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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jim Pierce, July 16, 1974. Interview E-0012-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Transferring from the CIO to the IUE

Pierce talks about his decision to leave the CIO in 1954. He had worked for the CIO for five years at that point, but with the merger of the AFL-CIO on the horizon, he decided it was time to move on. Pierce had become increasingly involved in issues of civil rights and he wanted to continue working with more radical organizations. As a result, he transferred over to work for the International Union of Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (IUE) at that point.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jim Pierce, July 16, 1974. Interview E-0012-3. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

You left in '54 right?
JIM PIERCE:
Yeah.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Five years you were with the CIO Organizing Department?
JIM PIERCE:
Right. In 1954 the merger talks between AFL-CIO were under way. I had five years of fighting the AF of L, I had five years of thinking about where I wanted to go. I didn't want to stay with a merged AFL-CIO. I had become very active in the Civil Rights struggle. I just couldn't see going off to merge the organization because I knew the AF of L representatives or at least the AF of L representatives that I knew did not share my ideas and dreams. I didn't want to be associated with them so, Jim Carey was Secretary-Treasurer of CIO and of the CIO Organizing Committee, I had met him a time or two. He, or somebody in his office called and asked me to transfer over from the CIO to the IUE. We had organized two or three plants for IUE at that time. It was a brand new union created out of the … as a result of the expulsion of UE from CIO, and it didn't have any representatives in the state. We had successfully organized two or three plants for IUE, and they needed a service representative and somebody to continue their organizing efforts. They were on their feet by this time financially, and they could afford to hire a couple of representatives, so they hired me and Red Purcell. We transferred over from the CIO to the IUE.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Are they now a member of the merged AFL-CIO?
JIM PIERCE:
They were a member of the merged AFL-CIO.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But you were uncomfortable working for them.
JIM PIERCE:
No, because, you know, it was an international union. It made its own policies; just being a member of the AFL-CIO doesn't …