A Financier Builds a New Company
Financier James Ling bought Temco and Chance Vought companies and formed one of America's biggest conglomerates. He named it after himself, Ling-Temco-Vought. For the first time, Locals 1081, 390, and 893 had a common employer. The company was later re-organized, without the high-flying Ling, as LTV. The unions came together as UAW Local 848 in 1962. Billy Owens, President of Local 893, won the first election for President.
The first contract was dated October 1, 1962. There were problems in combining the contracts of the three locals because individuals with seniority under their old contracts wanted to maintain the provisions that gave them advantages. Eventually, a number of employees were "red-lined" to keep their benefits under old contracts; but most Local 848 members functioned under the same contracts from that time forward.
The local proudly dedicated its new union hall on January 28, 1967. They had previously used offices in a downtown Grand Prairie office building, a converted service station in Dallas, a site at Main & Baghdad, and a run-down bowling alley near the LTV plant. The union used offices at 909 Dalworth in Grand Prairie while their new union hall was being constructed on the old bowling alley site. In 1963, the union named its newsletter, "The Texas Aerospacer."
When Local 848 won the Christmas shutdown in 1968, they had already solidified a long list of important victories. They even negotiated Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB), which is common in auto workers' contracts but unusual in the aerospace industry. Our local had to let the system go in 1972 when it was conceded that the level of layoffs made SUB impractical in aerospace. Local 848 helped the plant guards form their union, UPGWA 263.
The UAW left the AFL-CIO, partially over disagreements concerning support to the war in Vietnam. On May 7, 1970, UAW President Walter P. Reuther wrote a long telegram to President Nixon condemning the bombing of Cambodia. On the next day, Walter and May Reuther were killed in a plane crash. Leonard Woodcock became President of the UAW as Reuther's personal domination of the UAW ended.
Book Explains Ling Empire
Brown, Stanley H., Ling, the Rise, Fall, and Return of a Texas Titan. Atheneum, New York, 1972. Hampton-Illinois Branch of Dallas Public Library: B L7555B.
In September, 1969, Ling's empire was in trouble. He met at the sumptuous recreation area known as Eagle Ranch in South Texas. Here are some of the executives at the meeting: Vanda Davidson, M.D.; Robert McCulloch, who came to America as an immigrant machinist from Scotland in the 1920s and founded Temco; Roscoe Haynie, former President of Wilson & Company meatpackers; Sanders Campbell, Dallas real-estate developer; Rich Thomas, vice president and executive assistant to Ling; Clyde Skeen, LTV president; William J Stephens, chairman of the board of Jones & Laughlin Steel; Harding L. Lawrence, chairman of board and CEO of Braniff Airways; Paul Thayer, CEO of LTV aircraft; E. Grant Fitts, CEO and President, Gulf Life Holding Co; William H. Osborn, partner in the firm of Lehman Brothers, investment bankers to LTV; and Gustave L. Levy, former chairman of the board of governors of the New York Stock Exchange.
Ling received much financial backing from Bank of America. (pg 25)
Pg 25: In 1969, Wilson & Company sold nearly $1.3 billion worth of meat. Jones & Laughlin sold $1 billion in steel. Braniff brought in $300 million. LTV aerospace sold more than $700 million worth of planes and aerospace hardware. Wilson Sporting Goods sold $100 million. "Other LTV subsidiaries were making chemicals and drug products, high fidelity and communications equipment, $200 million worth of wire, cable , and floor coverings from Okonite, and lots more in factories employing more than 120,000 people scattered all over the country.
'Total sales of the whole complex would top $3.75 billion in 1969...."
"The little electrical contracting company that Ling had started the whole thing with wasn't even part of the sprawling enterprise any more..."
pg 48: Ling didn't finish highschool.
pg 49: Ling didn't rise very high in the Navy and was only a Fireman First Class when he got out..."
pg 50: 1/1/47 organized Ling Electric Company with $2000 in war surplus electrical equipment and a used truck.
Pg 60 was from Oklahoma
Pg 74: Temco's "biggest success had come from rebuilding old C-54s, the military version of the DC-4, and fabricating all sorts of metal products from popcorn machines to aircraft sub-assemblies for other companies..."
pg 81 on Vought: "The company had been founded in 1917 by Chance Vought, a pioneer aircraft engineer who learned to fly with the Wright brothers."
"In the late 1920s, Chance Vought joined with Boeing, Northrup, Pratt &Whitney, Sikorsky, and other plane and equipment makers as well as the predecessors of United Airlines to form United Aircraft."
"Immediately following the war, when the Pentagon became nervous about the heavy concentration of the aircraft industry in New England and Long Island, United Aircraft was asked to move its Chance Vought division out of Connecticut and into a portion of the huge government-owned aircraft plant outside Dallas, part of which would also be occupied by Temco."
Pg 82: United Aircraft had trouble with Pratt & Whitney engines division. Decided to get rid of Chance Vought in 1958. They made it into a separate corporation and then spun it off through the distribution of its stock to United's shareholders as a dividend.
Chance Vought sales in 1959: $254.6 million.
Vought fought against Ling's takeover. Pg 88. Ling was not CEO of LTV. McCulloch was.
Pg 91: Ling bragged that he had made a lot of jobs for Dallas.
Pg 92: Vought didn't do as well as Ling had thought it would in the first year.
pg 123: LTV sales in 1965: $336.2 new high.
Pg 147: ling tried to take Allis-Chalmers and ABC.
pg 149: Tried to take Youngstown
In 1968 elections, Ling started out supporting Humphrey-Muskie, switched to Nixon.
Pg 163: antitrust action concerning Jones & Laughlin acquisition. Grant Fitts wanted Ling to demote Clyde Skeen
pg 263: After various threats and accusations from primary funding sources, they reshuffled. Several directors resigned, Ling stepped down a rung. Other reshuffling. Grant Fitts, Troy Post, and a banker named Bobby Stewart played major role in bringing crisis to a head. They expected stock to climb on news of Ling's demotion.
pg 265: stock fell on news of Ling's demotion and of Stewart coming in ...
pg 281 Ling moved to small suite of offices on 26th floor of LTV Tower with only 1 secretary. "He sometimes had to answer his own phone..."
Pg 284: The various conspirators did not continue to run LTV, but "they left the huge burden of LTV to Paul Thayer"
Pg 294: Author says Ling bought Okonite for $40 million and went on away from LTV. Author blames Ling's demise primarily on the 1969 reports from various directors indicating that LTV conglomerates would make $40 million that year when in fact they only made $2 million.
My own summary of the book: James Ling was a dynamic person who brought together the capital to make a number of flashy acquisitions. The mergers themselves caused stock prices to rise, giving the impression that some economic improvement had been made. But when earnings reports came in, the investor confidence began to fade. This book puts the entire explanation on the basis of psychology of various participants. It probably does so in order to make a more interesting book; but it errs because the real reasons for both Ling's rise and his fall can be seen in the economics of business mergers.
Eventually, Ling lost the confidence of his financial backers and moved to a much smaller-scale operation. The working people of the LTV components and their various unions are not even mentioned in the book.
January 12, 1991
Organizing Vought Took a Fight
Interview with Bob & Helen Mason
Taken at Retirees' Meeeting 9/12/91
Bob Mason was a member of UAW-CIO Local 893 at Chance Vought during its birth in 1949. He has served as an officer. During 1984-85, Mason was one of the firees, "Victors." His father, Charles Cornelius Moll, was the first President of Local 893. Bob was the first elections committee head.
Robert L. Mason born 1924, September 1st. Mother married Charles Cornelius Moll 1925. For first 5 years, Bob lived in Perrin Illinois. Joined parents in Detroit in 1929.
Dad was in the Flint sit down strike 1937. He was a welder. Moll worked for Gm for 19 years. Then he drifted down to Dallas area. Lived in a trailer park.
When Bob got out of the military Moll lived somewhere in the Grand Prairie area. Bob came to Texas in 1948 and lived with them in trailer park for a short while.
Bob married Helen in 1946. Moved to the Love field area. They were living in Stephens Park in Dallas when Bob got a job at Vought in 1949. Up to this time, he had never been in a union. He filled out an application at Vought's hiring hall in town. They offered $1.03/hr.
Went to work in sheet metal at $1.09 "Got a 6 cents raise before I ever went to work". April 8, 1949, went to work in sheet metal.
"They were still in the process of organizing the plant, so I got in on that too. Passed out cards, got people to sign them. All on my own time. If they caught you doing it on company time, they'd fire you." Had never been around union. Received no bounty for signing up new members. "Even if they were getting it, I didn't take it". Dad was organizing, too. He knew a lot of people in the International. He was a good friend of Walter Reuther. Johnny Vincent was the head honcho in District 5 at that time, with the International. Hiram Moon was helping organize. All were friends of Charles Moll.
"I didn't always agree with Hiram Moon, but he wasn't too bad." After we won certification and held officer elections, Bob was the first Chairman of the eledcion committee. He and Roy Evans had to take a trip to Ardmore, Oklahoma, to get votes from Vought employees there. "The first jet they built in this plant, I think it was called the Pirate."
Later on elected first steward in breaks and rolls, stretch presses. "I forget how long I held the job as union steward, nobody else wanted it." I guess 4 years. "Back in those days it was tough being a steward. The only way you ever got out of the unit was when another foreman called for you... They really kept you under their thumb." Why did he give up being steward? "Somebody wanted it so I let him have it."
In 1962 he went to work for a Metroplitan Life Insurance Co in Ft Worth. Later opened up a grocery store, then a service station. Had a lot of friends from LTV and they kept trying to get me to come back to work. So "I came back in 1966. Had to start over on seniority. Had lost 13 years." (He's smiling as he tells me all this.) "I got zilch out of that 13 years."
Became steward again in 1986 before he retired.
In 1984 they brought him into Labor relations and fired him on May 23, 1984. The charge was "refusing to work overtime," which was precisely the union's program. He could easily have retired rather than stand up to the company. Why didn't he retire? "They made me mad. Besides, I would have missed all the fun!" I just didn't show up for overtime, I didn't think the punishment fit the crime.
Had 18 years official seniority when he got fired. Could have retired.
He was the first one fired. Afternoon of April 23rd.
While fired, he stood on the gates and tried to build the union.
Bob had played Santa Claus at the union Christmas party the year before they fired him. They made a point of saying, "LTV fired Santa Claus". He was 60 years old then, not the oldest firee. Brook Ferrar was older than Bob.
After Charlie Moll was President, he went back to work in the plant.
Shortly thereafter he went into the International as a rep. "They moved, it seems to me, every 6 months or so. "They lived in a travel trailer. They were living in it in Houston when my mother died. After she died he sold the travel trailer and lived in motels after that."
Eventually he moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Born in 1900. Retired around 1965 from UAW. "He was always a union man. He talked more about that than he did anything. He doesn't travel any more."
Bob & Helen live at Rt 6 Box 228 Burleson 76028 817 295 3930. Charles Moll is 212 Belding Hot Springs Ark 71901 501 321 1502.
INTERVIEW WITH FORMER LOCAL 893 PRESIDENT ROY EVANS
taken 8/12/90 at union hall.
Evans was an early organizer of Local 893 at Vought. He went on to become the local's president, a statewide union figure, and an expert on union contracts dealing with workmen's compensation. These are mostly his own words:
Roy R. Evans came to work August 1948 at Chance Vought.
Got involved in union on the day that UAW and CIO organizers were out on the gate. Started writing for the paper, 4 page slick sheet weekly, Hank Raybun, CIO publicity man did the editing. UAW-CIO News. He has every issue and will let me xerox.
Election was between IBEW, UAW, IAM and "no union". Primary contestants UAW & machinists.
At age 23, he ran for President in 1949. He led the organizing campaign. His twin brother, too. Ray. Ray ran as VP on 2nd election. They had one year terms. Then Roy elected.
Was Chairman of shop committee during fight over badges in 1953. Not 1951 as Day says. President of Dallas CIO 51-53.
He is writing a book. Moving to Austin in September 1991. At that time he will finish book or give everything to UTA Professor George Green. Fight over badges was "a stupid thing the company did". Charley Scott saw a good chance to build up morale."
Of Local 893's big wins: NLRB election. Company thought they would win. They had a huge table at cafeteria for their ballots. Management representative Marty Burke came in from United Aircraft. Had all the press there. He was going to sit over the election and watch the union's demise. I think the union ended up getting 76% of the vote at our little table. UAW had lions share. UAW and IAM got most votes." IBEW won electricians. UTA archives has interviews
with Hank Raybun, me, others who worked in the campaign."
Second big thing was when company filed decert. Roy was not popular with international. They were scared to death. "Machine Gun lips" Wise Stone came down. Good person.
Evans said at the time, "People in there want a union, they just don't want to pay for it."
We had less than 50% of the bargaining unit signed up for the union before the decertification election began, but we won the decert by a large margin. 1956 was year that AFL joined CIO. Actually 1957 in Texas.
Roy was President of Dallas CIO 1951-53. After merger, local continued in central labor council until mid 60s when Reuther pulled UAW out. Roy was Secretary Treasurer of Texas AFL-CIO.
Another high point was strike around 1954. When Roy took presidency, he had to stay in shop because local was too broke to have him on full time. Got local back in financial shape. No trips were paid for by the local until then.
On women, suggests an interview with Frenchy Stone or Eleanora Purcell. "She had the balls of 3 men", Evans says. Her Husband, Red Purcell, was an organizer for the CIO. "She was a real plus in that plant. A strong, strong person."
"Most of the things I accomplished were because of the CIO. Trouble with IBEW settling early." Trouble with the union higher up. Walter Reuther wasn't the problem, but the regional office was."
Roy was NAACP member. Hempfield, Black with college education, was sweeping floors in the plant. Dean Sabine was President after Cornelius Moll. Railroad Smith is 75 years old in 1990. Was first coordinator of retirement program. 300 people came to the union hall every week during Roy's leadership program.
Lost election and left labor movement in 1973. Worked for Department of Labor until retirement in 1990.
Railroad Smith got $1.38 per hour at Vought. Had been making $.50 before.
On civil rights, Roy says, "It was pretty bad." Worst part was job discrimination. They would not put Blacks on the machines. Right after Roy's election the first Black went on a machine. 1956. Vice President Nixon had a good position personally on race. He put pressure on aircraft companies. NAACP and CIO put most of the pressure on.
Hemphill ran for trustee with Roy in 1949. Company sponsored campaign against Evans, one issue was "he will put theb lacks on the machines." Yes, there were black officers while Evans was President. First black steward was a brilliant guy with personality plus named Herschel Matthews. Mathews, Local 893 President Charley Scott and his wife Rita were very close personal
friends. He was popular. Became the first African American officer of the local probably in early 50s.
Women were hired to work on electrical boards. A few in clerks.
At Temco local, Pancho Medrano was close friend of Evans. They had Black officers.
"Hit and run strike" was as much Evans idea as anybody's. Found out what people would do and what they wanted via a poll & 2 or 3 surveys. 1957. Had all GP police cars, some sheriffs and some Dallas police. We put up an informational picket. Game of nerves. They thought it was a strike. We finally did strike them.
We just shut down certain crucial parts of the plant. We found out where they could hurt the most. Told everybody else to go on in and work. "It wasn't really that original" We just thought it would be best since we didn't think there could be an effective full shutdown. A slowdown in critical parts of shop was best strategy.
Hit and run strike worked. We got some of what we wanted. "We got the company's respect and that was the main thing."
During the badge deal, George Dull walked through the line and went
to work. This was after his presidency.
Local 893 never won COLA.
AFTER NLRB election, company built an army of anti union people for 5-6 years. Chamber of commerce had guaranteed them that there wouldn't be any union down here. Probably 1/3 of the 10,000 employed were anti-labor hired especially for that purpose. Red Skerritt's major program was to build anti union people. He
used to be chief steward in Connecticut.
Texas became "right to work in 1948" "Nobody who knew anything about labor supported right to work".
Interview With Everett V Day
Everett V Day started July 11, 1951 at Chance Vought.
Jack Horton was a popular vice president under Nova Howard. Died in office.
Went to school to learn a trade. Had service related disability. Machinist,hand forming too much heavy work. Labor relations started to let him go beforehis 90 day probation. But E.V. had 91 days so they sent him eventually to tubing. Tube bender was what he ended up.
30 years plus with Vought total. About 1951 Charley Scott was President of the union. He was out on the gate getting people to wear their badges over Company was charging $5 for lost badges. "In case lost, mail to Local 848 and we will return it". Plastic. Company said you couldn't wear them. This was how E.V. Day got involved in the union. "I stood there and bumped shoulders and tried to keep people from coming in". "2 weeks after the lockout, I got a call that Charley Scott wanted to see me." He wanted E.V. to become a union steward.. 1 term (year), then committeeman a year (term), then president 55-56. Then was steward 7-8 times, on negotiating committee several times. Financial Secretary for UAW Dallas area council.
Lost about a week on the lockout. Some of the night shift lost 6 days. We won the thing. The company claimed that only 4 or 500 honored it. Charley Scott was giving checks out to the first 500, then noted that another 2000 were waiting. In front of the news media.
They compromised. They let us use a leather backing identification instead of the plastic one the union provided.
That was our first struggle, and it was when I first entered into it. After the first day, they picked up more and more people.
He retired in 1981. Early retirement. Was born 1925. Was youngest president ever elected to the local. First native Texan. Won the first arbitration case in the history of the local. he was 29. Had flagpole elected. First Ex-President to become president of retirees.
He was on layoff during "hit and run strike" during Roy Evans term. "I have walked many a picket line for other locals to help them." For example in an aircraft company in Garland.
Chairman of grievance committee was a woman, Eleanor "Terry" Purcell. Two committees, grievance and negotiations, were separate. He thinks during Roy Evans' times maybe Billy Owens', time, they decided to combine the two committees.
Making Corsairs when he hired in 1951. "We were a major aircraft company" "We built 6 of the VOTL vertical takeoff airplanes" 15 years before the V-22 at Bell.
Everett Day is standing on the left (union) side. George Butler to his left. Pancho Medrano is seated at left, next is Billy Owens, then "Hi" Moon. They are signing UAW Local 848's first contract in 1962.
Members Remember Local's Presidents
Nova Howard was elected President of Local 848 for the first time in 1967. He lost to B.J. Meeks in 1969, but won again for a short time in May, 1971.
Although a young man, B.J. Meeks had already held a number of prominent positions and made major contributions to the union. He filed a protest of the 1971 election because the mechanized method of voting had, he maintained, produced an error. By December, 1971, the UAW International had concluded that Meeks was right and he was installed for his second term as President. In his public statements, Howard was gracious in defeat and the transition was a smooth one.
Nova Howard may be one of the most picturesque individuals that the local has ever produced. He was a writer of poetry and dramatic statements. Referring to himself as "The Old Top Cat", he penned a large number of pieces that enliven the local's archives.
On at least one occasion, his writing talents were used against him: During the "Great Society" years of President Lyndon Johnson, LTV decided to hire a large number of Mexican Americans from an economically depressed border region of Texas. Pancho Medrano, Sr., who was an international rep with a special dedication to civil rights, came back to his home local and ran a successful organizing campaign to get the new LTV workers into the local. When they held a large meeting at our union hall, President Howard objected. He particularly did not like it because they were speaking Spanish. He wrote a long letter to Walter Reuther complaining about the meeting; the letter fell into Medrano's hands.
Although the letter was of fine literary interest, it left Howard open to charges of extreme pettiness and even racism. Medrano had the letter printed and circulated all through the UAW. He claimed later that Mexican Americans and other minorities caused Howard to lose the next election.
The very colorful Nova Howard bounced back to win another union election for President in 1978. He died in office September 9, 1981.
When former Local 893 President Everett W. Day retired in 1981, a number of former Presidents joined him for photos. They were Jack Jones, Nova Howard, B.J. Meeks, Joe Roschie, George Dull, Everett W. Day, Roy Evans, Andy Anderson, and Billy Owens.
Interview With JOHN W. HAMILTON, UNION OFFICER
John Hamilton agreed to sit for an interview and a picture at the Local 848 retirees' luncheon on March 14, 1991. Between 1965 and 1983, he served the union as Sergeant at Arms, steward and committeeman. These are mostly his words:
John W. Hamilton left work at LTV in 1983 after being injured. He jumped from an F8 airplane to reach a control switch to save another worker's arm. He blames management for the speedup that caused the accident: "Superintendent was always cutting corners" and allowed them to work on top of the airplane without having someone at the safety switch. He was injured in his back by the long jump, "about 35 feet."
Was the local's Sergeant at Arms, served 7 years. Replaced by Reecie Giesecke. Elected steward 1967. Bearden was Chief of Labor Relations.
B.J. Meeks was Chairman of the Grievance Committee in 1967. Railroad Smith was his Committeeman. Nova Howard was President.
Hamilton has a firsthand recollection of the fight that preceded the 1967 contract ratification meeting. He was standing outside the door at Texas Hall at the university and he heard a scuffle. Inside, Pat Patterson hit President Nova Howard. Howard hit Patterson back. Pat Patterson was not an officer. "He always had a gripe. I hated to see him come into a meeting over here. He hauled off and hit Nova, Nova hit him back. Johnny Miller pulled Patterson off and downed him, almost stood on his neck. Took place before the meeting. Pat had some disagreements."
"We accepted the contract, by 92% I believe."
Patterson donated a moosehead that hung in the foyer for some time.
Hamilton was on the Executive Board when Chairman Coy Click brought in a contract proposal, he said some foul words. Rest of the committee had already said "no."
"Back then we policed our runs real close. When they had all the Spanish guys coming in. They would lay off out of seniority. Johnny Miller was committeeman. Found a man had been laid off and another man was doing his job. On First step, Jerry Carr. The foreman nor Superintendents would give us a first step answer. It had to come from Labor Relations.
'So we were holding second step with Jerry on this particular guy. He offered to make them look like 'great white knights'". Suspicious, they called the hall. Found out that Jerry wanted to do it because the man was a scab. "We just reached over and tore the damned thing up, before he put anything on it. It would have looked bad to have brought a scab back in with a month's pay."
"Mr Bearden at that time had a liking for a few of us. [Management Representative] Jerry Carr was one hell of a good man. Jerry would actually sit down and talk about it. Joe Crisp and others would tend to give us a lot of crap. But Jerry would sit down to work out a problem."
"That's the way we run our districts. We didn't file grievances just because somebody got mad. We only took legitimate grievances."
"Back in those days, we were union reps. Zone four ,it really stood out in the grievance procedure." Machine shops, assembly, interplant transportation. "At one time I had 616 people in my district."
After they fired Johnny Miller, John Hamilton became Committeeman. "Johnny got himself fired. He went out on 900 [sickness & accident leave] and just didn't come back or send in documentation. Jerry Carr was the one who fired him. I filed a grievance from chapter one through the whole contract." Hamilton didn't run for the office at that time. Coy click was elected committeeman around 1972-73.
He was steward when Reuther died. "It shook the local up, especially the leadership. The membership didn't really know who the hell Reuther was. But the leadership was shaken up because he was highly thought of in this leadership. Local sent flowers, maybe $300 worth. One person attended funeral. Might have been been BJ or Nova. Roy Kinney was International Rep."
"The union the way I knew it then, we had control of our people and ourselves. I don't think it's that way any more."
An African American man got white slip for allegedly whistling at a white woman in a mini skirt. John got the superintendent to apologize. White slip was pulled.
Campaigned against Railroad Smith after he found Smith withdrawing a grievance of his.
Caught his superintendent putting his time on the union when in fact he had been working on the airplane. He raised a bunch of hell and got the hours straightened out. "I would catch him working, and I got more money out of catching him working than I did what I was making!"
Set a precedent on working before/after a holiday for holiday pay with one grievance.
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