Oral Histories

Interview of William B. Elconin

Social worker and union organizer for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE).
Subtitle:
The UE in Southern California
Topic:
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Interviewer:
Donahoe, Myrna C.
Interviewee:
Elconin, William B.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Language:
English
Copyright:
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Abstract:
Childhood in Los Angeles; attends California Institute of Technology (Caltech); works for Peerless Electrical Products Company; opens the way for a noncompany union at Peerless; becomes a social worker; joins the State, County, and Municipal Workers of America (SCMWA); Los Angeles Council of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO); subpoenaed by the California State Legislature Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities; Philip M. "Slim" Connelly; organizing Western Insulated Wire; CIO organizing in Los Angeles; Harry Bridges; begins working for United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE); organizing major electrical companies; James B. Carey; Carl Brant; duties and various positions in the union; competition with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); union support of the war effort during World War II; Elconin is relieved of his commission in the Signal Corps; the CIO becomes increasingly autocratic after World War II; raids on the UE by other unions; red-baiting tactics used against the UE; the disintegration of the CIO; the effects of the Taft-Hartley Act; the decline of the labor movement in the United States; Elconin's appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities; effect of Elconin's frequent absences and low pay on his family; retires from union activities; women and the UE; the present state of the labor movement; works for Able Sheet Metal Products Company; founds Award Metals Company; acquires W. H. Fabry Manufacturing Company; partnership with Harold Safrin; buys the Ames-Frey Company; acquires the H. L. Crose Company; involvement with Americans for Democratic Action's Forum West; teaches at Caltech's Industrial Relations Center; Elconin's philosophy of management; Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research; independent consulting on motivation of managerial personnel.