Oral Histories

Interview of William C. Oxley

President of the United Automobile Workers, Local 506 and president of the San Diego Industrial Union Council.
Subtitle:
Building the United Automobile Workers at Ryan Aeronautical Company
Topic:
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Interviewer:
Connors, Thomas J.
Interviewee:
Oxley, William C.
Persons Present:
Oxley and Connors.
Place Conducted:
UAW Local 506 union hall in San Diego, 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 Thomas J. Connors, UCLA Oral History Program. BA., anthropology, Brown University; M.A., American civilization, Brown University. Connors prepared for the interview by consulting UAW Solidarity, the organ of the UAW, and selected issues of the Challenger, the organ of Local 506. He also examined various contracts between Local 506 and Ryan Aeronautical Company.
Processing of Interview:
George Hodak, editorial assistant, edited the interview. He checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed. Oxley reviewed the transcript. He verified proper names and made a number of corrections and additions. Teresa Barnett, editor, prepared the table of contents and biographical summary and compiled the index.
Length:
4.5 hrs.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Abstract:
Parents and childhood; comes to California and begins working at Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation; first job at Ryan Aeronautical Company; composition of work force at Consolidated; joins the United Automobile Workers (UAW); becomes a shop steward; the no-strike period during World War II; Ryan as a bailing-wire factory; Henry A. Wallace's 1948 presidential campaign; the Taft-Hartley Act; International Association of Machinists' 1947 raid against UAW Local 506; Oxley elected to bargaining committee; support of candidates in the 1952 presidential campaign; negotiating for insurance benefits; job classifications; attempts to recruit union people into management; strikes in Southern California in the 1950s; Oxley elected day-shift vice president; Dewey Cress; pros and cons of a union shop; Oxley's involvement with the San Diego Industrial Union Council; merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO); the UAW builds its own hall in San Diego; grievance over time off for Christmas and New Year's; John F. Kennedy; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Oxley as president of Local 506; defeated for a third term; necessity for a union to be oppositional rather than accept a "middle ground"; experimental work at Ryan; Oxley's fight for parking; affirmative action; UAW support of César Chávez and the United Farm Workers Union; the UAW Community Action Program; Governors Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr., and Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr.; advantages of jour-neyman's cards; the UAW leaves the AFL-CIO; presidential support of labor; Leonard F. Woodcock; Douglas A. Fraser; the Federation of Retired Union Members; unwarranted layoffs; the declining level of education among union members.