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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, December 12, 1974. Interview G-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Women key to labor movement

Women were on the frontlines and were key to the success of the labor movement.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, December 12, 1974. Interview G-0039. 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

LEWIS LIPSITZ What about women in those early struggles, what role did they play?
EULA MCGILL:
Oh, I think that a lot of people know the history of the AmalgamatedWorkers and those were the first on the picket line. The first strikers were women. LEWIS LIPSITZ Why is that?
EULA MCGILL:
Well, it just so happened that the few people that were in unions in those days were the cutters and the sleeve hangers and the more skilled trades. They wouldn't take in the lesser skills and most of the women were on sewing and things that were less skilled and they weren't accepted in the union, they weren't even offered union membership and they got a little fed up with the way things were going and decided to take a walk and the men joined them. That's how the Amalgamated was formed and I found that like a lot of people say, "You can't get women to stick together," well, that isn't true. You sell a woman and you've got a fighter on your hands. I don't see any difference between a woman and a man when it comes to a cause or when they make up their mind that they believe in something. I don't think that there is any difference in it. I've worked for the most part, well, all of my work has been in industries where the majority of workers were women. The women had to run the unions for the most part. We never looked up to the men. Some women do, they would rather have a man as the president because he is a man, but for the most part, it doesn't happen in our union. It never has.