Oral Histories

Interview of William B. Elconin

Social worker and union organizer for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE).
The UE in Southern California
Interviews not in a series, part one
Social Movements
Labor Movement
Biographical Note:
Social worker and union organizer for the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE).
Donahoe, Myrna C.
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.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
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.