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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 >>

Serving as a regional director for the IUE and IUD in the Southeast

Pierce describes his dual role, working for IUE and IUD (Industrial Union Department) from 1963 to 1968. During these years, Pierce served as a regional director for these organizations' efforts to organize textile workers in the Southeast. This was part of a larger project of coordinating a national industrial union.

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

WILLIAM FINGER:
So after two years as Regional Director here with about 14 staff people, you moved on to IUD?
JIM PIERCE:
I didn't move on. I stayed on IUE's payroll and … as a member of the IUE staff right up until 1968, but I was on loan to the IUD. What happened they decided to set up the IUD Coordinated Organizing Campaign, now remember Reuther is President, they've merged, Reuther is President of the Industrial Union Department, and Jim Carey is Secretary Treasurer of the Industrial Union Department, and they decided they wanted to do some coordinated organizing among the industrial union …
WILLIAM FINGER:
Jim Carey is Secretary-Treasurer of the Industrial Union and the National President of IUE.
JIM PIERCE:
That's right, and … so they decided they wanted to do this organizing effort. They picked five locations, they picked the Boston area, the Philadelphia area, the Texas area, Detroit area, and the Southeast, and they were going to do really concentrated organizing of all the industrial unions working together. There was a special industry campaign to organize, a major thrust, to organize the textile industry. So you had five regional projects that they decided on plus one industry. Well, there for a while they were dickering with the possibility of a second industry which was wood, but that was also in the southeast.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was the one industry?
JIM PIERCE:
Textiles. Textiles, some attention given to wood, and all of the textile thing fell in the southeast Textiles was here of course and then the wood thing was in this area also, furniture. The first idea was to put a coordinator in each of the areas, a special coordinator for textiles, and a special coordinator for furniture, wooden furniture. They had a number of meetings and Bill Pollack and John Chupka of Textile wanted me to take over the textile drive, the industry drive. Nick Zonarich was the Director of organizing and was put in charge of this. IUE wanted me to stay closely allied with them and was willing to release me and even continue to pay my salary if I would take on the southeastern drive. So I compromised. They decided that I would be the coordinator of both textile and wood, the regional coordinator for the industry drive. So I became the coordinator not only of the southeastern region for IUE but director of a special textile drive and a special wooden furniture drive which never really did get off the ground to well. But the textile did. So IUE loaned me to the the Industrial Union Department to be the coordinator for IUD from '63 to '68.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Because they wanted you to head the southeastern regional?
JIM PIERCE:
That's right.