Oral Histories

Interview of Herbert Knott Sorrell

Union organizer. Head of the Conference of Studio Unions (CSU) and business manager of the Motion Picture Painters union, Local 644.
Subtitle:
You Don't Choose Your Friends: The Memoirs of Herbert Knott Sorrell
Topic:
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Interviewer:
Dixon, Elizabeth I.
Interviewee:
Sorrell, Herbert Knott
Place Conducted:
Florence Contini's home in Los Angeles, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Elizabeth I. Dixon, Librarian of the Office of Oral History, UCLA.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Abstract:
Early life in Missouri and Alabama; father's union activities; move to Oakland, California, 1907; work at age twelve in sewer pipe factory; boxing for a living; learning painting trade; work as painter at Universal, 1923-26; fired from Universal for belonging to painters union; early organizing efforts in studios; activities in Hollywood studio strikes, 1937 and 1945; role of violence in 1937 strike; conflict with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); organized crime influence in IATSE; formation of Conference of Studio Unions (CSU); keeping local union free from dominance by International Painters and Decorators Union; Tom Mooney; differences with American Federation of Labor during 1945 strike; conflict with International Brotherhood of Teamsters; relationship of communists to union; opinion of Harry Bridges; lockout of CSU members, 1946; actions of Motion Picture Producers Association; Father George H. Dunne's investigation of corruption in IATSE; Kearns Committee hearings; accusations of communism; Jack B. Tenney and Tenney committee; changing status of unions by 1960s.