic -- technically, I was an hourly employee. So, I got paid by 33:00old rate, and you know, got called --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- travelled around the country doing that. And out of that, out of my year over there, we negotiated, um, our joint programs at Boeing, which, uh, were health and safety, and, uh, education were the two things that came out of that. And that joint program is still there, which has equal, you know, management company repre -- representation on the committee.

BERNSTEIN: Huh, so you helped that up (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)

MCGAHA: I didn’t help set it up, but I, uh, instigated them putting it into the contract. In other words, I took the -- I took the, uh, head negotiator from Boeing, and -- and our head negotiator, which was our district president at the time, and I -- I took them to an example of that, and I had them look at that, and I gave them, you know, all of the documentation and stuff, about how this could be beneficial to both parties, and then -- and then I was out of the 34:00picture, they went in and negotiated it. And actually, I proposed a lot more than we got, but you know, we ended up with those two things. And, um...

BERNSTEIN: So, from what -- from when you were working in the shop in the ’70s and early ’80s, before that, did you -- did you see potential for that kind of management leader --

MCGAHA: When I worked in the shop --

BERNSTEIN: -- cooperation initiatives, or --

MCGAHA: No, when I worked in the shop, it wasn’t a problem, and I’ll tell you what has happened to, uh, well, basically, American industry. But when I worked in the shop, and I first hired in at Boeing, like I said, most of the managers were ex-hourly people. And Boeing was the old cliché, it was a family. In that, everybody was there to do one thing, and that was build airplanes, and we did it. And you did a lot of these things that these total quality management 35:00systems say that are the right things to do, but it was very informal, it wasn’t -- you know, it wasn’t documented or anything, but you have information I need, I come to you and ask you for the information, you give me the information, I’d get my job done, and nobody would know any of the difference. Well, under the total quality management systems, we have to document all of that stuff. That when I run into this problem, I have to go see you, and then I have to do this, I have to do that. So, you totally document the whole process. Well, what has happened with all of that documentation now, they’ve used that to offload the work. In other words, they take -- now that you have your process documented, you can take that work and send it anywhere around the world, and they open the book, and they follow the process, and they get the work done that you spent a career getting the knowledge to do. And so, it was never a problem when I worked in the shop. Then in, about, like I said, 36:001988, well, probably starting prior to that, but there was this big wave across the country, they were going to, ah -- everybody was switching to these Total Quality Management Systems, otherwise known as TQMS.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And I visited, uh, McDonnell Douglas in California, and they were running their TQMS systems, and they took the -- they fired every manager at McDonnell Douglas, and brought them into a hangar, and had them reapply for their jobs. There were people who had heart attacks, people committed suicide, there were all kinds of things going on. And they were talking about the glories of this TQMS.

BERNSTEIN: Ay!

MCGAHA: So, the people that I talked to at McDonnell Douglas, they said TQMS means “Time to quit and move to Seattle,” because Boeing had not started that yet, but they were in the process of starting it.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

37:00

MCGAHA: So, from the time I went to work full-time at the union until that started, was probably five years, four years, whatever it was. And, uh, it just changed the workplace completely. It just absolutely -- basically destroyed the working relationship of departments, and everything else, in my view. And so, no, it never...

BERNSTEIN: And did -- did nobody in management understand that?

MCGAHA: They don’t care, they do not care. They’re all under that damn, uh, General Electric, you know --

BERNSTEIN: This is all --

MCGAHA: -- uh, what’s his name -- anyway, they were all clones out of that General Electric model.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: Which is not about making product, it’s about making profit. So, if the company can be profitable, they don’t care about doing anything.

BERNSTEIN: What the quality is.

MCGAHA: They don’t care. Quality is something that has to be there in order for them to, you know, get rid of the product and stuff. But if they can do it 38:00without building a product, and just make money, they would, and that’s the reason we have no industry in this country, is because most of what’s going on now is generating profit, and not making a product. And they leave the making of the product to whoever they can get the lowest bidder, and every time you go back, it all looks different, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: Most of the stuff we buy now is junk.

BERNSTEIN: It is.

MCGAHA: You know, it’s just junk.

BERNSTEIN: Built to be obsolete, and --

MCGAHA: Yeah. Anyway.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, but --

MCGAHA: Again, we’re getting off -- off -- kind of off the track, but I was involved in studying that, and the -- the assignment was was to, you know, study it and report back. And the only thing that we got out of that, that was worthy of implementing, in my view, was the fact that we have, um, funds available for members to use in any kind of education they want to use it for. Every year they get, I don’t know, $3,000 or something.

39:00

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And, uh, then we have a health and safety committee there that’s -- you know, has improved safety quite a bit. As far as the company goes, I don’t know what their total benefit out of -- is out of it, other than some of those people do take classes, or take -- get degrees or whatever, that, you know, will work for the company. But in most cases, the person gets a degree and they move on and get out of there, it’s not the same. We used to have family -- I mean, generations of families, and they still do, but they had generations, you know, two or three generations working there at the same time. I have no family members working there, but, uh -- (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: No.

MCGAHA: But, uh, yeah, I know a number of people, you know, you hear a name, “Do you know so and so?” “Oh yeah, that’s my dad, or my granddad,” or whatever.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right, a lot of connections.

MCGAHA: And, uh, but when they merged with McDonnell Douglas, it just absolutely 40:00destroyed that company. I would not --

BERNSTEIN: Were you still there?

MCGAHA: Um, the only --

BERNSTEIN: You were working for the union?

MCGAHA: I was working for the union at the time, yeah. I was working for the union, then. So, anyway, getting out of the shop and into the union, like I said, I started as an organizer, and then I came back for a brief period of time, and then I was, uh, um, appointed by the district president as administrative assistant to the president. And that was 1990. And I was administrative assistant until I retired in 2005 with three different presidents. And three -- (laughter) Well, I, uh --

BERNSTEIN: You’ve seen it all.

MCGAHA: Well, I’ve seen them come and seen them go. But, I was, uh, quite honored that each new president that came in, uh, asked me to be the administrative assistant. (overlapping dialogue)

BERNSTEIN: Hired you on. Let’s go back to when you were first hired as an organizer for the union, and you said it didn’t -- there wasn’t enough 41:00support, and that’s why you went back.

MCGAHA: No, well, that was -- that was later. Uh, as an organizer, when I was working in the district, those folks you were talking about there, the non-union folks in the plant -- we were doing a lot of in-plant organizing. We did some other, you know, new units as well, but main assignment was to get those non-union, uh, people signed up. And we started out, we had about, well, high 70s membership, high 70 percentage membership.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: And when we finished organizing about, oh, what was it, probably, four years after that. Three -- no, it wasn’t that long, it was probably three years after that, we got up to 96% membership.

BERNSTEIN: Wow.

MCGAHA: And then they were able to negotiate a modified closed shop in the contract, did away with the need for in-plant organizing after that.

BERNSTEIN: Right. That’s impressive.

42:00

MCGAHA: Just, uh, about the time that was going on, international, uh, called me and wanted me to, uh, do -- be one of the coordinators out of Washington, DC. I went to work with the international and the, um, vice president I had, or, that hired me, uh, he ended up, uh, retiring or something about that time. And so, the coordinator job that I was supposed to have never really developed. And so, I said, well -- and I had to take a pay cut to take the job.

BERNSTEIN: Hmm.

MCGAHA: I mean, it wasn’t like I was, you know, going --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- getting big bucks or anything. I actually had, uh, less money than I was making at the district. So, I said, well, this is not for me, because I would have to sell my house in Washington and buy a house back here, and at that time, you could buy a very nice house in the Seattle area for about $90,000 -- $80,000-90,000, and in DC, it was, like, quarter of a million.

43:00

BERNSTEIN: Really? Quite a bit more, yeah.

MCGAHA: You know? And not near as much house either.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: I wonder if that’s -- let me take that, you want to...

BERNSTEIN: Sure, we’re going to take a little pause –

MCGAHA: Take it --

BERNSTEIN: Hang on, oh, that makes sense. OK. Yeah, we’re back. Uh, so, speaking of Maria, how did the Rat Pack --

MCGAHA: Well, I had, uh -- I had met Maria some years back, and, um, we did, um -- get off on all these tangents here, but (laughter) uh, we had a, uh, food bank in Seattle that, uh, is the labor agency food bank. And they were absolutely broke, they could not make payroll or anything else. And Don Brannon and I of-- the guy I worked with there -- we were going to do this motorcycle ride around the US. And, um -- on Harleys. And Harley Owners Group, HOGS, has a, 44:00um, ride, they call it ABCs of touring. And so, you go to any town, starting with A, or B, or C, or D, you get a point for that. And you get a point, same the way with counties, you get a point for each state, you get a point for each country, you’ve got several ways to make these points. So, Don was going to ride around the country, and he showed me the route, and I said, “Well, you know, we jog over here and there, we could see all 48 lower states in about the same amount of time.” And he said, “Yeah, let’s do that.” So, we’re getting ready to do this, and this thing with the food bank came up, and then so...

BERNSTEIN: And this is after you’re retired?

MCGAHA: No, no.

BERNSTEIN: No, when is this?

MCGAHA: This is way back, it’s ’93.

BERNSTEIN: OK.

MCGAHA: I’m skipping all over.

BERNSTEIN: That’s OK, as long as we stick to one story at a time, I need to locate it, ’93, OK, go ahead.

45:00

MCGAHA: So, in 1993, and we -- you know, they -- I was on the, uh, King County Labor Council, I was the vice president, or board member, or something at the time there. And the labor agency, you know, they come up and made the report, and basically, they were broke. And so, I said, “Well, we’re going to make this ride.” I said, “If you figure you can raise some money for that, and I get pledges for miles,” I said, “We’ll do that.” And they said, “Well, what are you going to call it?” And I said, “Well, we’re Harley Owners Groups,” I said, “Why don’t we call it HOGS For Hunger.” Well, 13 years later, we were still doing HOGS For Hunger. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: It’s a great name. (laughter)

MCGAHA: So, we were still doing that, and, uh, the first year, we raised about $3,500, which allowed them to make their payroll. And cumulative, over that time, we’ve raised about a quarter of a million dollars doing that. Just two guys riding, I mean, it was not...

BERNSTEIN: It wasn’t just two guys the first time, it’s two guys every -- every time?

MCGAHA: No, same two guys, same two guys. We just go ride somewhere, and people, you know...

46:00

BERNSTEIN: And people pledge to...

MCGAHA: People pay money, you know, to get you to do it. So, one year, I can’t recall what year it was. Uh...

BERNSTEIN: That’s quite the fundraising strategy. It’s very...

MCGAHA: No, it’s just two guys, they pay you to leave town.

BERNSTEIN: Right. (laughter)

MCGAHA: So, we went on a, uh -- we did a combination of -- of the, uh -- of the, uh, food bank and guide dogs. And so, we were kind of -- had a split in the money there. And we went around the country. And, uh, I think it was George Kourpias -- uh, I don’t remember if it was George, or if it was Tom Buffenbarger. Anyway, one of them, I don’t remember who was president at the time, but anyway, uh, they assigned Maria to be our -- kind of our escort, or whatever, in Washington, DC. And she’d just -- I think she’d just taken over the departments at that time. So, we come riding into town, and we meet Maria, 47:00and she’s, you know, bubbly and everything, and showing us -- and all excited about the motorcycles and everything. And she set up this ride for us in town, had the -- whatever the county sheriff was down there in Maryland, escort us to the Washington, DC border, and then the Capital Police took her -- the, uh, Washington, DC police, whatever they called it, they took us there. And they took us right up the steps of the Capitol, and then the Capitol Police took us up there, and we parked right on the steps of the Capitol with our bikes.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) With your bikes! Goodness!

MCGAHA: Yeah, with our bikes. And a couple of our Washington State Congress people came out and handed us checks, you know, and all of that stuff. So, we -- I don’t know, we raised $38,000 or something for Guide Dogs that year.

BERNSTEIN: That’s amazing!

MCGAHA: Just -- just, you know, goofing off, basically.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: Having a good time. But, anyway, that was our first time we met Maria, and she took us -- and we parked bikes, and she took us around the car, you 48:00know, giving us a tour of the town. And we went into the Hawk and Dove there in Washington, DC, and we were sitting out having breakfast, and Maria went in to make a phone call or something, and I hear these -- I think they’re wearing clogs or something, because I hear this clunk, clunk, clunk, and I look out of the corner of my eye, and I see some woman, and I didn’t realize it was her. I see some woman coming along there, and all of a sudden, she tripped, there’s a little mismatch in the floor or something there, and she tripped, and went head first into one of those big chrome barstools.

BERNSTEIN: Ai-ai-ai.

MCGAHA: Knocked her unconscious.

BERNSTEIN: Oh my God!

MCGAHA: Absolutely unconscious. Blood running out of her eye and everything. (laughter) And Don says, “Well, that’s Maria.” So, we go over there, we pick her up, you know, and (laughter) can’t get her to go to the doctor or anything, but that was my first meeting with Maria. And that was --

BERNSTEIN: Dramatic.

MCGAHA: -- with the HOGS For Hunger, yeah. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: And that cemented your bond from the get-go.

MCGAHA: Yeah, we were -- we’ve been good friends ever since. You know, you 49:00pull somebody out of a barroom brawl, I guess. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: Anyhow, the, um --

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

MCGAHA: I don’t know how we got on that part of the story either, but, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, well, I asked you about the Rat Pack.

MCGAHA: The Rat Pack, uh, Maria, you know, like I said, we’ve always been kind of close from that point on, I -- I retired in 2005, and just before I retired, she says, “You’ve got to come out here and work the Rat Pack.” And I’d been doing things with her with the retiree department prior to that, but not, you know, full-time, because I didn’t -- couldn’t devote full-time. But anything she needed, or anything we could help each other with, we did. And she calls me up and says, “Oh, you’ve got to come out here.” So, I went out to Placid Harbor for a meeting, uh, as -- officially now as part of the Rat Pack. And, uh, while I was at that meeting, uh, got a call, and my wife got in the hospital.

50:00

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And, uh, anyway, the next day she died, so --

BERNSTEIN: Oh my God.

MCGAHA: Sorry.

BERNSTEIN: That’s so sudden.

MCGAHA: Anyway, um -- anyway, she -- Maria drafted me before I retired, uh, officially retired, I guess, and -- and, uh, had her hooks in me until she retired. (laughter) And Charlie took that over, and he kind of somewhat continued the Rat Pack, but modified things to, you know, kind of modernize them, and improve --

BERNSTEIN: So, what was -- tell me -- tell me what the Rat Pack is, was --

MCGAHA: The Rat Pack was a group of, uh --

BERNSTEIN: -- tell me -- tell me about it --

MCGAHA: Well, the group -- well, pretty much, it was, you know, senior people that had been involved in, uh, politics and various things in their working careers. I mean, they were all, uh, former full-time staff type, for the most 51:00part, they were. And she used us to, uh, to help develop these programs within, uh, uh -- you know, within her department. And, uh, for political action and various things. So, the Rat Pack was just her close confidants that she could rely on for, you know, moral support, or advice, or help, or whatever.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. And what do you think a couple of the most effective programs that came out of that effort?

MCGAHA: Well, before Maria was in there, I mean, essentially, there was no retiree department, and it was -- you know, there was people there, but she basically, uh, was instrumental in making this a department, you know, making it a retiree department, and having -- and she, um, lead the way in making the, uh, uh, full-time officers, and so on, understand that the retirees are resourced, 52:00not just a burden, or somebody you have to pat on the head and what not.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: Because you can actually, uh, get some benefit out of there, you know, I mean, throw away 40 years of knowledge, or you can use it.

BERNSTEIN: Or you can be smart.

MCGAHA: Yeah. Or you could use it.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: So, Maria was very instrumental in getting that started. And she worked, uh, with Charlie when he was an educator down in, uh, Placid Harbor. And she had -- so, he was a natural to take over when she left, because, you know, he helped develop some of those programs with her.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: And, uh, but she was the driving force in that. I mean, she -- if it hadn’t been for Maria, there wouldn’t have been any of that. And the Rat Pack was, like I said, the people she surrounded herself with to, uh, you know --

BERNSTEIN: To make it happen.

MCGAHA: -- give advice on that. You know, because --

BERNSTEIN: OK, it just says you were the funniest group of people that she ever met. So --

MCGAHA: Oh, God.

53:00

BERNSTEIN: So, do you have any memories, other than smashing herself into a barstool --

MCGAHA: Oh, well --

BERNSTEIN: -- to make an impression when she met you.

MCGAHA: Well, the thing about it is that, you know, everybody, uh, you know, once you’re retired, you know, you may not have to be nearly as politically correct as you once were. And so, all of these guys just tell it like -- like it is, you know? (laughter) And every one of them were from, you know, a different, uh, parts of the industry, you know, some were from airlines, some were from our manufacturing, and, um, I don’t know, we were just from all over the place. And -- and, uh, we -- we had these little meetings, we had Frank Ortis down here, he’s the mayor of Pembrooke Pines in Pem -- it’s Pembrooke Pines in Florida. And he’s actually the mayor down there now, but he’s --

BERNSTEIN: Huh.

MCGAHA: -- a retired machinist, I think, out of Eastern Airlines. And Frank has to tell a joke every time he sits down, or six or eight jokes every time he sits 54:00down. And so, everybody was always laughing, and cutting up, and everything. But, you know, getting serious, and getting the work done, but everybody’s laughing and cutting up all the time, because hell, we’re retired, we don’t need to be -- (laughter) you don’t have to take all of this stuff serious, you know? But, uh, yeah, I can’t say enough good about Maria as far as her, you know, just staying with it, and just like a bulldog, you know, making this stuff happen, and creating this.

BERNSTEIN: Just what it takes to make anything happen, right?

MCGAHA: Yeah. And she -- I mean, she fought for money, and she -- and what I did with Maria, uh, she -- she knighted me the administrative assistant, because that was my job before I retired. But I would, uh, work with her, you know, I worked with her on several of these conferences, in putting them together, and that sort of thing.

BERNSTEIN: The retiree’s conferences?

55:00

MCGAHA: Retiree conferences. And before I retired, I had attended a couple of her retiree conferences just as a guest, you know, just dropped in and said hello, and all of that. And so, when I retired, she put me to work helping her with that. But she, like I said, she’d fight tooth and nail to get the money to do this stuff, and, uh, convince people. And I think to a man, and now a woman, on the executive council, I would think that nearly all of them, probably, understand now that -- the importance of that. You know, is that -- is that you’ve got a hell of a resource out here. They got more retired machinists than we have full-time machinists.

BERNSTEIN: Right. Yeah, it’s a resource of increasing importance --

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: -- as the numbers shrink in manufacturing, yeah.

MCGAHA: Yeah. So, you need to -- you know, you need to use it where you can. And, uh, Tom Lux who was interviewed in the other room there, he’s -- God, and I can’t even think of how many organizing drives he’s been on since he 56:00retired, and, um, then he went to Ohio, you know, and so on.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: And I’ve been active, you know, locally with our, uh -- well, I was the vice president of the state labor council. So, when I retired, I kind of had to almost the permanent chair of their COPE Committee, which is the Committee On Political Education, for their fundraising. And so, I fundraise for them every year, for a couple of days a year, whatever. But I stay in touch that way.

BERNSTEIN: Got it.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Always something to do, isn’t there?

MCGAHA: Yeah. They, uh, last year, they decided they were going to have the Young Emerging Labor Leaders do this, and they -- they had 40 of them, and they raised $400. So, this year, they said, “You know, Ron, we really need you to come back.”

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

57:00

MCGAHA: And I said, “Well, OK, I’ll come down there.” So -- so, I raised, uh -- I think I raised $13,000. (laughter) No, it’s just how you ask for it, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. It’s an art. How early on did you get married?

MCGAHA: I got married in 1966, right after I went to work at Boeing. Married 39 years.

BERNSTEIN: And was your wife a -- a union -- does she come from a union family?

MCGAHA: Her dad was a -- a union guy, he came out of shipyards, and was an auto mechanic. And, uh, just before he died, he died early, because, like I said, he’d been in shipyards, and an auto mechanic, around the asbestos.

BERNSTEIN: Mm.

MCGAHA: And he died from, uh, what do they call it, um --

BERNSTEIN: Mesothelioma?

MCGAHA: Yeah, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: Anyway, he died from that. And a short -- it wasn’t too long after we 58:00got married. But, uh, when he was in the hospital, just, almost dead, the vote count came in, uh, he helped organize the auto mechanics there in his shop.

BERNSTEIN: Hmm.

MCGAHA: And, uh -- well, I take it back, he had -- they had already had the vote, but he went in there, and they voted to accept the contracts, while he was almost dead in the hospital, so the poor guy never got the benefit of it. But he helped organize it. So... And she’s a -- she was a, uh, beautician, so she -- you know, by the time she went into the trade, all of the barbers, and hairdressers, and stuff, unions had pretty much faded out.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: You know, it used to be big, you know, that was a big deal, you know? Nearly all of the barbers were union at one time, hairdressers too.

BERNSTEIN: Isn’t that amazing? Something people don’t know these days.

MCGAHA: Yeah, you know, they --

BERNSTEIN: So, she -- it was easy for her to support you in your union?

MCGAHA: Oh yeah. Yeah, if it hadn’t been for her, I’d have never made it, 59:00because, you know, it takes a special kind of person to sit at home, day -- you know, the day when you’re in there, you know, fighting battles with the company, you know, because basically, it’s a -- you know, you come home, change clothes, and go back and do it again, you know? And it’s nice to have all of the clothes nice and clean when you came home, you know? (laughter) No, she was very supportive, and, uh, very understanding of it. And just absolutely...

BERNSTEIN: Did she get involved in -- did you do...

MCGAHA: Not a lot.

BERNSTEIN: I always wonder if families are involved in the union, or just --

MCGAHA: Some are and some aren’t. But she was involved where she thought it was appropriate. She didn’t get in -- you know, we have -- this actually, is a problem sometimes. You know, you get family members that kind of stick their nose into union politics or something.

BERNSTEIN: And get a little too involved.

MCGAHA: Excuse me, you’re not a shareholder here, other than a secondary shareholder, because people that are directly involved with that, you know, that’s their business, and if you stick your nose in it, and you’re not part 60:00of it, you know, you can get punched in the nose pretty easily. So, she went to a number of things when I first got involved. You know, we went to -- you know, you go out of town on a trip or something, I include her on that. And right away, she decided that, you know, when you’re on one of these -- like going to this conference here. You’re wandering around, and you’re socializing, and you’re doing other things that people don’t even realize you’re actually doing something there because you’re talking to people all the time.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

MCGAHA: And she said, “Well, you know -- ” she didn’t really think that she needed to be there to sit and watch me walk around the room, you know? (laughter) But she accepted that, and understood that was going to be, uh, you know, if you’re going to be in this business, that’s the way it was going to be. So, that was my biggest regret, you know, we didn’t get to share any of that retirement, this (inaudible), so that was kind of a -- kind of a bad deal. 61:00But, um, that is life, I guess.

BERNSTEIN: Did she -- it sounds like there were a couple of times where you made a hard decision about taking a stand. Did she -- did you talk about it with her?

MCGAHA: Well, yeah. And, um, either before or after the fact, depending on --

BERNSTEIN: Depending on the situation.

MCGAHA: She -- she was always very supportive of it, you know? She hated injustice as much as I did, and, uh, she -- you know, if -- if the story sounded good, she was supportive of it, you know? She didn’t, uh, uh -- I never once heard her say, “Dummy, why did you do that?” you know? She just basically processed the information and, you know, stood by you. So, that was really, uh, a good thing. We never had any children, so, you know, we were basically, uh, supporting each other. In fact the motorcycles, we used to ride, um, our Boeing 62:00employees motorcycle club, we started riding on there, and we spent, oh, probably in the first year on the bike, we went out every weekend and went camping. One day, she came in and she says, “Here’s the deal, we’re going to stay in motels, we are not camping.” (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

MCGAHA: She drew a line on that one, and that’s, uh...

BERNSTEIN: Wait, she went camping with you, or she was...

MCGAHA: Oh yeah, we went camping together on a bike.

BERNSTEIN: And then she had enough of it?

MCGAHA: Yeah, she said -- because, you know, like I said, she was a hairdresser, she wanted her hair fixed just right, didn’t want a helmet crushing it.

BERNSTEIN: Hard to do if you’re camping. That’s so true.

MCGAHA: And she says, “That’s it, if we’re not going to a motel, we’re not going.” I said OK. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Fair enough.

MCGAHA: And I’ve been biking ever since, and moteling ever since.

BERNSTEIN: Oh yeah? You didn’t --

63:00

MCGAHA: Don’t regret it a bit, I don’t like camping either anymore.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

MCGAHA: So, yeah, I think that the, uh -- in this business, you know, in the union business, if you’re, either a real active activist, or a full-time officer, and doing your job, if you don’t have, uh, family support, you can’t -- you just can’t do it. You’ll either end up in a divorce, or you know, fighting all the time, or something --

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: -- if you don’t have somebody that fully understands what you’re doing. And I’ve always -- when we’d get a new rep, or a potential, or whatever, I’d sit him down with a father son and advise him. And I’d say, “Now, look, before you decide to take this job, you need to sit down and talk to your wife, or significant other, husband, whatever it was, and you need to talk to them, explain to them that, you know, as bad as you say it’s going to 64:00be, it’s going to be worse than that, because you’re not -- you know, you’re going to be, um, home every night.” And I did the same thing with union stewards. I said, “You know, if you’ve -- you know, if you’re in a bowling league, you should just enjoy bowling. You know, if you’ve got kids playing baseball, maybe you ought to just stay home with them and go to their games and that stuff. Because,” I said, “You’re really going to truly, uh, be in this job, you’re in that for a whole lot of people other than your family.” And I said, “Your family, certainly, is first, but there’s a lot of other people depend on you there, and you need to really do some soul searching to see if this is right for you. Because -- ” And some of them backed out, but some of them, “Oh yeah, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go.” And then they get in there and they find out, well, yeah, that was no exaggeration, you know? (laughter) But, like I said, I was one of the lucky ones in that I had a wife that really supported -- you know, the whole -- I can’t 65:00say she always liked it. I would think she probably -- many times, probably didn’t, but, uh, she was very supportive of it. And so, uh, not everybody gets that luxury, so --

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, that’s a very special thing.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely. So, you worked for three international presidents?

MCGAHA: Uh, district presidents.

BERNSTEIN: District presidents.

MCGAHA: District presidents. I, uh, at 751 district, uh, first was Tom Baker, and Tom got into some trouble, uh, skimming airfares. And actually, he got prosecuted, and went to jail for a year. And, uh, but he did a lot of good for our membership as far as negotiations. I mean, we’ve got -- I mean, you go down the list of things we have today that he helped negotiate. And, uh, I think every member that’s still around that remembers him has probably forgiven him for all of his transgressions, you know? But he was a -- he was a real, um, old 66:00school kind of a negotiator, you know, with the company. I mean, build friendships, relationships, sat down and talked about what each side needs, put something together, and both sides come out pretty good. And then the second one was Bill Johnson...

BERNSTEIN: Wait, before we move on.

MCGAHA: Go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: When he got caught up out in his transgressions, was -- were you involved in setting up mechanisms to make sure it didn’t happen again?

MCGAHA: Well --

BERNSTEIN: Or was that --

MCGAHA: Peripherally, yeah, I was.

BERNSTEIN: Not really?

MCGAHA: But, uh, at the time, uh, in that capacity, I was not really on the district council, but I was the, uh -- basically, the administrator to the president is now called chief of staff. But basically, you fill in for the president when they’re not there. You know, you do whatever it is, you make the reports, and personnel issues, and everything like that.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

67:00

MCGAHA: So, as far as the, uh -- directly being involved with that, a lot of what came out of that were, basically, Department of Labor rules, and we incorporated those in the bylaws. But we had already changed our bylaws to disallow what he was doing, and he went ahead and did it anyway. That’s what got him in trouble with the DOL, because he wasn’t following our bylaws. But long story short, uh, he was taking first class airfare, and flying coach, and pocketing the difference. That’s what the accusation and the conviction was over.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: So, it was a minimal amount of money in the greater scale of things, I think it was only about $30,000, but you know, it’s still -- it was wrong, and you shouldn’t have done it, and he got caught, and punished for it, and that’s over and done. But he was a -- he was just a natural with people as far 68:00as getting people to work together, and move as a -- as a team, he was just a natural at that, it was just a gift. And it’s just heartbreaking that, you know, it got crossed --

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah.

MCGAHA: Yeah. And then our second, uh -- the second president I had there was Mark -- or, excuse me, uh, Bill Johnson. And Bill passed away this year. Uh, Bill was right out of the shop, he had never held a full-time position at all. And he -- when, uh, Tom Baker left, Bill Johnson was thrust into this job that, you know, somebody said, oh, let’s run Bill, and they ran Bill and got him elected. Well, like I said, he never had any full-time experience at all.

BERNSTEIN: Now, was -- was there any thought of you running for that position?

MCGAHA: Uh, I wasn’t on the council, so I wasn’t eligible to.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, got it, OK.

69:00

MCGAHA: So, he was on the district council --

BERNSTEIN: I see.

MCGAHA: -- and they -- they picked him, he was kind of a non-controversial candidate, which we needed at the time, because there was a heck of a lot of controversy around the outgoing president. And so, you know, I kind of, uh -- you know, helped him wherever I could on there, you know, and he did the best he could. But, like I said, he was ill-equipped when he came in there. By his second term, he was starting to get the hang of things, but that first term was pretty rocky for him, because he -- he had never -- never had, uh, you know, dealt with a bunch of egotistical business reps, (laughter) he had a heck of a first term on that.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And then, the last, uh -- the last one was Mark -- or, yeah, Mark Blondin, who’s now the southern territories vice president. But Mark is the one that, uh, got me fired, basically, (laughter) from Boeing, you know, with 70:00the BEGNF thing.

BERNSTEIN: Ah.

MCGAHA: And, we laugh about that all the time, but -- but, when he hired in, I was his supervisor, and when I retired, he was mine. So, that was -- what goes around comes around.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, yeah.

MCGAHA: But, yeah, he’s -- uh, Mark was -- Mark was probably the best combination of all of them, as far as -- Bill Johnson, even though he was non-full -- never been full-time, he was very good with a contract. He -- he really understood the contract, what it meant, and what it should say and everything. And Baker was the real dealmaker, and he pulled people together, and Mark could do all of that. He was contract, he pulled people together --

BERNSTEIN: And (inaudible).

MCGAHA: -- people loved the guy, and you know, he was easy to work with. And so, 71:00he was -- he was the perfect balance all the way through that. And -- and as far as I know, still is. I don’t -- I don’t know what the new -- what the people who work for him now think, but I -- I have nothing but praise for him as well, because he was just a -- he was a good student. Yeah, well --

BERNSTEIN: So, most of what you did in all of those years, with those people, are there particular examples that come to mind in terms of a crisis you solved, or a --

MCGAHA: Well, I don’t know if it’s crisis I solved, but crisis that I was involved with. (laughter) The -- uh, certainly in 1992 when Baker went down was -- that was --

BERNSTEIN: A real stress?

MCGAHA: That was the --

BERNSTEIN: (inaudible)

MCGAHA: -- absolute definition of stress, because every day in the newspaper, there would be something. We had members so mad, they wanted to kill people. I mean, we had bomb threats, we had...

72:00

BERNSTEIN: And these were people who were mad at him, or who were supporting him and mad?

MCGAHA: They were -- they were mad.

BERNSTEIN: Got it.

MCGAHA: I mean, they were just -- because, you know, it’s -- here’s my union, and they’re doing this, and you know, so suddenly, they lose confidence in the union, they lose in everything. And our team got together, and -- and basically, you know, would -- it’s -- it’s like an organizing drive. I mean, you’re starting over every time this happens, you are starting over.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, that’s true.

MCGAHA: And day and night, it was that way. And, uh, people kind of got down on -- on Bill Johnson as well, because we had a -- I forget now what he -- what happened, but I mean, he didn’t do anything bad, he just, you know, was --

BERNSTEIN: Made some enemies --

MCGAHA: Well, it was kind of -- well, it was kind of a, uh, I would write it off as, uh, naïve leadership, or whatever, you know? And he had a -- kind of an abrasive way about him. It was -- everything was, you know, very confrontational 73:00when you get him started. And so, he wouldn’t go to the meetings, and I would have to do all of the reports. And so, I made the reports for, I don’t know, two or three years, every report made to a local lodge, I had to make it, so I had to get up there and take all of the heat. And so, for, I think, six years of my life, I was in controversial meetings, you know, and answering questions over, and over, and over again. I mean, it was just -- it seemed like it would never end. And, uh, that was one --

BERNSTEIN: And the kinds of issues would be -- it would be making a report about a negotiation, and --

MCGAHA: It could be contractual --

BERNSTEIN: -- people would not be happy with what was going on?

MCGAHA: Internal politics, I mean, you -- the whole gamut of what was going on. You know, it -- at the word play. Whatever they were mad about that day, they come to the meeting to complain.

BERNSTEIN: Came down to you?

MCGAHA: And I would get the, uh -- you know, I’d have to stand up there and take the heat for that, and survived it somehow or another. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Which is a skill.

74:00

MCGAHA: I guess. And, but our original -- my original, uh -- not the original, but one of the early political, uh, involvements I had, switching gears on you again, but the, uh -- we had three -- three tickets running for the internal offices. We had our group and then it had another group. We were, uh, mainly out of Renton and Auburn. And then had a group that was out of Seattle, which was called plant two, and, uh, Everett didn’t have much involvement, but they -- you know, they had somebody from Everett. But then they had what was called a staff ticket, which was all of the incumbents. And we had an election, and -- for district council, and the staff won all but one of those positions. And they 75:00had, uh, intentionally allowed a person on our ticket run that was not qualified to run. I don’t know if they did it intentionally, but they didn’t raise the issue.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: So, when one of their guys didn’t get elected, they decided they would contest the election based on this other guy’s eligibility.

BERNSTEIN: Oh!

MCGAHA: He had not been working at the trade for a full year, and so he couldn’t run. So, they reran the election.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: And, uh, one of my early mentors, he calls me up and he says, “Do you want to get on the council?” And I said, “Well, the election’s over,” he says, “They’re going to rerun it, you need to get down here.” So, I lived in Redmond and drove down to Seattle, which is about, uh, 18 miles, or something like that. And I jumped in my pickup, and I’m heading down there, and I’m designing literature, and filling in the names of whoever should be running to make a ticket that would win, and did a combination of these other tickets.

76:00

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: You know, you, you, you, you, and you. And we get down there, and after the meeting -- I called a meeting, and had all of these people come together, and I said, “Now, you know, we’re going to rerun this election, and we need to make this solid so we can get -- you know, get this thing back on track, because there’s a lot of dissension with all of these tickets running. And, um, so we argued about that for about a week, and then used a piece of literature I designed with the names already filled in, and that’s who we ran, and we took every spot.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding.

MCGAHA: And the -- the person that was the district president at the time, Bill Walkum, God rest his soul, uh, he didn’t make the council, so he couldn’t run for district president. (laughter) So, we wiped them all out, we just wiped him out. And to this day, uh, pretty much that whole team that, you know, with the new additions and stuff --

BERNSTEIN: That you put together in your 18-mile drive?

MCGAHA: -- is -- is still there, yeah, they’re still there. And they’re --

BERNSTEIN: I guess it was a good call.

MCGAHA: Well, it --

77:00

BERNSTEIN: In terms of balancing --

MCGAHA: It was a good balance for sure. And it’s -- like I said, it stayed pretty much intact with a few exceptions. There’s a couple that -- you know, people that made it through the, uh, election process that we weren’t supporting. But for the most part, the whole team is still there versus mostly new people. But I always take a bit of pride thinking of that, that these guys have actually stuck together, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: But --

BERNSTEIN: That’s impressive.

MCGAHA: Yeah, you give them a -- give them a direction, let them go. But, you know, they’ve -- I’ve been gone so long now that I don’t know. The, uh -- it seems to be the same -- same, uh -- at least the same philosophy, anyway. That’s a --

BERNSTEIN: So, as a retire -- you’ve been a very active retiree, as I understand it. And some of that has been involved in political campaigns?

78:00

MCGAHA: Yeah, we’re -- some political campaigns, and, uh, like I said, the fundraising for -- for political action, and then -- just working with Maria’s Rat Pack, and with Charlie, and so, done a lot of that, yeah.

BERNSTEIN: And you were involved in Scrap The Cap?

MCGAHA: Oh yeah, Scrap The Cap.

BERNSTEIN: Can you talk about that a little bit?

MCGAHA: Well, Scrap the Cap, uh, Kathy Cummins, who used to work for our international, works for the, uh, State Labor Council, and, uh, I used to do a lot of, in my capacity as the administrative assistant, I somehow or another got to be the official cheerleader, you know, at rallies, and contracts, and stuff. And I wrote a thing some years back, it was back in the mid-90s, I wrote a thing about -- uh, talking about jobs. And I always called it a rage, everybody else called it a rap. But it was -- you know, it was --

BERNSTEIN: (laughter) OK.

79:00

MCGAHA: Give you -- give you a short version of it. But, uh, it’s like, “You don’t want to talk about jobs, you don’t want to talk about the toys came over on a ship, or that foreign wine that you like to sip, or your Lexus car that you think is hip, don’t want no training tip, or a damn pink slip, I want to talk about jobs.” And then you’d say, “Whose jobs?” And they’d say, “Our jobs.” And, “Whose jobs?” “Our jobs.” “What kind of jobs?” “Union jobs.” And this always got their blood going at these rallies. And, there’s a million verses, you know, it’s one of these zipper deals, you can put a -- a verse in wherever you want it.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: Depending on what the thing was about. So, anyway, everybody always, uh -- every time you see them, oh, talking about jobs, talking about jobs. Elected politicians and everybody else, because, you know, some of these election rallies, we did that same little rap thing. So, anyway, these -- uh, Social Security Works Washington, and the Economics Opportunities Institute, I guess it 80:00was called, they were going to put together a rap video. One of their kids working down at the intern or something decided to, you know, make his rap video about Social Security, you know, we could reach a whole audience out there, and -- and get the message out. So, I get a call from this -- of course, I’m retired now, and I get a call from Kathy Cummins, she says, “Hey, uh, I just volunteered you for a video,” and I said, “A video? What kind of video?” And she said, “Well, I just had a meeting down here with these people, and they were looking for somebody. And I said, ‘I know somebody that can rap.’” And I said, “You’re out of your mind.” (laughter) So, anyway, we went down to listen to what they had to say and everything, and I said, “OK, I’ll give it a try.” But I said, “I -- I’m no rapper.” And the lady in there, Sally David, she was a producer out at, uh, uh, PBS local affiliate there, Channel 9. She’s retired. And certainly, she’s probably the 81:00least likely rapper in the world. I mean, she looks, you know, nothing about the part and everything else. She was -- she was all nervous about it. She said, “Well, will we offend somebody if we do this?” (laughter) I said, “Probably, because any time you do anything, you offend somebody.” I said -- So, anyway, they talked us into doing this thing, and we went out and tried it out. And, uh...

BERNSTEIN: So, you wrote most of it?

MCGAHA: No, I didn’t write it. No, these kids --

BERNSTEIN: Oh, the kids wrote it?

MCGAHA: The kids put it all together, yeah, they put it all together.

BERNSTEIN: Got it, OK.

MCGAHA: Yeah, they put it all together. And they were looking for -- they were looking for some way to say it. And I said, “Well, why don’t you say, just scrap the cap.” I said, “That’s really what you want to do.” Because they were trying to figure out what to do about Social Security, about doing all of this stuff. I said, well, just scrap the cap. So, that was my contribution, was kind of somewhat naming it. And, um, a couple of other ad libs I had during the -- the, uh, filming of it. But we worked on that for -- I think we had five 82:00or six days of filming, and two days of recording, and then the kids, I don’t know, they worked on it for two or three months editing it.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: Putting all of that together, but it’s quite a process, I was -- I didn’t realize how much work there was going to be, but, you know, we had --

BERNSTEIN: It was quite a successful effort, I have to say.

MCGAHA: -- probably 10 -- probably 10 costume changes, and -- and, uh, you go into the studio and record your piece of it. And, I mean, it sounds good to me, you know? And he says, “No, no, we’ve got to do it again.” So, seeing that thing 20 or 30 times, the entire thing by yourself, headphones, singing into a microphone in a kids basement, I mean, the kid’s living in his parent’s basement, one of these techno freaks, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: And --

BERNSTEIN: Guys with the skills.

MCGAHA: And then, uh, Sally goes over and she does it 20 or 30 times, and the 83:00same deal. And then he takes a piece of this, a piece of that, a piece of this, and then he pieces it all together.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, ha! OK!

MCGAHA: And so now, I’ve got one perfect take, now, she’s got one perfect take, and then they splice those together.

BERNSTEIN: And then he fixes it all.

MCGAHA: They splice those two together.

BERNSTEIN: Little bits, yeah.

MCGAHA: And then we had to go out and do five or six days of filming, lip synching that thing, with all of the background noise, you know, sirens, freeway noise, you know, people yelling, and screaming, and doing all kinds of crazy things. And so, when they put that together on the tape, I said, “Wow, did we do that? Because it didn’t look anything like I remember doing it!” (laughter) But, I’ve got to say, I’m almost sick of it, because every time you go somewhere, you know, you’ve got to listen to it again, and again, and again, and again.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: It’s like, oh, I can’t get that sound out of my mind.

BERNSTEIN: It’s just like those rock -- rock bands that have to play the old favorite one too many times.

MCGAHA: Yeah, I can -- I can relate to that. I’m nowhere near that bad yet, but it’s -- I can understand how they can feel that way. It was fun, and, uh, 84:00the target audience was supposed to be, I think, uh, 25 to 30, or thereabouts, and totally missed the target, because the -- the highest reception is for -- I think it was women 54 to 62, was the --

BERNSTEIN: OK. That must be why I love it, because I’m in there.

MCGAHA: Well! (laughter) OK.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

MCGAHA: Well, anyway, that was not the target audience, but that’s the target they hit, and I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you hit a target, I guess.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: I guess it really does, because women in that age bracket are probably disproportionately affected by, you know, uh, Social Security changes one way or the other. And, uh, so, hopefully, it does some good.

BERNSTEIN: (laughter)

MCGAHA: And the new one they’re trying to do, they’re trying to come up with a new one now, and it’s -- uh, they’re going to do a country western theme going.

BERNSTEIN: I heard that.

85:00

MCGAHA: And I don’t know what target they’re shooting at, but, uh --

BERNSTEIN: Swing states.

MCGAHA: Who knows.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: I guess you wait and see, but...

BERNSTEIN: OK.

MCGAHA: The guys are -- the kids are up there working on that now, they’re putting together storyboards, and writing the songs, and they’ve got it -- they’ve actually got a professional musician, uh, country western artist of some sort that’s helping them out with it.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, that’s cool.

MCGAHA: So, I don’t know yet if I’m going to be doing it, or he’s going to be doing it, or we’re going to be doing it --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- or how it’s going to come out, but it’s funny, you talk it out, and you’ve got all these experts out here, they’re all telling you, oh yeah, you ought to do this, you need to do that. And I said, “I just show up, I’m not... (laughter) I’m not the technician here, I’m just -- I’m just a pawn in the big game, you know?”

BERNSTEIN: Part of -- a cog in the wheel.

MCGAHA: Yeah, that little, uh, scene -- the little scene with the towel.

BERNSTEIN: Uh-huh?

MCGAHA: That was an ad lib.

BERNSTEIN: Oh yeah?

86:00

MCGAHA: Yeah, we -- we did that, in the -- and they were -- they were trying to come up with something, and the kid in the video, that was actually his girlfriend.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, OK.

MCGAHA: And we were at their house, we were actually at their house, where they’re staying. And so, they come in there, and they said, “Well, you know, you want to get this where it’s, you know, just really imposing on the kids, you know?” And the message is, you don’t want these people living with you.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right.

MCGAHA: You know, get their Social Security taken care of so you can live by yourself.

BERNSTEIN: Settle home. (laughter)

MCGAHA: And I said -- well, you know, the grossest thing I can ever remember in my life was my dad come stumbling out in the dark going to the bathroom, and we’re standing over there, and I said, you know, that just -- it’s just not a pretty sight at all. So -- so, we did that. We did that. (laughter) And you’re walking out there. And I thought the look on that gal’s face was precious. She goes -- I just -- (laughter) I remember it was a one-take deal.

BERNSTEIN: That was excellent, that’s true.

MCGAHA: We -- we shot that -- we shot that part in one take.

BERNSTEIN: Oh yeah?

87:00

MCGAHA: Yeah, it really -- we laughed at it. I -- I thought they were going to take it out. Actually, there was, uh, originally, there was -- there was about four and a half minutes long, and they shortened it to three minutes to make it more viewable.

BERNSTEIN: Right, right. Huh.

MCGAHA: But, yeah, there was stuff -- outtakes and that, like everything else, it’s just hilarious. I hope the next one does as well.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: But --

BERNSTEIN: No, that’s a -- that’s a really good strategy for communicating, I have to say. It’s (crosstalk; inaudible).

MCGAHA: Well, and like I said, the young kids put that together, and there was a -- the kid that did all of the electronic part of that, you know, splicing that all together, living in his parent’s basement.

BERNSTEIN: But somebody found him, drew him in, right?

MCGAHA: Well, they were all there, and then they had a -- you know, they had two or three other young kids on there, and man, they were just into it, you know?

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: They really did.

BERNSTEIN: That’s terrific.

MCGAHA: And the young kids -- a lot of young kids like it, and they think it’s funny because, you know, here’s old people making a fool of themselves.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: But the petition piece that -- you know, signing the petition, I mean, that thing’s got 150,000 hits, and we’ve got 3,700 signatures. People just 88:00look at it for the entertainment --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- and they miss. So, I told them, I said, on this next one, we need to somehow or another, highlight the fact that there’s a -- if you’re going to do a petition, I don’t know if they are or not, but it -- I said if you are, you need to highlight that in some manner --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- so people go to that, because, you know, kids, they put this on Youtube, and it flashes around, and they never get to that part with the petition.

BERNSTEIN: So, they don’t even know that they’re skipping it. Yeah.

MCGAHA: But, you know, there were people that I talked to here in the audience that are -- one guy has taken the video, and made individual discs, and handed them out at his own expense.

BERNSTEIN: Huh?

MCGAHA: He went out and printed discs.

BERNSTEIN: No kidding.

MCGAHA: Yeah, he’s -- said he’s put out about 300 or 400 he said. And, uh, but that doesn’t get you to the petition.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: And the one the international did, they put some note on there about that, and we did get extra signatures.

89:00

BERNSTEIN: You need to go there, yeah.

MCGAHA: So, it’s --

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, that’s a lot.

MCGAHA: You learn something from everything, I guess.

BERNSTEIN: A lot of strategizing.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

MCGAHA: So, what did I forget to ask you?

BERNSTEIN: I don’t know. (laughter)

MCGAHA: What did I -- We went off on so many tangents, I’m not sure we --

BERNSTEIN: I know. Uh, I don’t know. I need to, uh -- I need to take your photo.

MCGAHA: Is that done?

BERNSTEIN: Um, State Labor Council, County Labor Council, stories about those that we skipped over that are critical?

MCGAHA: Uh, State Labor Council, um, well, state has several districts, and the vice president from each of the districts. And we were in the first district, which, uh, we were one of the biggest unions in -- in the first district. So, 90:00basically, get your name on a ballot and get elected, you know? So, it’s not like a big deal. But, anyway, you still -- you send out a letter, generally. We’ll send out a letter, generally, we’ll send out a letter, and our opposition, loyal opposition inside the union, um, I sent out -- which I was pretty sure I was authorized to do, on letterhead, because I’m representing the organization, I’m not getting there, you know, to be vice president for myself --

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: -- it’s for the organization.

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MCGAHA: So, we sent out a letter with all of the candidates on there, and signed it on the letterhead, and sent it out to the other affiliates of the labor council to, um, you know, to ask for their support, and ask for their vote. And 91:00the loyal opposition filed internal charges on me for using the -- misusing the letterhead.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, dear.

MCGAHA: And I said, you’ve got to be kidding me. (laughter) So, you know, the -- this is just one of the joys of -- of what you have to put up with, uh, you know, representing people, because everybody has their own idea of -- of things, I guess. But I served, uh -- let’s see, how long was I on there? About 10 years or so as the vice president of that, and I was vice president of the King County Labor Council at the same time. And I don’t know, just met a lot of people, and I was sort of the interface between our district and the greater labor community out there. Everybody -- I knew most of the labor leaders in the state, or they knew me. And so, you know, if they want to -- anything with the machinists, they always call me, or they would call our political director --

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

92:00

MCGAHA: -- who, you know, basically had some of the same connections, or most -- all of the same connections. So, I kind of was the interface between the other unions, you know? If you had -- somebody had a complaint or something, we’d -- we’d talk it out, you know? And we’d support each other in the various rallies. We had great, great labor community support up there for our strikes, and others. We -- we did the, uh, the musician’s union, which is a very, very small union, now. And we had the entire, uh, labor community came out in support of them.

BERNSTEIN: Really?

MCGAHA: And there was, like -- they had, like, 300 members, and we ha 3,000 people out in the street for them, you know? We had --

BERNSTEIN: That’s an impressive solidarity.

MCGAHA: We had two -- two busloads of --

BERNSTEIN: Show of solidarity.

MCGAHA: -- two busloads of machinists showed up for their picket line, you know, or demonstration out in front of the theater, you know, where they were picketing. And, things like that, and -- and you don’t get that just by sitting in your office answering the phone, you’ve got to be out there amongst 93:00the people. And I -- if I ever offer any advice to, you know, young leaders, young labor leaders -- emerging labor leaders, or whatever they call them now, my advice to them is to go out, and try to do as much activity with other unions as you do your own. And because you’ll get -- you’ll get payback from that. You’ll get them coming out to support you.

BERNSTEIN: Mm-hmm.

MCGAHA: And that’s how you build the solidarity is you spend as much time with those other unions as you do your own. You know, which is hard to do if you’re out servicing members all the time. But that’s part of organizing is that you -- organizing is just being sociable with people.

BERNSTEIN: Making connections.

MCGAHA: Yeah, it’s just being upfront and honest with them, and friendly with them, and talking to them. You know, you don’t do that by cutting these backroom deals, and that sort of thing.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah.

94:00

MCGAHA: That doesn’t get you anything, you know? I see some of these unions, you know, they do that top-down organizing, where they go and they cut a deal with the company, and come back, go out and get the cards signed. You’ve got dues payers, you don’t have members. (laughter)

BERNSTEIN: Yeah, that’s the difference.

MCGAHA: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: Well, I thank you very much for doing this.

MCGAHA: Well, I hope that’s helpful, if not --

BERNSTEIN: I think it is excellent.

MCGAHA: -- well, get somebody else –