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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Dealing with New York Teamsters

In this selection Harris describes the deal he struck with the Teamsters so that, as the leader of a non-union company, he could do business in New York. It seems like he put a union man on the payroll who took charge of freight as it entered the city, eventually winning his trust.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with L. Worth Harris, June 11, 1980. Interview H-0164. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
When you all came into New York, did you have to have union drivers to get into New York?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Yes, I went to New York and talked to a union man and worked out a deal with him. Then, of course, it wasn't nearly as strict as it is now. But he was union, and . . .
ALLEN TULLOS:
It was the Teamsters then?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
It was the Teamsters. And I worked out an agreement with him. I told him that he'd have to do everything there: unload the truck, load the truck. My drivers would help him, but he'd be in charge of it. So he did a lot of things at that time that you couldn't do later on, but he was the whole works up there. He answered the telephone and did everything.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And he was on your payroll.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
He was on our payroll on a straight salary.
ALLEN TULLOS:
But if you hadn't done that, then you wouldn't have been allowed in.
L. WORTH HARRIS:
We definitely would not. We couldn't let our drivers go in and out of New York; it's just be nothing but trouble, because a lot of the customers we had wanted to see if the boys had union cards. New our over-the-road boys were definitely non-union and were not for many, many years. But this man up there let them come on in and deliver and pick up, but he went with them. They could go out and help him, but we did not try to do anything without letting him know it, letting him in on it. But later on he saw we was treating him all right, and he was treating us well, so he let them on the way back go pick up whatever they wanted to without him going, but he was the boss.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was his name?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
Leonard Lemarn. Leonard was the first man I hired, and he was the whole chief at that time. He was still with my company and retired just a short while before I sold it, and as good a friend as I ever had as well as a loyal employee.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Were you the only company then running from Charlotte to New York?
L. WORTH HARRIS:
No, there was lots of them did. The companies that were running to New York and doing a great job also were two of the biggest companies in the South. There was Horton Motor Lines; Buddy Horton was a very personal friend of mine, and he gave me a lot of information and talked to me a lot about opening up New York before I opened up. Bob Barnwell was president of Barnwell Brothers Trucking Company, and they were operating into New York. Not big, but it had been going for quite a while, so I had half a dozen conferences with Bob Barnwell. So I knew a lot about it through those fellows, and it so happened that we got to be real good friends and were after we were competitors. So there's where I really made up my mind for going as heavy as I did - of course, that was very small, but getting into it- was those two companies.