University of Michigan-Flint
Frances Willson Thompson Library
Genesee Historical Collections Center
University of Michigan-Flint Labor History Project
DATE: February 22, 1980
INTERVIEWER: William Meyer
INTERVIEWEE: Albert Taylor
MEYER: Okay, you were going to tell me about your job in supervision.
TAYLOR: Well, the reason I quit to join the union is because there wasn't any safety factors anywhere, the conveyors run over the aisles, and there was stuff fallin' off all the time, from the connectin' rods to crankshafts, cylinder blocks, you know. There was no protection at all. In fact, when I first started working at the Chevrolet, I worked down the old sheep sheds, grinding down there, and I had to break the ice on my machine compound before I could do any work. And I worked in my overcoat pretty near all day, until the machines got warmed up, you know, so it got bearable in there you could stand it. So I just quit my leader job and joined the union, and I got acquainted with all the boys up in the office up there. You know where the office was. It was the old bank building up over the bank there on Kearsley and Asylum Street. And that's where their office was.
MEYER: That was the union office there?
TAYLOR: Yeah, over the old bank building.
MEYER: Now when is it that you quit this supervisory position?
TAYLOR: Well, it was about the time the union started. In fact, these here, this is, well, the first ones here, first...in '37.
MEYER: But you quit your supervisory position before the Sit-Down actually started?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah.
MEYER: About how long before the Sit-Down Strike was it?
TAYLOR: You know, I just had a heart attack there a few months ago, and I can't remember everything. But I can remember the outstanding things that happened. The management formed what they called the "Flying Squad." They equipped 'em with hardhats and clubs to beat up on the union members.
MEYER: This was when you had the supervisory position that they were doing this?
TAYLOR: No, no. It was after I quit. After I quit the union.
MEYER: When you quit the supervisory position.
TAYLOR: Supervisory, yeah, that's what I meant. Then my brother was shot where they set in down at Chevrolet Fisher, across from Plant 2. He was shot through the fat part of the side, just through the skin. They didn't even take him to the hospital. He didn't need any...
MEYER: Had he been sitting in?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah. At Chevrolet Fisher, they called it. See the building across from Plant 2 used to be Fisher Body. They used to make Chevrolet bodies there. That's when they was old wood bodies, you know. Not all steel.
MEYER: Was it the so-called "Battle of the Running Bulls" that he was shot?
TAYLOR: Well, I wasn't down there. You know Murphy was governor then, and he moved in militia or National Guard or whatever you want to call it. But they didn't fire any shots or anything there. President wouldn't let 'em. But there was some police shooting. These guys, after they started shooting, was throwing hinges out the window and hitting 'em.
MEYER: That's when the police attacked the plant.
TAYLOR: Well, there was some shooting going on before the hinges started flying. They had everything all set up. All in all, it was just a mess. For the money we was making----I started working for Chevrolet when I was fourteen years old, 33 cents an hour. And if I'd had stayed at the Chevrolet, I'd have been there 56 years now, but I didn't.
MEYER: How long did you have that supervisory position? Do you remember?
TAYLOR: Not very long. It was just when they setting up some new machinery that drilled the cranks, six cylinders I was working in. When I...I worked there when they was on the four-cylinder engine, you know. There wasn't six. And when they went from six to eight in 1928, it was optional. You could get a eight or a six cylinder. There was a terrible situation. This Frankensteen that was with Reuther, none of us liked him. He broke all the windows out of the Plant 9, the Women's Auxiliary, when they broke all the windows out. Him and I had a pretty bad fight over that. I beat him, too.
MEYER: What was the fight about?
TAYLOR: Well, over breaking the windows out. I wasn't for that kind of stuff. I was more for arbitration. Take men to the people that had the authority and talk it out and tell 'em what we was going to do. If they didn't do it, if they didn't abide by our request, that...see, I was a committeeman, I was a steward. I was a steward first. Then I was a committeeman. After I got to be an official, more or less, with the union, why, I was in a position to arbitrate, you know. And I found out that I got farther, got more, doing that than did damaging things. There was vandalism. It was terrible. It was awful.
MEYER: Well, the breaking of the windows in Plant 9 was supposed to be part of a diversionary attempt to take over the plant you were in, Chevy 4, right?
TAYLOR: Well, I didn't happen to be in the plant at the time that they broke the windows. But I told Frankensteen if he broke the windows, I was gonna punch him. I was upstairs in the office, across the street.
MEYER: The union office, was this?
TAYLOR: Yeah. And there was a lot of Reds in there for a while, you know. There was a lot of Communists in there.
MEYER: In the fight over Chevy 4, when Chevy 4 was taken, you were in the union hall across the street, in the union offices across the street.
TAYLOR: It wasn't much of a fight.
MEYER: What did you do after the plant was taken? Did you try to go in, or did you stay out?
TAYLOR: Oh, I wasn't afraid to go in. I had a gun on me all the time. And I wasn't afraid to go.
MEYER: Did you go in and sit in some of that time?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah, I was in some of the time, talking to the fellows.
MEYER: That was February 1st. So that would have been right towards the end of the whole thing, when they did that. February 1st they took Chevy 4. According to your membership, you had just joined, actually, a day or two before, it looks like.
TAYLOR: Well, I haven't got all my... I had lots of folders. I've got more in there some place. I've got union books in here that you wouldn't believe. I got Ironworkers' books and I think one of the other ones, during the war, I think '42. Yeah, '42.
MEYER: Now, when you were into 4, after it had been taken over, what do you recollect about how the workers were handling their control of the plant? Were they pretty well organized inside?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah, we took care of ourself pretty good. It was a lot of people hurt, you know. I didn't happen to get hurt, but...
MEYER: How did people get hurt, mainly?
TAYLOR: Fighting, you know.
MEYER: Among each other?
MEYER: Or you mean fighting with people outside?
TAYLOR: Well, you see the union had a bunch of guys that was...I mean management had a lot of guys that was for them, you know. And they didn't want no union. See, Chevrolet wasn't a closed shop until after the Sit-Down Strike.
MEYER: Do you remember any of the leaders in Chevy 4 at the time, some of the people that were mainly running it?
TAYLOR: I can't remember names, unless they're indelible on my mind, you know.
MEYER: Gib Rose, does that...?
TAYLOR: Yeah, Gib Rose was a very good friend of mine. You can ask me about me if you ever see him, if he's still alive.
MEYER: Well, we talked to him last summer. He lives down in St. Louis. He came up for the picnic.
TAYLOR: In fact, we used to run around together a lot. We used to go out together.
MEYER: One of the things we have heard about in Chevy 4 is certain alleged attempts to try to pollute or poison food or water that was coming into the Sit-Down. Do you remember anything about that, or does that...?
TAYLOR: I heard about it, but there was never actually any proof that they did never get to do it. I don't know whether they was afraid of the consequences, that General Motors was afraid of the consequences, but I heard that they was. But we had the water tested and everything, and it was all right. It was that old rusty water, anyway.
MEYER: Now you were working in Chevy 4 while some of the other plants were struck during the month of January. Do you remember any union members having any problems at that time with foremen or supervisors? Did you have to kind of keep it quiet if you were a union member, or was there a lot of public organizing going on, or...?
TAYLOR: No. Well, there was one guy that I remember that he said he wouldn't join the union, and we got into, kept arguing and arguing. He was a great big tall guy. He's about two heads taller than me. He's about six-seven or eight, you know. I had to jump to hit him, you know, and I'm six foot. But he was the only guy that I ever had any trouble with. I know after I got to be steward, one guy come to me. He'd been up to the toilet for two hours reading the paper. And he come to me and said he had a grievance, that a superintendent had fired him, and he had a grievance. I says, "What for?" He says, "I was up to the toilet." You know, he had the stairs going up like this. I says, "How long was you up there?" He says, "A couple hours." Well, I says, "You haven't got any grievance." I was fair, you know. I believed in being fair. And I didn't destroy anything, and I had figured that, the old saying "you can get more flies with honey than you can with vinegar," and I figured that arbitration was the best way, if it could be handled that way. And, if it couldn't, why, do whatever we had to go, except destroy property. I don't believe in that part.
MEYER: You mentioned that there were a lot of, as you call them, "reds" in Chevy 4, in the plant. What was their role and what was their relationship to the workers in general. I mean were they any different from any other workers, in terms of their ...
TAYLOR: Well, I didn't say there was any that was working. I said there was in the union. There was some in the union, to start with. But Reuther, Walt got rid of 'em, when he found them out. And Frankensteen was one of 'em. He wound up down in Detroit as a strikebreaker.
MEYER: What strike was that, do you recall?
TAYLOR: I don't know. Some big strike down in Detroit. I don't know whether it was Burroughs or one of those, or Hudson, or one of them down there. Budd Wheel. They had so many strikes going on then that I don't know which one they hired him to break the strike. And they was smashing heads and stuff like that and getting guys, taking them for a ride, and stuff like that. I don't believe in that stuff.
MEYER: Now while the strike was on, inside Chevy 4, were the workers who were sitting down pretty much most of the key decisions, or how were decisions made?
TAYLOR: Well, we'd have somebody come. You know they got big steps up the front, see. And we'd get our food in somewhere, you know. I wasn't in there much, as I told you. But I'd get in there once in a while. You see my granddad, who was chief of, I guess you call 'em, police or security, Al Suff, he was the chief of the police department, and he used to give me hell for things like that.
MEYER: Of the he Flint Police Department?
TAYLOR: Well, he was number one policeman in the city of Flint, my granddad was.
MEYER: His name was?
TAYLOR: Al Suff. Yeah. And he didn't think much of the strike.
MEYER: Was he police chief at the time of the strike?
TAYLOR: Oh, yeah. He was the head watchman. He had his office in the main office. They'd just built it, you know, right on the corner of Bluff and it's Chevrolet Avenue now. I guess it was Wilcox, then. I forget it myself, because they changed it to Chevrolet Avenue, away from Glenwood Avenue. All I know is a lot of people don't realize how much the union has done, but I think they've gone just about as far as they can go, for what they're asking for. You know, when I was working in the shop, when you were sick, it was too bad. You didn't get nothing. Now they make ten percent less of what they make when they're working. Ten percent less. And I remember when I had my appendix out in 1930, I got something like sixteen dollars a week. That's all I got. And I had peritonitis set in while I was in there about a month there, I guess, altogether. I damn near died. That's the year my wife was born.
MEYER: Let's talk about a little before the strike. Were you born in Flint?
TAYLOR: No, I was born in Port Huron, but I come over here when I was two weeks old. My folks come over here when I was two weeks old.
MEYER: And you started working in the plants when you were fourteen?
TAYLOR: Fourteen. See the doctor that delivered me----he delivered me in the house---my grandmother's over in Port Huron. He died two days later, and I didn't have any birth certificate. No registration or anything. So my dad died when I was eight years old. My mother couldn't make enough money. And I used to clean out basements when I was very young. I had a paper route and did anything I could. But when I got to be fourteen, well, I went down there...I would have lacked about two months of being fifteen, but I actually started working at Chevrolet when I was fourteen. On cases, four-cylinder cases, you know what I mean. These big top millers, you know. And that was big. I looked twenty. I was so big and strong. My mother couldn't make enough money to keep his soul. I talked her into going over and lying for me, to get me an affidavit. Well, that was all right, until the war broke out. I got to thinking that they might find that out, see, and I wouldn't be able to stay in there, see. So I had to find out. I had to let 'em know that the affidavit was false, that I did it because my mother couldn't keep us kids on the money that she could make. She worked down at Smith-Bridgman's, eighteen dollars a week, six days a week.
MEYER: Do you remember all those years you were working for GM before the Sit-Down Strike, do you remember other kinds of strike activities, like the 1930 strike that broke out at Fisher 1, or other kinds of disturbances?
TAYLOR: I remember the skilled trades. But that was AFL then. In fact, the UAW, for a while, was UAW and CIO. I don't know whether it was International Union, United Automobile Workers of America. But there, for a while, they were affiliated, see.
MEYER: About your job as a supervisor, when you were a supervisor, was it any part of your job or responsibility to watch out for union organizing or to interfere with it?
TAYLOR: Yeah, it was, but I wouldn't do it.
MEYER: What kinds of things did they suggest?
TAYLOR: Well, they told me that anybody that I heard talking...because I knew that things weren't right. The men weren't being treated right. There wasn't any guards on any of the machinery or nothing. When I first started working in there, there was one big motor running maybe five or six machines, with a overhead shaft. And them belts would keep coming off of them pulleys...
MEYER: Anything else that they encouraged you to do other than collect names? Or did they just have you collect...?
TAYLOR: Well, they wanted me to really do something. You know, get mean. But I would...
MEYER: By disciplining the workers who were union members?
TAYLOR: They wanted me to fire 'em. But I wouldn't do it. Gib Rose. What's he look like now? Is he still tall and hunch-backed, like?
MEYER: Oh, yeah, he looks pretty hale and hearty.
TAYLOR: You want a cigarette?
MEYER: Yeah, I guess I'll have one, thank you. So the main problems you had as a supervisor were the safety concerns and the anti-union stuff.
TAYLOR: That was my main concern was. The safety. I knew they could be rectified. You know, things could be made to be a lot safer.
MEYER: Do you remember serious injuries of people at Chevy while you were there?
TAYLOR: Oh, heck, I remember crankshaft fell on a buddy of mine in the head and pretty near killed him. Course that was only a four-cylinder crank. But I remembered that. And I can remember they didn't have any guards on any grinders, you know, the wheel was all open. They wouldn't any guards that would come down. The latter part, after the strike, why, all that was rectified. Each machine had its own motor, and it had that guard, so if a wheel did break, it wasn't absolutely foolproof, but at least the wheel wouldn't fly all over every place. And they'd come out, but you was working over an iron plate here, see, to put crankshafts in. And then I worked on every damn thing, valves. Everything that was to grind I ground it, axles, and...
MEYER: How steady was work back then? Were you laid off long, or?
TAYLOR: Well, you take back, well, right after the Depression, when they started up, you know. There was days that you wouldn't work. And they'd tell you to come in, say, like on a Wednesday. Well, you'd go in on a Wednesday, and they'd say, well, you better...there isn't anything today, you'd better come back tomorrow. Well, they wouldn't even pay you for that day. Now, if they call you in, they pay you! And that's...
TAYLOR: You know all those houses over in...that General Motors built, them Dupont houses over there in Chevrolet and Civic Park?
MEYER: West side, yeah.
TAYLOR: Right after my dad died, I was working on them, in 1919. Right after the war, you know. They quit building during the war, 'cause they couldn't get any furnaces or anything. And I was helping a guy. Well, he's still...he's got the...Jacobson, he owns Flint Warm Air. And I was working on them part-time. You know, whenever they got furnaces in, why, they'd call. And they'd come up to my uncle's house (I was staying at my uncle's house). I was just a kid.
MEYER: Tell about after the strike a bit. The strike was over. It was sometime after that you became a steward, you said?
TAYLOR: Yeah, I was a steward, and I was also a committeeman. See, a lot of guys...I knew an awful lot of guys in there, because I've been there so long. And I knew a lot of guys. You know, stewards and committeemen were elected, see. And I was always being elected for some damn thing.
MEYER: How different were those two jobs, being a steward and being a committeeman?
TAYLOR: Well, a steward, he just gets a hold of the committeeman, and he sees what's around and he's the guy that tells the committeeman what it's all about, you know. And then the guy that's got the grievance, he talks to the committeeman.
MEYER: Now we understand that after the strike, there was kind of one organization in the plant, called the steward system, and then it changed to a different kind of organization. Do you remember that, that change of organization, at all?
TAYLOR: Well, I can remember a hell of a lot of selling out being done. I remember that, between management and union. But we found them out soon enough.
MEYER: Who was doing the selling out?
TAYLOR: Well, some of the stewards and some of the committeemen. Mens was telling this and that on what was going on and this and that. It was dog-eat-dog stuff. It was a terrific struggle. I think they did a good job. I think that they come out real good now. It took 'em a long time to do it, but they did it.
MEYER: How do you see your own life having changed, as a result of the strike?
TAYLOR: Well, I didn't benefit much out of it, because they had ---see, when they started this goon tactics, beating up everybody, I got out of there. I quit Chevrolet.
MEYER: About when was that when you quit Chevrolet? Do you remember?
TAYLOR: Christ, I've been in and out of Chevrolet about eight or nine times.
MEYER: Was it shortly after the strike that you got out of Chevrolet?
MEYER: Within the next few months, perhaps?
TAYLOR: Well, the strike was settled.
MEYER: It was within the next few months that you think that you left Chevrolet?
TAYLOR: Well, I had more...I was there a couple years after the strike was settled.
MEYER: Okay. And these kind of "goon" tactics and things that you refer to was that on the part of people in the union, you mean? Or people in the management?
TAYLOR: Well, management was responsible for a lot of it. And some irresponsible union people were, too. It wasn't a one-way street. They both...course, if you're going after something, you want it bad enough that somebody's going to get hurt, and that's what happened. There's a lot of people hurting.
MEYER: So, after the strike, there were still a lot of incidents of management trying to subvert the union or still undercut it in some ways through these tactics?
TAYLOR: I think that it was almost a closed shop when I left. But things, I don't know, I can't remember what I quit for. I can't remember what I quit for. There was something that happened that I didn't approve of, and of course there was things happening all the time that I didn't approve of, but I just got fed up with it. In fact, I was working two jobs all the time. I was in the heating business and working in the shop, too, see. I was just fagged right out. And I just got tired out. But what really set me off was I wasn't for this Women's Auxiliary business. I didn't figure it was any place to get in there and get hurt or anything like that, you know. But they broke every doggone window there was to break out of Plant 9 there. And Frankensteen, he was the instigator of that. He led 'em in there.
MEYER: When you first joined the union, do you remember what the circumstances were?
TAYLOR: I just quit my leader job and I...
MEYER: Did you go over to a union office, or did somebody approach you in the plant? How did you... Where did you know to get your membership?
TAYLOR: Well, I just went to the head committeeman and told him I wanted to join up.
MEYER: So the people who were taking membership in Chevy 4 at that time, it was known who they were and you could just go to that person.
TAYLOR: That's when Travis was there, you know. He was in there quite a lot, you know.
MEYER: Well, you obviously must have met Travis, then, because he signed your card there.
TAYLOR: Yeah. Is he still around?
MEYER: He just passed away a few months ago.
TAYLOR: I think him and I were just about the same age. See, I'll be 69 the 27th day of this month. Him and I was just about the same age. I think Gib Rose is around about 71 or 2. And I remember the best foreman I ever had was name of Goldsmith in there, in valves. I was grinding valves. He was the best... He was for the union, but the only guy he could trust was me. He says, "How're you doin'? Are you doin' all right?"
MEYER: Do you remember Arnold Lenz, who managed that plant?
MEYER: Do you have any particular recollections of how Lenz responded to the union movement?
TAYLOR: Well, he didn't like 'em.
MEYER: Tell me a little bit about your brother. What was his name?
TAYLOR: Roy Taylor.
MEYER: And he was in Fisher 2?
TAYLOR: He worked in Fisher 2 at the time.
MEYER: Was he sitting in?
TAYLOR: He set in. He was in there the whole time.
MEYER: Did he stay in there after he got shot?
TAYLOR: No, they just took him up to first aid and patched him up. The bullet went right on through, see.
MEYER: So they just patched him up and he stayed in?
TAYLOR: Yeah. Right through the fat part, just the skin here. He wasn't fat. He was about six foot four and a half, and he was just standing in the window there and the scout shot him.
MEYER: So he was standing inside the plant in a window and was shot through the windows.
TAYLOR: Yeah, some cop shot him, but they was throwing these hinges. Those are pretty heavy stuff.
MEYER: Do you remember anyone else who was shot or heard of anyone who was shot at that time, during the Running Bulls battle?
TAYLOR: I know there's an awful lot of guys got beat up or hurt, clubbed, because the management equipped these guys with hardhats and clubs, you know. These guys that didn't want a union shop, they seemed to be satisfied with the paltry money they was paying 'em. They equipped them guys----they called 'em a "Flying Squad."
MEYER: That's interesting, 'cause the union used that name, too, for some of their people, as the "Flying Squadron." Did they?
TAYLOR: They had, what was it? Black Squadron, or...
MEYER: Well, there was a group called the Black Legion. You're not thinking of that, are you?
TAYLOR: Well, I know the "Flying Squad" was equipped by management. They had the hardhats, you know, like these...
MEYER: How did they think they were going to use those people? Or how did they use those people, the Flying Squadron with the clubs and hardhats? How was management going to use them?
TAYLOR: I don't know. I think they thought they could get enough of them to overcome the...you know, there was a lot of guys afraid to join the union, because they had families and they's afraid that they couldn't get a job, because things wasn't too hot then, you know. And they just was afraid. But I didn't give a doggone, because I could make more money if I didn't, just eating, you know.
MEYER: Now before the strike started in the Fisher plants at the end of December, did you have any inkling that the stroke was gonna happen? Did you know that there would be a strike?
TAYLOR: I heard talk of it, yeah, because they was getting everything all ready. My brother used to tell me about it.
MEYER: Do you remember the incident that triggered the Fisher 2 sit-down? That was the first one that apparently sat down in the morning of the 29th. Do you remember what triggered that on that particular day, that particular moment?
TAYLOR: I don't know. I really don't know what it was that...I know Roy told me. Roy is dead now; he died in '44. He was a young man, too. He had two little girls. I practically raised them. My sister-in-law got married, again.
MEYER: So he told you something about the outbreak of Fisher 2?
TAYLOR: Oh, he said they were gonna strike. He told me. He told us up there. He lived up there. You know where Cedar Street come off from Court Street there and it run clear across up to Fenton Road? It's just this side of the bridge, or that side, west side of the bridge that goes over there over the flats there, you know. And I was there sitting, drinking coffee, and his wife made us some sandwiches and stuff, and he told me he was down there. He told me "Tomorrow." So it was the day before it happened he told me.
MEYER: So the day before he knew that Fisher 2 was going down. Had you yourself attended meetings or sessions to plan the event?
MEYER: Where'd they hold these meetings?
TAYLOR: Well, we held one of 'em at the I.M.A. Auditorium.
MEYER: Before the strike?
MEYER: This was a union meeting at the I.M.A.?
TAYLOR: Yeah. It wasn't supposed to be. What I mean is it wasn't supposed to be too many people know it. It was kind of Q.T. thing, and it was more or less a "get ready".
MEYER: Was that a large meeting or just a small group?
TAYLOR: Oh, it was around about two, three hundred guys, I guess. And Walt and Vic was there, and I don't know that Roy was there or not. I didn't get to see him. There was another brother, too, but I never did know him. See, Roy and Vic was born in Germany, you know, but they never was Communist, because as well as I got no wall, he'd have told me if he was. He didn't have any subversive qualities at all. He just wanted...Did you ever get up and see this thing that Reuther built up here for union...
MEYER: Black Lake?
MEYER: I haven't actually seen it, no.
TAYLOR: It's a wonderful place. And I was hurt there, when I heard that he got killed, him and his family.
MEYER: I think you mentioned earlier you were talking about some of the tactics that workers you disagreed with. Do you remember in Chevy 4 whether there was any significant damage to the plant or the machinery during the Sit-Down?
TAYLOR: Oh, there was always something. There was always something screwed up. You know. Nobody seemed to know anything about it, but they'd never catch anybody, but there was always something screwed up. And I imagine it was the union, somebody for the union that was doing it.
MEYER: Another active person at Chevy 4 was a fellow by the name of Foster, I believe. Does that ring a bell? I forget his first name right at the moment.
TAYLOR: Jeez, it hits me. That name rings a bell. But, you know, my memory is kind of slipped on me. I never used to forget anything. I used to be able to tell jokes for a week, you know, and never tell the same one twice. But I can't do that any more. If somebody tells me one, I got to tell it right away or I'll forget it. And after I tell it, I do forget it. But all I can say is these young guys got us old guys to thank for the living they're making today and the things that they've got, all this insurance and all that. I wouldn't say that they just about run as far as they can go, because what else is there to get? They got eyeglasses, dental care, everything. As I say, unemployment stopped now, if your unemployment runs out, you can go down and get it renewed. When I was out of work, when I got laid off, everybody says, "That's too bad you haven't got a job." Or if I got sick, "It's just too bad, I wish I could help you." You had nothing.
MEYER: We were talking a little bit about some of the benefits of the strike, too. You remember you were very concerned about safety before the strike. Do you remember anything, was there an improvement in that area?
TAYLOR: That was the main... Oh, yes. The shop is as safe a place to work as there is in the country. Now you take du Pont. Du Pont used to be a subsidiary of the General Motor Company. You know du Pont paint?
MEYER: Well, they kind of owned General Motors.
TAYLOR: Well, they did. That's why they broke 'em up. A monopoly. But that's the safest place that there is, safer than setting here. They've got more safety. That haven't got anything that makes any sparks or will cause any sparks, because all that stuff is inflammable that they use in there, for making paints and stuff like that. And it could be dangerous.
MEYER: Do you feel that the relationship between the workers on the line and the supervisors, did that improve after the strike?
TAYLOR: Well, there's always somebody that isn't satisfied. Now these young guys today, if they feel like taking a day off, they take a day off. And I figure that if they take too many days off, they should get reprimanded for that, either fired or warned or something. They give them demerits now, and so many demerits, then you get fired. Well, it takes about a year, and then the union can get 'em back. Well, that colored guy that shot the guy over here at the frame plant, the security guard, they tried to get him back in there. They put him in jail. He ain't got no business shooting anybody. You found something in his dinner pail. I don't know. All I know is it did a hell of a lot of good, and the people that's working there today has got it made. They got ... They got it better than my wife had. My wife can go down and work her head off, and she can't make that kind of money.
MEYER: This has been very helpful. Any other recollections you might want to add, or things you can think of?
TAYLOR: Well, all I know that I always got along with the guys that worked for me. They'd do anything I want 'em to, because I told 'em in a good way, and I know I went down to Detroit. I've got these union books from Grey Marine Motors and Continental Motors and everything else. I was superintendent of Plant 2, ... of Steel Process. I never got in the service. I got over to England, but I got over there for General Motors, you know, on over there to perfect those injectors on that 621 diesel. They were breaking off and running through, hitting the piston and knocking the head of the piston out. And so I had to take a heat-treat outfit over there, see. I had my diesel engineer papers. And I'm the guy responsible for perfecting those injectors. And, you know, each boat had two engines on it, each landing craft had two engines on, but if both of 'em were out, there you set. And they were doing it much too often. So I took my heat-treat outfit, which was only about this big, but nothing. You can get it up to 3000 degrees if you want to. And I was over there for about seven months. I had a couple aunts over there. I guess they're both dead now. I got a cousin, or had one. She might be dead now. She was in New Zealand. My granddad was born in England. He came over here when he was fourteen, the one that was down there, head of the watchmen, down there, at Chevrolet. Al Suff. Everybody knows him.
MEYER: Do you have other brothers and sisters, other than Roy?
MEYER: Just the two of you?
TAYLOR: Just the two of us.
MEYER: When you got involved in union activities, you mentioned was it your father or grandfather?
TAYLOR: My grandfather. He was against it.
MEYER: What about the rest of your family? Were they supportive?
TAYLOR: My mother thought that I did was all right, except get drunk. She hate to have me drink. And she wanted me to bring her all the money home, you know. But my mother just died here a few years ago. She married again, but she waited until us kids both got grown up until she got married. We didn't have a stepfather over us.
MEYER: You were single at the time, at the time of the strike?
TAYLOR: No, I was married.
MEYER: Oh, you were married at the time of the strike. Did you have any children?
TAYLOR: No. I never had any children until I married Hallie. We got a boy and a girl.
MEYER: Did you own a house, or car at that time, or did you rent?
TAYLOR: Oh, I had two or three cars, a motorcycle. Well, she had one of the cars. This is the third time I've been married. I wish I never got married before, because Hallie and I has got along just wonderful. We got married this month the 26th, or 13th. We've been married 26 years. Never had a problem.
MEYER: Did you own a house at the time of the strike, or were you renting?
TAYLOR: I built a house down here on Dort Highway, right down here about a mile and a half. And I got rid of it. My first wife and I were having trouble, and after I worked for Chevrolet, I went up to Port Huron. I worked up there several jobs. I bought a ton-and-a-half truck, bought junk, old farm machinery and stuff like that. That was during the war, '41, '42. I was over in England in '39. And that's when Hitler first started sending those buzz bombs over there, and I was glad to get out of there. Some British officers squealed on me. I was setting in the bars all the time, and I already had these injectors fixed. And I was just playing cool, you know. But when they started knocking buildings down and everything else, as long as you could hear that engine running, why, it was fine. But when it cut off, boy, you'd just listen for the boom, and just hope it wouldn't...