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Title: Oral History Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975. Interview E-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Rogin, Lawrence, interviewee
Interview conducted by Finger, William
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 236 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
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Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-02-22, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975. Interview E-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series E. Labor. Southern Oral History Program Collection (E-0013)
Author: William Finger
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975. Interview E-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series E. Labor. Southern Oral History Program Collection (E-0013)
Author: Lawrence Rogin
Description: 268 Mb
Description: 66 p.
Note: Interview conducted on November 2, 1975, by William Finger; recorded in Washington, D.C.
Note: Transcribed by Patricia Crowley.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series E. Labor, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Lawrence Rogin, November 2, 1975.
Interview E-0013. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Rogin, Lawrence, interviewee


Interview Participants

    LAWRENCE ROGIN, interviewee
    WILLIAM FINGER, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
WILLIAM FINGER:
Larry, I'd like to get a little early background to put your career in perspective.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
On me?
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes, just on you. Where did you come from?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I came from the East. And in a sense I suppose I'm a New Yorker—that is, I come from an immigrant Jewish family which lived in New York. But in my youth I didn't live in New York. I lived in New York part-time, in upstate New York near the Canadian border, for about eight years; and then after a few years in New York, out on a farm which my grandfather had in New Jersey near New Brunswick. So I'm a New Yorker with a different perspective, small town perspective, farm perspective. Went to college in New York and graduate school. And later on, after the textile workers (which was the longest period, I guess, at one job), headquarters were in New York. So I'm kind of a New Yorker, but not really.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Where did your father come from?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He came from Russia; came from Mogelev, I guess. That's in White Russia; it's on the invasion routes that everybody's used that went into Russia.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Your mother was…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
My mother was from there; they were cousins. My father came to this country. He was the oldest son, and he wanted to avoid the Czar's army, because it wasn't a thing for a Jew to be in the Czar's army. He came over. My mother…

Page 2
WILLIAM FINGER:
When was that, when he came over?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, let's see: must be around 1890, I guess, very early—he was an early immigrant, as most of it was about ten years later or thereabouts. My mother came a little later (not much); they weren't married in Russia. Her whole family came; they were mostly sisters, and two brothers. And I guess that's where my interest in social problems comes from (radicalism, or whatever you want to call it), because my mother, my mother's sister was an anarchist and ran a vegetarian restaurant in New York.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Really? This is at the turn of the century?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, this would be around the First World War, right after the First World War. I remember it; I was born in 1909. I remember that, going down with my cousin (her son) who is a historian. Val Lorwin his name was.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What did you say? She was…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
She had one son who was a historian, yes. But I remember that because, even though I was fairly young at the time of the First World War, we came down to New York City from Malone, which was a town in upstate New York, just about that time. And in the coming over here the sisters both decided to be Rose —they were something different in Russian, I'm not quite sure what it would be. And so whatever was the security agency during the First World War was busy watching a Rose Rogin. My aunt had gone off to Cuba, and my mother and father (as I said) were cousins, so she had the same maiden name as his. And so they used to come and check up on us regularly.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The security, like the FBI?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
FBI, I don't remember what it was. I guess it was before the FBI.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Because you were Russians, or because of activity?

Page 3
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, because of my aunt's anarchism; she was a known anarchist, a friend of Emma Goldman's, Johan Most and all. So that's why they were… And it wasn't 'til she got back into the country that my mother informed the security people that they had the wrong Rose Rogin. My grandfather, my mother's father, … well, I guess all of the family was more or less radical. My mother's father was rather radical. So this was kind of in the tradition of the family. And the farm which I was raised on, my mother ran a boarding house there for a while; my mother and father were separated. So anyway, this was the fund-raising location for all the Communist causes in the area.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Up there on the farm?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Up there on the farm, in the apple orchard. We freed the Scottsboro boys, and raised money for the I.L.D., and the Workers' International Relief and the I.W.O. and the Communist party, I guess, all through the summer, those summers I was there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
This was your father's…?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
My mother's father.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So he stayed very active with the Communist party?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I don't ever think he was a member, but he was generally sympathetic towards the combination of Russian-American politics, for working groups is always very mixed up. He was anti-czar, which was common, but still a Russian nationalist. So when somebody in Russia put the czar out of business he was generally sympathetic. And this was true of a number of members of the family. Her mother never went that far. She had a lot of anarchist friends—as I said, my aunt was an anarchist—and so when they were killed by the Communists, or expelled or whatever, we reacted against

Page 4
that and began to take a kind of, what you might call, pro-democratic kind of thing (that's small "d" democratic). But there was always a lot of talk in the house.
So when I went off to college (I went to New York to college, went to Columbia in 1926) I started to work with the Communists. I never became a member, but I did a lot of work with them. In January '26 I started working with the CP in Harlem. And I got tired of reading lies about meetings I'd been to in the Daily Worker. And I figured you couldn't build anything worthwhile on lies, and so I quit——not because I didn't believe in the revolution or whatever. Then somewhat later I decided to join the Socialist party—this was in the fall of '28. By '28 I was in a small Socialist club at Columbia and I ran a "Thomas for President" campaign there. And I began to think: you know, if you looked around the world you saw that there were no successful radical parties (Communist or Socialist) that didn't have a labor movement attached to them. So I began to think that was a real problem in this country, was the character of the labor movement, and I became involved in the Conference for Progressive Labor Action.
WILLIAM FINGER:
In the what?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Conference for Progressive Labor Action. You don't know that? Well, that was a kind of a … it's very hard to say. It was not political, in the sense that it was not Communist or Socialist (although there were Socialists and Trotskyites and others in it). But it was a kind of a group that felt that the labor movement needed reforming: you needed industrial unions, and you needed political action, you needed activism, so on and so forth.
The leader of it was A.J. Muste, who was at Brookwood. If you look at Jim Morris's book on that period in the American labor movement you get a picture that Brookwood is kind of given the credit for this reform, this

Page 5
impetus for reform in the labor movement. And some of it was Brookwood; but it attracted a lot of people not at Brookwood, and that was through the Conference for Progressive Labor Action. Louis Budenz was one whose name comes back as one of the leaders, and probably the guardian1 of the labor movement. Muste had been in the labor movement in the twenties, but he was an educator and minister. This was—I'm trying to think; I've forgotten now whether this was before he became a Communist or after.2 I guess it was before; I think before. He wasn't a Communist very long. At any event, that's neither here nor there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Before we go on let me ask you… I'm still interested in the apple orchard in upper New York.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, in New Jersey: New Brunswick, New Jersey.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Your father was a farmer?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, my father was a druggist; my grandfather was a farmer.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So your father moved from…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, my father and mother were separated at that time, and I lived with my mother.
WILLIAM FINGER:
First in upstate New York?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, then we were together, and then that's when my mother left. But she came back to New York for a while. And he came back to New York and had a drug store in New York, which he kept until he died.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How many brothers and sisters did you have?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Two older sisters.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did they go into the activist movement?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. My oldest sister (she's ten years older than I am), she joined the Socialist party, I guess right after the First World War. We

Page 6
came to New York around 1918. My mother was active in fringe groups that Socialists and Communists were supporting (in New York they were quite active at that period), and I guess she then joined. And then3 joined again in the period '28-'29, I guess really after the Depression more. We were quite active, and she was. My other sister was never a party member. She's a professional, kind of, but she's, you know, in general you would say on the liberal side—pro-labor, and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The family influence stayed with all of you.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
All of us, yes. I guess there was one Socialist vote in 1916 in Malone, and I guess my father was responsible for it—although he was not an activist. I was too young; I don't remember him discussing politics at all. The family separated in 1917, and I was eight years old.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you went from Columbia to Brookwood?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I went from Columbia, yes. I wanted to be a college teacher—a proper Jewish family. My father wanted me to be a doctor, and I negotiated with him away from doctor to lawyer, and then negotiated with him to graduate school. There wasn't much; you couldn't get any jobs going to graduate school in those days. I graduated from college in '29, and so if you… Although I would think that tuition was so low that it was just as easy as it is now, with the grants they have. In any event, I wanted to be a college teacher. And in those days you did your graduate work and passed your exams, and then you got a job and wrote your dissertation—sometimes you got done ten years later. My son went through graduate school in a hurry and got his degree in four years, and so on and so forth, but in any event it didn't happen in those days. When it came to getting a job, I'd been very active on campus, as I indicated: I was there in '28, I was there again in '32, and there

Page 7
was much more activity in '32, naturally for Thomas. And I think I ran the campaign then.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You ran it for New York City?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, for Columbia, just on campus. There was I'd been active in various pacifist activities. So it got to getting a job after you finish your graduate work. I passed my exams, and what I've since referred to as the "business agent for the graduate students," the guy who got jobs, called me in and he said, "Now, I've got a job for you, but you'll have to promise not to be active in the community as much as you have been. We're not worried about what you'll teach and so on; if we were worried about what you would teach we wouldn't recommend you." It was at William and Mary, and I guess he was probably right. In any event, I was young, and anyway if you got a job it didn't pay very much; and so I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't agree to promise that I'd behave. And about the same time there was a split up at Brookwood. The Conference for Progressive Labor Action, with Muste as the head of it, had decided to have it be political, not just a reform group in the labor movement. And Brookwood started to be a general training center for workers, for general things. It's not for the labor movement, because the A.F. of L. frowned on it and boycotted it; but there were other unions that sent people there, and radical groups sent people there, and so on. Instead of being a general training center, it got to be a training center for the American Workers' Party, which the C.P.L.A. and the Trotskyites got together and formed. And so that meant that there was a sharp division at Brookwood. Most of the students and office help went with Muste, but the board (the makeup of the board was such that the union representatives controlled) didn't go with Muste, and most of the faculty

Page 8
didn't go with Muste. So there was a split up there. And my first wife, who was a substitute teacher in New York, (a friend) suggested that she go to Brookwood on a volunteer basis to do some office work, to get them over the crisis. That's how we got to Brookwood.
WILLIAM FINGER:
They suggested to her?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, there was a friend who had been working there —and, as a matter of fact, is somebody that had been at Brookwood and was at Brookwood when Tom Tippett was there, and was down South on some of the Brookwood things. You've probably got that from some other sources.
WILLIAM FINGER:
'29; that was '29.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'29, '28.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was he still there when you… ?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
She. No, she wasn't at Brookwood. Kathryn Pollock, her name was.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, I didn't know. I didn't know that was a pseudonym.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, it wasn't a pseudonym.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Tom…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I say was with Tom Tippett. Tippett was there, and then others. You see, Brookwood did all kinds of things in the South in the late twenties and early thirties. Tippett was the extension director and traveled; he was a coal miner from southern Illinois. The Marion strike was… There were other groups involved in the Emergency Pay for Strikers Relief, and so on, but Brookwood was the…
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was the … I missed the woman's name, Kathryn… ?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Pollock, her name was: now Kathryn Ellikson.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Were you involved in any of those earlier

Page 9
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. When I came up to Brookwood that was all past. I came up in '33, and really it was my wife who was working there. And I was hanging on; I was supposed to be working on a doctor's dissertation, and I was going to go ahead with it. But I also did some volunteer work in the extension division. Mark Starr, who was later education director of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, was the extension director. Went out with him on some things.
And in November—well, it was earlier, I guess in the late summer—the Central Labor Union in Reading, Pennsylvania was looking for an education director. They had something there they called the Reading Labor College, which was sponsored by the Central Labor Union. And what it was was some classes which had very little labor meaning, and were taught by a teacher at the junior high school. This was a carry-over from education that was begun in around '20, '21, when there were a lot of so-called labor colleges that were sponsored by central labor unions all over the country. That one managed to last. And Jim Maurer, who was a former (M-a-u-r-e-r) president of the State Federation of Labor and a great believer in labor education, and a member of the board of Brookwood (I guess, was he chairman? could have been) … at any event, he was very influential in the Central Labor Union. They wanted an education director.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was your dissertation? What was your field?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
What was I going to do? I was working on (never finished) "Labor and Politics in Pennsylvania From 1918 (that's the end of the World War) Up Through To the New Deal."
WILLIAM FINGER:
To the present?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, it was the present; yes, it was '33, sure. But the New Deal would have made a cut-off point. And you had quite interesting things

Page 10
there: the Socialist movement was very strong among the miners, and there were some Republicans; and William B. Wilson and attempts to form a labor party in Philadelphia, and the Socialist party in Reading, and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you were in political science?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Political science, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you went to Reading; took the job there?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Took the job there; worked there for a couple of years. And while I was working there I got a job on the newspaper, because money was running short at the Central Labor Union, so I had to work on the newspaper. Got to the constitution-writing convention of the Newspaper Guild, I believe when we wrote the constitution. And then Brookwood again: I went on the faculty of Brookwood more formally in '35, and was on the faculty for two years. And I was the last faculty guy to leave Brookwood when it closed up.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Is that right?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What went on at Brookwood those last two years?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
We had some great training; particularly the '35-'36 year we had a tremendous group of students. A high percentage of them ended up in the labor movement: a lot of them professionals, others staff positions. A lot of students.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Students from all over?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, heavily auto industry. '33 Roy Reuther was there, and Merlin Bishop. Merlin Bishop was the first education director of the U.A.W.; came back from Brookwood and he was education director. Both of them had been active in trying to build a union with the A.F.L. there. And then just because, I guess, Roy was there (my memory for dates doesn't work out), Walter

Page 11
and Victor on their way back from Russia stopped off there, and I met them there at that time.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It was kind of a gathering-place.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Gathering-place, but also we had some quite remarkable faculty: David Saposs was there in '33-'34—well, he was there the first year I was there, and left in '36; Joel Seidman was there; and Lazar Teper, who later became research director of the I.L.G., was there. And in general during that period (see, this was the period of the formation of C.I.O.) you'd get up for speeches, and arguments among the student body, and all kinds of things … you were kind of up on what was going on in the labor movement.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you ever have any contact with your kind of southern counterpoints, Highlander or Senator?4
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, Highlander and, to a more limited extent, Commonwealth. But I had more contact with Highlander when I went South for the … see, I really went South first for the Hosiery Workers' Union.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What about the Southern Summer School for Women Workers?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
With them too when I was with Hosiery Workers'. We would have a conference there. We used to use Highlander for conferences, and we used to use the Southern Summer School for Women Workers for conferences when we'd be for the Hosiery Workers during that period.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But at Brookwood there were no formal kind of faculty exchanges.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
There were not faculty exchanges. It was some efforts to do some joint fund-raising and things like that, but I don't recall that. That's not so vividly in my mind as the other things, the contacts I had with them later
WILLIAM FINGER:
So how did the Brookwood years kind of push you?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, while I was in Reading the big union in Reading was

Page 12
the Hosiery Workers'. And the Hosiery Workers were more or less supporters of Brookwood; as a matter of fact, there was a hosiery organizer (in the sense that he made a lot of contacts with Brookwood in the South). He was involved in the Henderson strike in '27 and the Marion strike: that's "Tiny" Hoffman. Are you familiar with him?
WILLIAM FINGER:
"Tiny" Hoffman?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Alfred Hoffman.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Alfred Hoffman, yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Are you familiar with him?
WILLIAM FINGER:
I know that name, yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Because he really was the sparkplug for that early organizing that was non-communist.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He was at Elizabethton too then, huh?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He was at Elizabethton too, right. I'm not sure, I don't think he was at Danville. But he was at Elizabethton.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He and Tippett were kind of down there together from Brookwood?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, he wasn't from Brookwood. He was a Brookwood graduate, but he was an organizer for the Hosiery Workers'.
The Hosiery Workers' were the first union to make a serious effort to organize the South. They were a very, very interesting union. When I went to work for them in '37 the average wages of knitters was probably around, oh, ?7,000. a year—unionized knitters, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Is that right?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, that's right. And, of course, the industry was moving South. And a knitter in the South was clearing probably about ?2,500. a year, which wasn't very good.

Page 13
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, you mean a knitter up North was making…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, unionized, in Reading, Pennsylvania; Northampton, Massachusetts; Fall Plain or wherever it was; Milwaukee. They were a union which really cared about trying to organize the industry. When I went to work for them they were paying five percent of their earnings in dues each week, which was a lot; it was two percent was the normal dues, and three percent was an organizing fund.
WILLIAM FINGER:
And that mostly went South?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That mostly went South—but not all. It went to Reading first, because Reading was unorganized. Reading was organized in the New Deal; there was no organization in Reading. But there were in an industry that had a very short life, really; it only lasted from (oh, in any mass sense) from about 1919 until 1941.
WILLIAM FINGER:
1919 to 1941?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Short skirts up to the end of silk stockings; [laughter]; you see, that's what you have to figure. Short skirts came after the war, and while there was full-fashioned hosiery before, it was cotton or something else. Nobody could see it, so it didn't have to look good. And this was a very profitable industry and a very highly skilled industry. A hosiery knitter was a skilled worker. And I guess in part the knitters were German and Polish and English, originally, rather than American. So most of them came over here with unionism in their blood, and socialism too. The man who was the president of the union at the time I came there, and was probably the most significant president they had in the national union, was fired when he was fourteen. He came out of Reading, and he was Polish.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was his name?

Page 14
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
His name was Rieve, R-i-e-v-e; he was in the Textile Workers, yes. He was fired when he was fourteen helping organize the plant in Reading, and to follow him as I did… I did educational work for the union, and I'd go to all the other places in which he had come in and organized. I worked with him very closely for a long time, and I can't imagine him organizing anybody—but obviously he did.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Soft-spoken, was he?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, but he was not a person that could communicate easily with others. He was not … partly the accent, partly, I guess maybe it could have been in Polish—although he was German and Polish. He came from Poland but he was really German, in the sense that his family moved there about a couple of hundred years before. So anyway…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you know him when you worked for the hosiery workers, then?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, I knew him from Reading, because Reading was a big hosiery center; that was the big union. I also knew him from my dissertation, because he was a Socialist, and in 1932 he was head of the Thomas for President Labor Committee. There was in '33 a Continental Congress for Economic Reconstruction in Washington, which was Socialist trade union … various groups.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Congress for Economic Reconstruction?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Continental Congress for Economic Reconstruction.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Who convened that?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, the Socialists were the moving force, but there were more there, and he was the chairman of that. And I had met him originally when I, I guess in around 1932 or something, went down to a Pennsylvania Federation of Labor meeting for the dissertation I was working on. I had met him in Philadelphia (done some interviewing in Philadelphia for that), and happened to

Page 15
sit next to him at the convention. He had a resolution in for a general strike for the thirty hour week, and I talked with him and was kidding him about it. I said, "You know, as many workers as you have organized you're not going to get much of a strike." He said, "Well, I know that, but you've got to do something in the labor movement to make them pay attention to you." He was a very thoughtful man; read a tremendous amount, much more than I did. Well, he was self-educated, but unlike a lot of self-educated people he organized what he read, and was quite disciplined. I'd never match him as organizer, organizing per se. He organized in Northampton, Massachusetts. He came from Reading and he ended up in Milwaukee. And he is the man that (the thing about him that's impressed me most, I guess)… The hosiery workers in '24, '25, '26 (somewhere around there) ran a strike at the Alan A. Hosiery Company in Kenosha, which was a bitter strike—lots of violence, lots of it, very bitter strike. But they financed it by the knitters in Milwaukee paying twenty-five percent of their pay each week to support the strike. And he was the man that saw to it they did or didn't work. What I'm saying is, it was that kind of union; it was really quite an interesting union.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was he the one that kind of got you to go on in '37?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes, I wanted to. That was my job.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Brookwood was over with.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Brookwood was over——no money——and so I needed a job, and I was going to have a baby. I suppose I could have gone to Washington and try to get a government job, but I didn't want to. I still had this notion that they could get a radical party in the United States if they changed the labor movement. The C.I.O., of course, had been formed in '35; really, it was very

Page 16
interesting, on the C.I.O. I've never forgotten, we had two people come up and talk at Brookwood when the C.I.O. was formed. And it was after the rubber strike in Akron. Julius Hochman of the I.L.G., who came up all full of enthusiasm and bubbling over with the great things that the C.I.O. was going to accomplish, and Rieve, I guess, came up and talked. And he said it was a very serious thing to split the labor movement; you really had to be sure that you were going to be able to accomplish something if you did it, and so on. Of course, the I.L.G. was over soon, their flirtation with the C.I.O., and Rieve became, of course… I talked to him later about it, and he said he had felt that way, and that he wasn't sure… You see, if he was from Pennsylvania and he had his doubts about John L. Lewis… John L. Lewis had been one of the most reactionary of union leaders. At any event, if you went to work for the hosiery workers you didn't sit in the headquarters, and so I went South a good deal for the hosiery workers.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did Lewis ever come to Brookwood? John L. Lewis?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. John L. Lewis was one of those who was responsible for the A.F.L. blacklisting Brookwood, because in general, you see, you remember John L. Lewis in '27 (I think it was) that Brophy ran against him. And Brophy was counted out as president … that is, we presume he was counted out. See, if you have a labor movement which doesn't have much education in it, (that's always been the case in the American labor movement), your education tends to attract the dissidents. It attracts some others too, but it surely attracts the dissidents. It's been always one of the problems of all those labor education programs. And, in a sense, it's inevitable; the people who are involved in labor education are dissident in one way or another, if the labor movement doesn't believe really in labor education—as our labor move-

Page 17
ment did not. And so Lewis was… All the dissidents in the miners' union used to come to Brookwood.
WILLIAM FINGER:
They did?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
They did.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Hum. The ones from Illinois?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
From Illinois, the ones from the anthracite. When I went up there the first time with my wife there'd been a kind of gathering together of old Brookwood graduates who didn't have jobs—and there were a lot of them that didn't have jobs—to help get over the crisis period. And one of them was a chap who was the president of a miners' local in anthracite; Leo Sitko his name was. And he couldn't get a job in the anthracite because he was kind of blacklisted. You know, there was that kind of thing. So we tended to get the dissidents. And, of course, Tom Tippett attracted the dissidents, in a sense, too.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What kind of guy was Tippett? Did you know him?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I didn't know him so well then. I knew him, but I didn't know him so well. He was a very interesting man: soft-spoken…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Charismatic type?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. Muste was a charismatic man, really very charismatic.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Like with, you know, a sparkle in his eyes?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes, oh more than a sparkle. It was a true believer kind of thing, at that period. Now, later on… See, this was the period when he had left the church and gone to the labor movement, and, yes, it was kind of a true believer. But Tippett attracted people, but not charismatic in the sense of publicly charismatic; privately charismatic, as people he worked with all got to worship him, and things like that.

Page 18
WILLIAM FINGER:
Because he had insight, or because he worked hard?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Insight, worked hard, warm, very decent man as an individual, and all that kind of thing. I got to know him better later. See, feelings were very strong when I went up to Brookwood, and they stayed strong for the two years that I stayed. '33 I didn't stay in Brookwood, but they were quite strong then, because it had been a sharp battle and a rough thing. So he wasn't around at all in that period. I knew him a little through C.P.L.A. before. I got to know him better when he later on became education director of the International Association of Machinists. But by the time I came to Washington to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. he was out; he had retired. He was sixty-five and he was out in Seattle for a lodge of the machinists of Boeing, and was doing education work for them.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you'd see him down South? In '37?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, he went South. '38 I guess I made my first trip South.
I started work Labor Day in … '37, and we had a convention of the union in the South in Charlotte in May, I guess, of '38, so that was the trip South.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you didn't work with the T.W.O.C. at all then, did you?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I worked with the T.W.O.C… no. By the time I was… Well, the hosiery workers were part of the T.W.O.C.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The hosiery workers were part of it, then.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
They were an affiliate of the U.T.W., originally; they were a separate union. But the U.T.W. was a very ineffective national union, and so if you wanted to be effective there were the federations. One was the hosiery workers and the others were the dyers. The hosiery workers were effective all through the twenties; the dyers became effective in the thirties with the New Deal. The hosiery workers split in the twenties—split in 1919,

Page 19
I guess—one group feeling that the U.T.W. stood in their way, and they became independent. But they had come together, oh, in '23, '24, back into the U.T.W. And so they ran their own … they paid the small per capita to the U.T.W. (which is all anybody did, I guess). I went South for the hosiery workers. And I had some association with the TWOC.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
WILLIAM FINGER:
What's the first thing you remember coming South? Had you ever been South before?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I'd never been South before; I'd never been further South than Washington.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You had heard the southern situation discussed at Brookwood?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes, we had southern textile workers and … some blacks from the South at Brookwood, and so, you know, there was talk about it. And one of the fellows that came out of Marion I got to know, and I guess I got to know a gal that came from Knoxville, both of whom had been at Brookwood a little bit. And I talked to them; I got some feel of it from them.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What were their names?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It was Larry Hogan (and I was often mistaken for him) and Helen Gregory. And Larry Hogan was probably killed by somebody running his car off the road when he was organizing for the hosiery workers, before I went to work for them. He was up to Brookwood, as graduates tended to come up—Helen Gregory the same. But she came out of Knoxville, a Knoxville hosiery plant.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It was pretty tough going, then, when you
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It was tough going when I came down. The hosiery workers had had organizers in the South; U.T.W. had organizers in the South. And a lot of people that were around Philadelphia had southern experience. "Tiny"

Page 20
Hoffman, Alfred Hoffman, was the research director of the union, and I had known him through Brookwood (he was a Brookwood graduate), and we used to talk about it a lot. He told me about Henderson; he told me about Marion, and so on. There was another fellow by the name of Eddie Callaghan. He was a hosiery worker, but he was in that part of the hosiery union that had stayed with the U.T.W. He was a U.T.W. organizer in the early twenties in the South. And if you remember, the U.T.W. had, I guess, a great deal of North Carolina organized for about ten minutes in that period, in the sense that … I guess it was around '20 or '22 there were some strikes. And anyway it washed up. But he was the organizer that was in there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Eddie Callaghan?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Eddie Callaghan; have you come across his name?
WILLIAM FINGER:
No.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Philadelphia hosiery boarder he was, by occupation.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Most of my work's been a little later, but that's interesting.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, so they talked to me about it. And, of course, there had been the general strike. I had been in Reading during the general strike, working for the Central Labor Union, but we had the hosiery industry there and some textiles there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did they go out there too?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, the general strike was supposed to be a general strike, but the hosiery workers weren't about to give up … they had contracts in these plants, and they weren't about to give them up, because they had spent too many years and too many dollars and too many lives organizing them. But the textile workers, the U.T.W. did call out its plants that had contracts, and we had something like four contracts before the strike and one afterwards,

Page 21
because the employers looked on it as an opportunity to get rid of the union. And so I was familiar with that.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But the general strike was considered to be a northern…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, it was.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You know, there were flying squadrons up North?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes. If you went up later on… When I went up… I got work for the Textile Workers, and I went up into New England and went into New Bedford-Fall River; I don't know how many people told me they'd been over to Mount Hope Finishing and been stopped by the machine guns up on top of the roof of the plant. Just as much.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That was in New Bedford?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Near Fall River, yes. Fall River-New Bedford flying squadrons, oh yes. But in any event, so I had something … I did understand something of it. And I guess I'd seen lots of poverty, but I never saw anything like that: never saw wages like they were. But a southern hosiery worker (that's who I was associating with) was making fifty bucks a week in those days; this was before the minimum wage law. And his brother who was working on a cotton mill was making maybe, for a longer work week—what would he be making?—at the most…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Eighteen?
LARRY ROGIN:
Eighteen, twenty, twenty-four if he was a machine-fixer.5
WILLIAM FINGER:
Why did the hosiery worker make so much more?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Because it was a profitable industry. And it was enough more than the others so that they would keep them from organizing.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was it higher skilled work too?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Over the years I've become convinced that skill has very little

Page 22
to do with what you're paid. Any textile mill worker is more skilled than an auto assembly line worker, and you look at the pay! Any textile worker, because it's really more skilled. Now, the work isn't as bad, but they're more skilled: you've got to be able to tie a weaver's knot or you can't weave; and, you know, you've got to be able to do all that. Any textile worker.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Do you think many people would agree with you?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I think so, sure, sure. I worked out there for three years in Michigan and, yes, they would agree with me. It's a function of the industry, it's a function of the union and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But the hosiery workers, were their rates the same as the cotton mill worker?
LARRY ROGIN:
The ones in the South were.6 But, you see, it was very interesting that Hoffman, who went down South to organize hosiery workers, ended up orga|nizing textile workers. And that's the way I learned a quick lesson there (I did some organizing in the South—not much in those days): in any event, it doesn't matter to a worker what somebody else is working at his job at a distance (a long way off) for. Hosiery knitters were piece-rate (and a complicated piece-rate), and you could tell from the pay slip exactly what the stocking was because there were extras added on for the different construction of the stocking. So you could take a pay slip from Philadelphia, where a worker was earning a hundred dollars a week or more, and take it to a worker making exactly the same stocking, say at Golden Belt in Durham (which was one of the few successes we had), and he'd look at it and he'd say, "That's right." But what he saw was his brother who was working in the cotton mill. The interesting thing was that we couldn't organize. We were able for

Page 23
a long period, particularly before I got to the hosiery workers, to find jobs for the ones that got fired; we could get them jobs in the North. A lot of them didn't like to stay in the North because, as I said, they were an immigrant population a good deal, hosiery workers, and it wasn't the South, I guess. If you could get a job back South you went back South.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You worked on the Golden Belt campaign?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, that was not a campaign at that time; when I went South the Golden Belt was a Labor Board case. It was a Labor Board case that was just getting settled. And Cedric Stallings, who was the fellow who was fired in that campaign, was…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Bringing the case?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, yes, they had the case; but he'd been put on as organizer.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was he for TWOC or for hosiery?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, it was hosiery; he was a hosiery worker there. TWOC had most of Golden Belt because there was a bag plant, a printing plant and God knows what else. But the reason it got organized was because there was a hosiery mill there, and the hosiery workers organized it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So it was, technically, two different bargaining units then?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, it was all one bargaining unit; there were separate locals and all kinds of things like that but—I'm trying to think: were there separate units? It was all one Labor Board case, and we settled it at the time. It was American Tobacco Company in the local, and that's why they signed the contract. You see, it wasn't a major concern of theirs. They thought they were going to make a lot of money in hosiery; they discovered that it was much more difficult than they imagined. Burlington Mills a little later on (I was still with the hosiery workers) put an awful lot of money into setting

Page 24
up hosiery mills up in the mountains of Virginia, all through—oh, I've forgotten the names of the towns: Independence and God knows where else—all up in the mountains, small plants (a hundred people or so). And they were going to make a lot of money, and they discovered that by keeping away from the union (which they did successfully) they also went broke in the hosiery operation. And they never made a success of it until they bought out a going hosiery mill. And that's the same; it just was more difficult… But companies that wanted to stay at it more: Golden Belt made money on its hosiery, and Mock Judson-Voehringer (which became the big plant in Greensboro).
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was the name of it?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Mock Judson-Voehringer, and Oscar Nebel in Charlotte, and others: they made money out of hosiery, all right.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How long were you down South organizing?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, I was off and on. I was South probably a quarter of every year, at least, for … from the time I went South for the hosiery workers until '57—well, really '56, '56. It would be about, almost about eighteen years, twenty years.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You went with TWU4 about… ?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
In '42, in January, '42.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's when the merger… ?
LARRY ROGIN:
No, Rieve had become director or president of T.W.U.A. in '39; that's when T.W.O.C. became T.W.U.A.7 But he wanted me to come up to New York for T.W.U.A. right along, but at the time he went up they weren't in any shape to have an education program. I've been involved in organizing and education, but I've always kind of stuck to education as the trade. But in '42 when he asked me to come up I went up; late '41 he asked me and I went up.

Page 25
WILLIAM FINGER:
So the hosiery hadn't merged in?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, they didn't merge in. As a matter of fact, they split off later on. A lot of the leadership of the textile workers came out of the hosiery workers, because this was the branch of the union that knew what it was all about; that is, in which they had some skills, and because it was a high-paid industry you also had some natural sifting in the employment process, and so on. But the hosiery workers in the South were not independent, in the sense as I told you, T.W.O.C. became on it. But it didn't work out very well, and hosiery started to run its own affairs more. But I guess the second impression I had in the South was that (you always had hope, and so on) it was already too late, because the '34 strike had taken place before the C.I.O. was formed. And the '34 strike, as you know, was a big strike. It's almost forgotten now, but you tell people there were half a million, six hundred thousand people out on strike in '34 (I guess the biggest strike the country's ever known); it was like a revolution, you know.
WILLIAM FINGER:
For three weeks.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
For three weeks, that's like a revolution. And then it got sold down the river, I guess, by Mr… Well, it should have never been called, of course, because there was no labor movement to receive it, to support it, to receive it. Frank Gorman didn't know how to run a strike, and he didn't know how to settle a strike. And the A.F.L. really couldn't care less.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It's been all, so, that bad?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes. There was a guy who was an organizer; I've forgotten his name (I've been trying to think of it ever since we made this appointment——it may have been Plunkett) who was working with the Textile Labor

Page 26
Board (he was working for the union, but he was working with the Textile Labor Board) on firings and blacklisted workers. And he was still working for the textile workers, he was working for the textile workers when I went South for the hosiery workers; and he was still working for the textile workers when I went to the textile workers. He figured that there were probably twenty-five thousand discharges.
WILLIAM FINGER:
From the strike?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
From the strike in the South.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was his position again, now?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He was an organizer for the textile workers, for the T.W.O.C. originally, and then T.W.U.A. And he had been a U.T.W. organizer, I think.
WILLIAM FINGER:
And you said he was on a labor…?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, he was working with the Textile Labor Board to gather information to…
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was the Textile Labor Board?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That was set up when the strike was settled, you see; under the N.R.A. it was set up to make sure there were no discrimination and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He was a labor representative?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, he was, I guess, an organizer gathering evidence. But then when the N.R.A. was declared unconstitutional that went out the window, so that we don't have the hearings that we would have had, that would have demonstrated this—and maybe kept the spirit of unionism alive.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So that was never documented anywhere, then?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, there was never any documentation.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How many people…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
How many people lost their jobs, and so on.

Page 27
WILLIAM FINGER:
His estimate was twenty-five thousand?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
His estimate was at least twenty-five thousand. I ran into some of them. I ran into a lot of them up in Pontiac, Michigan later on when I went up there; it was '57 I went to work for the University of Michigan, Wayne State, on a labor education program. We went up to Pontiac; I found some people who'd lost their jobs there then. I ran into some in Oakland, California, which is mostly a Portuguese textile community. There was a plant that the union had organized that had lost their jobs in the '34 general strike.8 And I certainly heard enough about it everyplace we went. The more I think of it (and particularly since I've been removed), I think it was a tragic case of premature militancy: that is, if the C.I.O. had been in existence when the strike took place, then there might have been some chance of it being successful, because there would have been money and there would have been leadership. If you talk to people (and I guess you must have talked to people about that strike—the one I knew best who played a role in it was H.D. Lisk; do you know of him?)…
WILLIAM FINGER:
No.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He had been a worker in a mill in Cannon and his father had been pro-union and he was active in the union. And they had Cannon pretty much all out, you know, for the three weeks—probably better than most. Well, he went out on strike, and he and the family had saved a little money; went out on strike, and he didn't know what to do. He wasn't only in charge of Cannon, he was in charge of that whole area in North Carolina by default—nobody appointed him in charge. There had to be some leadership, and he tried to provide it. And of course he had no job when it was over, and whatever little savings he had (a couple of thousand dollars) was gone.

Page 28
But the reasons for the strike, why they struck: this was not a strike that was foisted on them by a union. The workers who were organized really were … they were being stretched out, and the wages were bad and they struck. But it was just a tragedy that it took place when it did. And so what you were doing when you were organizing after that was… And that strike was general in the South; it was hosiery and dyeing and finishing, and cotton mills and rayon mills and everything. In some spots it didn't hit, of course; you didn't have the whole industry, but it was a general strike. What you had after that was … first of all, frightened workers; leadership fired, or left and gone up (because then there were possibilities of jobs in auto and Akron and everyplace) to work elsewhere; and you had an alert management that wasn't about to let it happen again. They had been caught off-guard; they didn't believe the workers would go out.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes, and they did.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
And they did.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, did you find any truth to the kind of stuff that was written then about paternalism in the mill villages? A lot of sociologists wrote in the thirties: Harriet Herring and George Mitchell described the mill villages in great detail.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. Well, people didn't pay much rent, but my God, in the mill villages… When I was with the hosiery workers I went up to Coolomee to show some movies; we always showed "The River" and "The Plough that Broke the Plains"—they were great movies.
WILLIAM FINGER:
In Culowee?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Coolomee, North Carolina; Erwin Mills up there. A guy who was with the union who was out of Chapel Hill, he's now a professor of political

Page 29
science in Jersey in some college, but his father was on the faculty at Chapel Hill and he went to work for the union: Don McKee, I was trying to think of his name. And he was organizer up there, and they were celebrating the first child in that mill village who graduated from high school who was not going to work in the mill in the history of the mill village. So if you see this, you see it all depends on your perspective.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
My perspective was from the North and the East, you see. I knew George Mitchell very well; he was at Columbia when I was a student.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, and I knew him later, yes; and Broadus Mitchell I knew too.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You knew him too?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. And, of course, with Southern Regional Council George used to do a great lecture on the South that would get the race thing in without advertising it as a lecture on race. And when we had our institutes in the South we'd always bring him in to do them.
WILLIAM FINGER:
I've heard about his color charts.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, the charts, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's really something.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Great, just great—but very effective, you see. And he'd do it with such a broad southern accent that people couldn't, you know… If I said something about it then they'd say, "Well, he's just a New Yorker," and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
No, I wasn't criticizing their work, as much as I was just curious.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, but I look at my perspective as different.
Also that same year, I think it was '39 or '40, I went to Henderson—it was before it was

Page 30
organized, or they were organizing it there. Helen Gregory, I guess, was working on it. And those mill villages, those two mills, were just out of this world. There was a seamless hosiery industry, which of course was worse than the cotton industry in its pay—there's a difference between full-fashion and seamless hosiery. There is no more full-fashion hosiery; seamless hosiery has taken over altogether. And I went down (I don't know what I had to do with it) to Union Point, Georgia, and we took some film (I don't know where they are now; I left them with the hosiery workers) of that mill village, and the sad state of repair of the privys and the water. And it was a mill village where… This was a guy who was convicted of violating the minimum wage law, because he forced his workers to buy glasses (whether they needed them or not) and this brought their wages down below the [laughter] minimum wage. Frank Barker was the local union president then (later went on the staff of the Textile Workers), and he got me down there. I remember he came up to Charlotte to that convention, and we were busy lobbying for the minimum wage law then. They were earning probably about eight or nine cents an hour on some of the jobs, and stuff like that—just terrible conditions. And we used to kid him, and told him he had his first pair of shoes on when he came to Charlotte. Down in Union Point most of the people didn't wear shoes. That's what impressed me, you know. And a little later on (I guess I was still with the hosiery workers) I was off in—you used to go into Tennessee too when you had to… See, the '34 period, all these strikes that took place: they were hosiery and non-hosiery, and a lot of them were seamless hosiery up in Rockwood in Tennessee and other strikes. But Tennessee was a big center of full-fashion as well as seamless hosiery, and they had had some big, bitter strikes, and the general strike there in

Page 31
those days.
Matt Lynch, who's now the president of the Tennessee Federation of Labor, comes out of one of those strikes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
At Rockwood?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, he comes out of… That's a seamless factory; Rockwood was up in the mountains, a seamless factory. He comes out of a … he and Bill Frazier (who was an organizer for the hosiery workers)—Matt was originally for the hosiery workers—come out of Bryant Hosiery, or another one there, I've forgotten which. But he was blacklisted; they were both blacklisted after the strike. They ended up on union payrolls, so it wasn't as bad for them. He could probably tell you about that.
WILLIAM FINGER:
I was just curious in kind of your impression of the state of the industry. I know that, you know, World War II really put the textile industry firmly on its feet, with the war orders.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, there was no question that the industry in the South was a mixed industry: that is, there were some efficient mills and there were some inefficient mills. The efficient mills paid a little more; but they must have been making money, or could have with a decent management, because there was still at that period (the early days) … enough of a differential between northern and southern wages. And in hosiery this was particularly true. In hosiery this was particularly true; there's no real question about it. A low wage industry tends to be wasteful of workers (you know, everybody knows that); you're wasteful of workers, and you also don't care… You have enough workers around so that you don't enforce your rules very much: that is, a guy goes out, you know, if you fuss with him, and so on, all that kind of thing. Now, later on… And the industry was already an old one; that's the other thing about the South. When I went to work

Page 33
a hard time getting people to understand. I don't know yet what effect it has on your organizing, and so on, but it really is a thing. [Interruption] A lot of northerners went South organizing for the hosiery workers and textile workers. I remember—when did Cash's book, Mind of the South come out? About '33, '34, later?
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes, a little later, I guess.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
A little later. We tried to get it. I guess I sold more copies of that than were sold outside of academic communities, because we used to give it to everybody. It was a hard book, but at least they'd have some understanding of the South when they went down there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
'40, right about '40.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'40, yes. Well, see, that was while I was with the hosiery workers. So I'm a big booster of that book, and I'm still recommending it to northerners who go South.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You gave that to northerners who were going South?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, not to southerners. No, southerners had their own biases on all those things that Cash was writing about, you see.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Right, right. It is a tremendous book.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Is there anything better yet?
WILLIAM FINGER:
I don't think so. It's a little dated.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, it's very dated, of course, but it's a tremendous book to understand the…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, did you know Myles Horton?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes. I met Myles, I guess, the first time in '38. I went through Tennessee for the union—I used to make sweeps, you know—and I stayed overnight at Highlander and spent a few days there, and got to know Myles.

Page 34
He stayed at my house in Philadelphia (the hosiery workers' headquarters are in Philadelphia) at the time of the … T.W.U.A. founding convention, '39. And I knew him very, very well from then on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He worked for T.W.O.C.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Worked for a short time for T.W.O.C., yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How about Joe Pedigo, did you ever know him?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes. Well, Joe was out of the… Yes, I knew Joe very, very well.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Helped you find work?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. He came out of Roanoke, the rayon mill in Roanoke.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you know him while you were organizing down there, or only later when you became education director?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I think I got to know … he was active in labor education and stuff like that, and I may have met him when I was with the hosiery workers. See, I was always, really, doing labor education, but I would organize on the side. And it wasn't 'til very late in the game… Well no, with the hosiery workers I organized, I put in a stint of straight organizing in Martinsburg, West Virginia, which is kind of South, I guess. It's not in the hills of West Virginia, and there are no mines around or anything like that—it was very much like Virginia. And I and another chap organized that mill, and then later we ran a strike there. That was a seamless hosiery mill; it was a big one, fifteen hundred people. That was a mill, though, where the people didn't get discouraged by the general strike. They'd been out on strike, and they went back and they'd lost it, and so on. And the state police were out, and the troops were out and all that kind of thing. But there was always a group that stayed together, and

Page 36
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, so I guess that was '39 or something.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, it was when I was with the hosiery workers, and I really didn't function very much there when I was with the hosiery workers.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you went up to New York in '42?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'42, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Moved into the big old…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Big office. Well, it was the Amalgamated Clothing Workers' office. We had a floor that was left over from Sidney Hillman being the head of the T.W.O.C. We had a floor there; they later kicked us out as they grew. It wasn't big enough for us, and then we got that building on 99 University Place. Should have probably come to Washington at that time, I don't know. I … don't know that where your headquarters is has any effect on organizing in the South. And the mills are all owned out of New York, in a sense.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes, that's right.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
But I think the focus would have maybe been more in the South if we'd come to Washington; I don't know. And that's, of course, what had to be. And, as I say, now I'm not sure that it would have done any good whatever because of the situation of the '34 general strike.
WILLIAM FINGER:
When you went with T.W.U.A., then, what was your…?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I was education director.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes. What was your first kind of impression? Had you been close enough to the union all along so that there was nothing…?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes, oh yes. It was the same people: let's see, the president was the man who'd hired me in the textile workers, the head of the synthetic yarn division was a hosiery knitter.9

Page 37
WILLIAM FINGER:
Who was that?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That was Herbert Payne. And a lot of the synthetic yarn people were Philadelphia people, or Socialists I'd known. Hosiery workers was a Socialist union, and I had been a Socialist for quite a while, you see. I joined in '28, and so I knew a lot of the people. So it was a question of fitting in. But of course I had known this, that the union had about 150,000 members at the time I went up there. Hillman had been putting out releases at about 400,000 and I guess we finally reached more than 400,000 before we started down—but that took not until 1950.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You got up to 400,000 in 1950?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, about there, I think.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was T.W.U.A. starting to become institutionalized that early, by '42? It was only about five years old then.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I don't know. What do you mean by institutionalized?
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, I just mean… I don't know. How did it seem?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, you see, it was a much bigger thing than the hosiery, and, of course, hosiery was very informal and all that kind of thing. It was much bigger. In that sense it was institutionalized. But in those days under Rieve it was always quite a flexible institution; we changed around an awful, awful lot. But you grew. The war came along, and, you see, that took away… The real successes of organizing in the South came through the war in hosiery…
WILLIAM FINGER:
The War Labor Board
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
… Because it took away the fear that you'd have a strike and then a company would beat the union, or that you'd be fired. As a matter of fact, you wanted to be fired, because you'd get a decent job: you were

Page 38
frozen to your job otherwise. You got fired so you could go to the coast and go into a shipyard and earn much more money.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So War Labor Board helped too?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, but the War Labor Board gave you contracts: like we organized Dan River and we got a contract; organized Marshall Field, and there was considerably less opposition there than there had been in, say, Dan River. And the War Labor Board gave you check-off and, you know, it was a whole thing. So War Labor Board really made the difference. But at the same time that board … while this was happening (let me put it that way) the employers were beginning to learn how to use the Wagner Act for delays and so on, and so your organizing became rougher and rougher and rougher, even while the war was on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you ever have experience with Witford Blakeney, the antiunion lawyer?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I never got into negotiations and so on; I got into organizing some. I remember that long strike we had in Tarboro that I went down to several times, and I think he was a lawyer there. In general, yes. But more active in the deeper South was the fellow in Atlanta who had worked for the Labor Board; name's on the tip of my tongue, but anyway he's the famous one there. Blakeney was worse than he was, because he was a guy who would do what the employer wanted: if the employer was ready to sign with the union, he wouldn't stand in the way. Blakeney would always argue with the employer.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Blakeney didn't want them to sign?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He didn't want them to sign. I remember one time (all this was fairly late), I got involved in Chattanooga in a Standard Coosa Thatcher

Page 39
plant, in the situation there. There were two mills that the company owned, and there had been an election in them and it was defeated. And they were pretty much one bargaining unit—that's the way the Labor Board was going to hold it. This was after the war. Well, in one of the two mills the workers were quite militant and unionized and went on strike.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
… it was a good strike—but of course the employer wouldn't deal with us. And we had to get the people back to work so we could organize in the other plant, which was about the same size and we had nothing. That is, it was a good strike in the sense that they were all out; but if you tried to get a settlement out of it, it wasn't a good strike. In any event, we got them back to work—and it was a very interesting way we got them back to work. We got them back to work because one of the second hands in, I guess, the card room was also a moneylender, [laughter] and he was losing his income. And so without his being aware of it we used him as a … leak to the company, so that they discovered how they could settle the strike. In other words, there were some people fired and we got them back; that was really what happened. Well anyway, we then had an election somewhat later, and I was down for it. We won by a very narrow margin. Constangy is the guy I'm trying to think of; you know him.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The lawyer, yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. And he was representing the firm. But we got a contract out of it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What town was it?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Chattanooga: a dreadful town. Yes. I think the plants are still in operation.

Page 40
WILLIAM FINGER:
Let me ask you about the way, kind of, intellectuals were attracted to T.W.U.A.: like David Burgess worked for T.W.U.A.; and then Solomon Barkan even wrote some kind of scholarly type articles a few times.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well he was a scholar.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes. The T.W.U.A. was seen as kind of a place where intellectuals who were interested in the labor movement could work.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How did that happen?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That was Rieve.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was that Rieve?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That was Rieve, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did he seek to pull them in?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, yes, yes. He never minded; he didn't hold it against you. You could go. I was in education; "Well," you'd say, "I was an intellectual, I was in education and so on, that's fitting." Barkin was in research, and Rieve… Very often he tried to get me into organizing or administrative work. And a great number … Lew Conn, David Burgess (as you've said)…
WILLIAM FINGER:
Scott Hoyman.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Scott Hoyman—Scott I brought in.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You brought in Scott?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I brought in Scott.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Is that right?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. He came out of C.P.S. camp, and I had a reputation for…
WILLIAM FINGER:
C.P.S.?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Civilian Public Service, a conscientious objector during World

Page 41
War II. But he was really a religious conscientious objector—well, others were, you had to be, but with him it was kind of a fundamentalist religion. And he'd gotten interested in the labor movement in contacts with other conscientious objectors in Philadelphia. But I had hired several. We had a lot of education people in the union—that again was Rieve. So he came looking for a job, and there was a job in Maine as an education director. He went up for that, and came South during the split in the union. Yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He's now become one of the best negotiators for the union.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. He learned under a good man, except he has a little more flexibility. That's one of the tragedies of the union, that, in a sense—this is one thing I saw when I went South in T.W.O.C. before T.W.U.A… Roy Lawrence was a southern director for the union. And Roy was a printer, and the printers make a big thing out of contracts, you know. Do you know any of their contracts? And getting the right language is what's important, and so on. Julius Fry came out of Lumberton and became a staff rep for the union, and became very close to Roy, and Roy trained him. And Julius then became a very good man on language—in a sense, a very good contract administrator. But he never—neither he nor Roy—could ever attract a member to the union. They would win them benefits, but it would be lifeless. And so in a sense, I think (I was out of the union by the time the Henderson strikes took place) but I think it's Julius's efficiency really brought those strikes, because he'd take these damn arbitration cases and he'd win them all. And that was what the guy was sore about.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's right.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
And anybody who's willing to put up the money can beat the union in a strike; I think any company in any industry could. I'm not sure about

Page 42
that. But I saw a small company beat the auto workers in a Detroit suburb when I was out in Michigan, and so if they can be beat in Detroit, then I guess any company can beat a union that really wants to. And that's what happened in Henderson, of course. And Scott was trained by Julius, and he was a good negotiator. I used to argue with Scott all the time about the relative merits of the good contract or the membership. I'm always a believer in: you get the members and let the contract take care of itself. I suppose I go to the other extreme. Scott would really be arguing about it with Julius.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What did you do with your time as education director? How did your days go?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh well, when you went South, you know… It was a whole big program, you know; a hell of a lot of it was administration. But if you went South … well, we ran institutes. We used to run them all over the South, one-week institutes. And we used to go into towns and run them. We used to run them during organizing campaigns, or run them during strikes (combining, you know, with educational work).
WILLIAM FINGER:
What would you do at an institute? How would it go?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, it would be just like all the others that everybody's ever run—a little different, maybe, one way or another, but… Say if it was during an organizing campaign then we'd be running them, say, for a week during the campaign, the evenings: something of the history of the unions, something on the condition of the industry, something on what the union's like when it's in existence (what stewards do, what officers do), to give them a feeling of confidence that they could… This is the big thing of all textile workers, because they're always low paid, North and South,

Page 43
and there's not really much difference——a little different for synthetic yarn because of their backgrounds—in their feeling of incompetency to deal with the employer. And that's true of all low-paid workers, I think, and so you have to give them some confidence in themselves. Try to give them some knowledge and some confidence, and try to find leadership.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Would you work with the Southern Summer School in any way?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
We did, as I said, with the hosiery workers. We worked with the Southern Summer School, well, see, two periods. The one period they were really just … they would come down in the summer and it used to be at Asheville at the school there, and then we'd have probably a weekend (because there was nobody organized, or very few, so you couldn't get people to go off their jobs, but you could get them there for a weekend). We had some organization, I guess; maybe some people could get off—I don't remember. We did it there and at Highlander. Then later on, when the Southern Summer School became a kind of a traveling Chataugua kind of thing we worked with them then; and then they used to come into textile communities and so on.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Who would you work with?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well we worked with Louise McLaren originally (she was up at Asheville for a while), and then Brownie Lee Jones and Carla Myerson and Joanne Farrell.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That would be when they moved to Virginia, I guess.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, Brownie Lee Jones and Carla.
WILLIAM FINGER:
They would come down and help with workshops?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Workshops, yes. For instance, the first integrated institute we ran in the South (where the living was integrated as well as the classes) was

Page 46
in the Methodist place at Junaluska. And I'm trying to remember who we had there from the Southern Summer School over with us.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What year was that? Do you remember?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I don't remember. I remember that we had our first integrated institute at Chapel Hill, but the whites lived in the dormitories and the blacks lived with faculty members—and we all ate in a church, at Charlie Jones's church.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Charlie Jones: I was going to ask you that.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, Charlie Jones's church. And we met in the university; the classes were in the university. I'm trying to remember: did the whites live in the dormitories? I guess they did; Charlie Jones didn't have any sleeping accommodations. But, in any event… But then we went to Junaluska when the Methodist church unified; then that became a conference center. But I can't think of when that was; I don't know when it was. Well, in any event, we did that. There was a black staff rep—a woman—working for the Southern School for Workers, and she came over and helped us.
WILLIAM FINGER:
T.J. Lawson?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Do you remember her name?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I don't remember.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you all keep records of those meetings?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh God, I don't know. There are someplace, I suppose.
WILLIAM FINGER:
I just asked. One of the graduate students there is doing work on the Southern Summer School; she's tracing down a lot of people that participated. So she's looking for records of it, at Cornell and…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, that's where they are. Well, you'd probably find it easier in the Southern Summer School records that she went over than in the textile

Page 47
records. We kept very poor records of activity in the textile workers of educational activity. I've not been a good record keeper; I'm not an archive keeper. I have very few papers.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was your perspective on the industry? Again, I'm interested in the way the industry… You know, the war ended, the orders dropped off, and there were lots of strikes all over the country in '46. Then Taft-Hartley came; then Operation Dixie in '47-'48 had lots of money and organizers in the South. Did the industry, you know, always have the blues?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, but that isn't, I don't think, what stopped it from organizing. See, the textile industry's always had the blues, all the time.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Does it really have the blues, or does it just say that?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, sometimes it does and sometimes they just say they do. In either case they didn't want us to organize, and so it didn't matter.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It didn't matter to you all?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It didn't matter to us what the state of the industry was. It may have made organizing a little more difficult; you can't tell, sometimes, in industry.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You didn't consciously try to pick out the most profitable companies, that you knew wouldn't be put out of business if you got a contract?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, you tried not to pick out the sweatshops, the ones that were on the edge, you see. But inevitably those were the ones where the workers revolted. But you tried not to pick them out. You were always torn in what policy… Do you bother with these little plants that are isolated. And in some of them you might even get contracts, but they were about to go out of business anyway. You went to the big ones, and so on. And we changed about that in the course… The thing about the southern drive:

Page 48
that's what convinced me that any mill that wanted to could beat the union. See, the southern drive was over before '51 when we had the strike in the organized mills. A lot of small mills, not big companies, where elections were won, almost inevitably they ended up in a strike, or a strike took place. And the pattern was pretty much the same: the plant would stay closed for about four months. Meanwhile the company would recruit a group of scabs (usually from the neighborhood, and people who they'd fired or who had left or whatever). They'd get the state police, and then usually get a state court injunction against violence, and they'd open up. You know, any plant, I don't care where it is or what the union is, unless you've got the discipline that the miners have (which they enforce with a high-powered rifle and a telescopic sight—it's not the spirit of the workers), has some people who are ready to go back. And so if you start with about twenty-five percent, then gradually it wears you down. The mill I watched closest was Tarboro, and I used to go down there. I don't know how long it lasted. But the one strike, the one place that that didn't happen (that happened in Gaffney, that happened in Also, that happened in Rockingham, that happened in Tarboro) was in … the Deering Milliken plant in Huntsville, Alabama—I'm trying to remember the name of it now. And we kept that shut for a year. It was an economic strike; nobody went in. And they closed it; it went out of business.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Is that right?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. I was in the office in Charlotte when the phone call came from Darlington. And Lloyd Gosset, who took the call, (he was out of Atlanta, I think) but he was all excited, because it sounded very good. (When would this be? I was running the Burlington campaign then.) But in any event, I said to him, "Lloyd, if you win the goddamn thing they'll close the plant up.

Page 49
Don't go down there." And he said, "Well, we'll get it organized." I said, "Yes, I know. But you won't get it organized; they'll close it. It's the same company." And I told him about Huntsville. Well, of course, he went down there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He went down there in '54 or something?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'54, and organized it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
And in Darlington?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
The people had organized themselves. Won the election over against great odds; the company did everything they could to beat him in the election.
WILLIAM FINGER:
And now they still haven't gotten back.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
They haven't gotten back pay yet in '75; it's twenty-one years.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Absolutely crazy. But mostly they beat us in strikes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did the effect of all these… ? I mean, you had the War Labor Board there, you know, protecting you for a while.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, but when the War Labor Board was gone then the protection was gone.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did it kind of wear down the union itself internally?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, it wore down the people, it wore down the staff.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Continually getting beaten.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Beaten—or if you won you had a strike. Occasionally you'd win one and not have a strike, you know.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Do you think that eventually kind of builds in a pessimism?

Page 50
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Or defeatism, even caution?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Caution, yes. Well, yes, I think it does. I think it does. It does in your staff. Or it builds an attitude: you don't care; that's worse. I'd rather have a pessimist than a guy who doesn't care.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's tough.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It's tough.
WILLIAM FINGER:
And then the split came, '50-'51.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'51. Well, the split started in '50 and came in '52; and in a sense it was a part of the… although the union was at its largest in '50.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Boy, it really had gotten up to 400,000?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, 400,000 actual dues-paying members, average for the year.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How many by the end of the war?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, by the end of the war it was probably 350,000, something like that.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Not many more after that; the war really jumped it, doubled it.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Not many more, yes. Oh yes, it more than doubled during the war. Well, you see, you got union shops in a lot of places, and so on, in the North. And while it started to be closing of plants in the North right as soon as the war ended, we still had
WILLIAM FINGER:
Were you involved in what they called the "big cotton case"?
LARRY ROGIN:
What was that?10
WILLIAM FINGER:
That was decided in Atlanta; it was a War Labor Board case. A number of cases were grouped together.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Was it a wage increase move?
WILLIAM FINGER:
It was a contract.

Page 51
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I was not involved.
WILLIAM FINGER:
I didn't understand it. I have never understood that much. I just wondered if you…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I don't register it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Anyway, that's not that important. So, you were about to say that the split was itself an outgrowth…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Partly an outgrowth, yes; partly an outgrowth.
WILLIAM FINGER:
An outgrowth of what?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Of the failure of the union to keep growing; and partly it was an outgrowth of a distrust of … Baldanzi, by a large number of secondary leaders in the union in the North.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It carried the southern people with it, though.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, it carried the southern people with him pretty well, because Rieve was always puzzled by the South and Roy Lawrence was a southerner. And if he'd fired Roy Lawrence (which he should have a long time before that), Baldanzi wouldn't have carried the southerners; they hated Roy Lawrence because he was a kind of old-fashioned unionist—really didn't belong in the C.I.O., didn't trust workers.
WILLIAM FINGER:
People liked Baldanzi's kind of fiery …
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes. He was, I think, the best orator in the labor movement. He was very, very good. He knew an audience; he could tell whether he was going over, and he'd adjust his speech. Really, it was fascinating to work with him on the speech.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you work with him on the speech?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I did on some, but I'm not a great writer. But I've seen him work with others. I've worked with him on some speeches I wrote for him.

Page 52
But when he makes his own (he made a lot of them) he didn't… These were written speeches only when they were going to be broadcast. He never needed a written speech for any occasion.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He had figures?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He didn't use figures very much, no. Images, images.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Images?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Images.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He had a foreign accent too, like Rieve?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, no; no, I think he was born here. I'm not sure. He's just about my age. I used to be mistaken for him; we looked a little alike. And the first time people'd see me, if they knew of him (knew what he looked like, I mean), I'd be mistaken for him. It was very amusing during the '50 convention, when the first attack on him came. Delegates would come up to me and pledge me their support, thinking they were talking to him. [laughter] No, he had an appeal to intellectuals too. I said Rieve was the reason they came. In a sense, he was the head of the union and he attracted them, and he understood them and could work with them. But Baldanzi had an appeal also to them. Baldanzi's manner was easier with them. Rieve, as long as he was around he didn't have an easy manner with people; got close to them, I guess he did, but it was a… Rieve you respected, because … he earned it, not because of his manner in off-work moments or things like that. Baldanzi's was a little more that way, and he had an easy target in … the group of organizers in the South who had been in the old U.T.W., many of them, like him (like Roy Lawrence, I mean) and Lisk and others in that group that attracted Roy. And they tended not to be as broad-gauge as the young intellectuals who came on, and so there was a kind of natural

Page 53
target. I thought it was a tragedy situation … that Rieve was so doubtful about the South that he continued to keep Lawrence there. Maybe all this wouldn't have come up if it hadn't been for that; I don't know.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Do you think the union would have kept still growing if there hadn't been all the energy wasted on… ?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, no, I don't think so.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Would it have leveled off, though? I mean, a lot of members were lost there in '52.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, not really.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, like went to U.T. or…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Twelve thousand dues-payers went to the U.T.W., that's all.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Is that all?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I did a study of it when it was over.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
So what you had there was the union could say, "We had a success between the conventions; we kept our membership. We only lost twelve thousand."
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes. That's from '52 to …
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
'54, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
What was the membership? Is it 400,000 in '50?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. I don't remember now what it was. But you can pretty well tell by the convention reports; you know, they're all there. You just figure it out.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The split didn't affect you all in New York as much as it did the intellectuals
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, you were always all over. Everybody got out in the

Page 54
field and worked like hell. You know, I was around.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But you kind of stayed there with Rieve too.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh yes, but I came down. I worked a lot on the Marshall Field plants. That was a very close vote there. There was a guy down who had been in New York in a professional job; went down as organizer and did a very good job there. And we all went all over.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Marshall Field, that's what's in Eden, then?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Eden, yes, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Fieldcrest.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Fieldcrest mills, that's right.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The intellectuals in the South like Burgess, he moved on. Some of them went with U.T.W.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, but he was…
WILLIAM FINGER:
He quit.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He was already over in the … wasn't he already over in the Georgia Federation of Labor?
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, I think he did go to that.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
And the Georgia C.I.O. Council?
WILLIAM FINGER:
I think he went in '50.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, '50; he went in '50.
WILLIAM FINGER:
How did you deal with Baldanzi, though? I mean, the early pressure in '50
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. Well, a lot of them didn't go with the … well no, some of the people didn't go with the U.T.W. because they had loyalty to the C.I.O. But others went over; they got some of the better staff in the South, I think. Yes, yes. The only thing you can say is whether the union would have grown,

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whether the union lost membership, or whether it lost more membership… The '51 strike, it was a question of whether that strike would have taken place if it hadn't been for the conflict in the union. And I don't know whether it would have or not; it's very hard to say. But there is no question that the northern employers were beginning to say, "We won't raise wages anymore first; you've got to get them up in the South first." Or, "We'll do it this time, and we won't do it again."
WILLIAM FINGER:
Say that where you had conflict?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
In the North, you see. And the pattern had been, we were better organized in the North; we negotiated an increase in the North. Then you went South into the unionized mills and you made a pass at organizing widely—you know, have what you call a wage increase drive, and you'd negotiate. But the northern mills were getting tired of this, because you never negotiated quite as much in the South as you did in the North: the fringe benefits weren't as good, and so on. So the union was going to have to find out whether it could move these plants that had been organized in the war (there's Cone and the ones in Gadsden and Danville and Huntsville, and so on, and Rock Hill, of course, in the big finishing plant there, and the others). And so at some point, I think, the same thing would have had to be done. But I think that the internal fight in the union prevented people from telling honestly what they thought would happen when the strike was called.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
The only one we got a real honest statement of it was a Baldanzi supporter in the Dan River mills. He said what would happen, and it did.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It was a disaster.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, that's right. It was a disaster pretty much all over,

Page 56
except the finishing mill in Rock Hill and a few other places.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You didn't get a wage increase?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, we didn't get a wage increase; the people went back to work. You see, if you've held your people out, then you're not so badly off. But if the people go back to work, then you're in a hell of a shape.
WILLIAM FINGER:
People went back in at Cone?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes; well, in large quantities more people went back in than stayed out. We had a strike, I was telling you about it, organizing in Interwoven in Martinsburg, West Virginia. But we had a strike there; there were fifteen hundred people, and the most that went back were five hundred. And as long as you can keep it in that proportion then you've got some pressure on the company. But if you've got it the other way then you haven't got any pressure on the company at all. And that's what happened in Danville and Cone. Erwin was better. Erwin had had a strike—I think that kind of misled us, in a way—right after the war, and it had been pretty solid. And, of course, it was a long strike and it was well supported. And Erwin Mills was not—you know, companies are different, even in the South—Erwin was not fighting us that hard. We'd had contracts in Erwin before the War Labor Board.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did you try Burlington or J.P. Stevens during the war years, the two big ones? Of course Stevens, a lot of it
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, Stevens was organized in the North during the war years and didn't fight too much.
WILLIAM FINGER:
They didn't fight those in the North?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, not too much. But they were planning, they were planning.
WILLIAM FINGER:
To come down South.

Page 57
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. Burlington was not so big, you know. I guess I was with the hosiery workers when I got into my first Burlington thing. I was in Burlington, North Carolina (there was an organizer stationed there) and I came through and, you know, working with committees and one thing and another, encouragement to the guy. This was when there was a War Labor Board case in Burlington. It was not a big thing; it wasn't a big mill, big company. Hosiery we knew about, and we weren't making any headway in those mountains and neither was the company.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Being in education, did you do much work like Barkin did on the research end?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, no, no.
WILLIAM FINGER:
When the northern companies moved South?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, no, not on that kind of thing; he did that.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He did that work?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He did that work. We interpreted it, we used it in our educational programs. We'd have these one-week institutes, and there'd always be something on the industry, of course, the economics of the industry, what it was like. And we'd always do a lot on the industry, you see, because in a sense we were a big union but we weren't successful: we didn't have the industry organized by a long shot. And so as long as organizing was the big thing, you'd have to tell, "Why are your wages what they are, not like auto workers or steel workers or something like that?"
WILLIAM FINGER:
Why would you tell them?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, you'd have to do the economics of the industry: you're not organized.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That was the basic … I mean, maybe oversimplifing, but that

Page 58
would be the conclusion?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, yes, basically that's really what it was.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The industry keeps saying, you know, it's a labor…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Labor intensive.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Labor intensive, and you never will have a higher wage even if you were organized. You'd just drive us to…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Drive us out of the country.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Drive us to Tokyo.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, yes; that's partly probably true.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That was your analysis in those days, though?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, it was. No, but during the war, of course, that wasn't a consideration.
WILLIAM FINGER:
No, that would be afterwards.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
After the war, sure; it would drive them to Taiwan or Korea or someplace like that, sure. It's a labor intensive industry.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's beginning to change now some; they're trying to open in spinning and different categories.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, I understand that I wouldn't recognize what a mill is like anymore. I haven't been in one for … more than twenty years.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Let me ask you one other thing about the membership: did the 400,000 down to, say, 150,00? What was it by the time you left in '56?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh no, it was probably about 300,000.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, was it still that?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Still that high.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Did that mostly come from northern mills closing?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, but also some southern mills were lost, you know. You

Page 59
see, I give you a false figure with the 12,000 dues-payers, because when we had the check-off in the mill we never had a majority paying dues there, but I guess it was a fair sized number. Or in Cone Mills, we lost the check-off after that '51 strike; at the next bargaining round we lost the check-off. And, in a sense, that's a false figure, in that the strike was the cause of the loss, not the split.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Cone's never regained it either.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, no. I was in when that came back from U.T.W., when they had the elections. You can always win an election there, but you can't win a strike or get people to pay dues. But they like to have the union around.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The company does.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, the people.
WILLIAM FINGER:
The people do?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, there was lots of elections, you see. We won the elections there originally, and then the company challenged us the next time around because the people didn't pay dues, even with the check-off. We won every election, and every unit they challenged. And they challenged us twice. And then after the split, then the mills voted for the U.T.W. And U.T.W. wasn't effective worth anything there, and I guess we're not, the Textile Workers now isn't very much effective either. But the people always vote for the union.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Why?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I don't know why.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So it was down to 300,000, and you'd left.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I left, in '56. In '54, from a period of the last three or four years I was with the union I still kept the title of education director,

Page 60
but what I was doing was really trouble-shooting on organizing, North and South. And then we started a wage movement in the South with a big kind of leafleting campaign at Burlington Mills. And we decided to run it a little longer, and I worked on it. I was not in charge in the beginning. But I had a theory that if you could keep at it long enough you could win: if you'd wait until everybody'd been fired that the company was going to fire; and not hold elections until you had enough plants doing the same kind of work organized; and if you worked long enough at it workers would understand. It'd be like in the old days, when people built unions the hard way.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
And so I went down in about '55, I went down and took over that campaign. And we were trying to organize thirty-four mills at Burlington.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Hmm; in '55?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, this started in '54, going from Alta Vista, Virginia to Peerless Woolen Mill in … Chattanooga—or in Georgia, it's right below Chattanooga.11 And it was coming. But I decided that if I was going to do that I would have to move my family South; and I had one young son then, and I had two older kids who were in college. The girl went to college in the South, Guilford. And I just couldn't see myself moving the family South, so I quit.
WILLIAM FINGER:
That's when you went to Wayne?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
That's when I went to Wayne, yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You'd been living in New York?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, I'd been living in a hotel [laughter] in Charlotte.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, during that campaign?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, during that campaign, for a year; I used to get home occasional

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weekends.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Before we leave the textile years, did you ever make a study or have any direct contact with the kind of patterns of movement South? Like, Stevens moved south?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. You see, what's-his-name, Barkin, was so efficient at that kind of thing nobody else had to do it. Yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He did all that, then?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He did all that work. He's still around, you know.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Have you seen him?
WILLIAM FINGER:
No. Who's he working with now?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He's at the University of Massachusetts.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Still…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Still. He went over; he left the union when he got old enough to retire and get his full pension. And he went over and worked for the O.E.C.D.12 (that's something in Manpower, I guess) over, and then he came back to the University of Massachusetts. He would probably be … he has a better memory than I do, I think, and he would probably be more illuminating on this kind of thing.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Was George Perkel working there when you were?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, George was there. He left, I guess, when I was there to go to the New York City Department of Labor, and then later came back.
WILLIAM FINGER:
He was working there in the fifties?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, oh yes, yes. I don't remember when he came, but he was there.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you left the labor movement, in a way—I mean, for a little

Page 62
while.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, I went to a university and … ran a labor education program. It was good for me, in the sense that I'd been really in one union all my life—because even when I was in Reading working for the Central Labor Union, while I had other unions the big one was hosiery. I had Brookwood, of course, inbetween, but on unions I had had… And up there I got to see something of how other unions operate—much better than I did.13
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
… nine hours and got nine hundred dollars for the year.
WILLIAM FINGER:
For the year?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So where did you go after Wayne State? You came here?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
I came here; I came to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. had dumped the education director, and there was a … supposed crisis in labor education. And I was acceptable to… See, this was still pretty close to the merger: it was '60, four years really.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Had to be approved by both sides?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
You had to be acceptable. No, there was not a formal approval.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Then you could get blackballed, though?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, you could get blackballed. I was acceptable to both sides. I'd never gone with the C.I.O. Teachers' Union; I'd always stayed in the A.F.T. But I was C.I.O. and I had friends in the A.F.L., and so I was acceptable.
WILLIAM FINGER:
You came into the A.F.L.-C.I.O.?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, I was there for seven years.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you worked with George Gurnsey? Were you

Page 63
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No. Yes, yes. I was his boss—if anybody can be his boss!
WILLIAM FINGER:
Yes. [laughter] I met him a couple of times.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He's had a stroke, you know. Usually I go see him on Sunday afternoons.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, that's who you go see?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes, that's what I was trying to work around. But I have a cold and I don't want to expose him to it, so I haven't gone, you see.
WILLIAM FINGER:
But he's still… ?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
He's still affected by it. He's just like a spastic; it's not affected his mind, but…
WILLIAM FINGER:
It's not affected his mind; oh, that's good.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It's affected his speech and it's affected his movements. And since he's a polio victim, you know, he can't handle crutches, and so he can't move except in a wheelchair. But it's not affected his mind.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Oh, that's good.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It looked like it would for a while, but it hasn't. Maybe he's recovered from it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
So you stayed there until…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, after I was there for about a year I discovered that it was a big mistake, that I wasn't going to be able to do anything there, because they didn't understand, or whatever. And I started to make plans to do something else; but meanwhile my first wife (when I was there about a year and a half, a little more), she developed a cancer it had metastasized enough so that it was going to be terminal. And that was a comfortable place to stay. Nobody knew I was going to leave except people I was close to, and so I just stayed there until she died. And then I left.

Page 64
WILLIAM FINGER:
And went over to the Study Center?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I just left; I just quit and took a job doing… I had to stay in Washington because my mother was in a nursing home here, so I just stayed. And my daughter, her husband was in Viet Nam and she was living with me; she had been up to take care of her mother at the end. And so I just took a job doing a study of labor education, and the other things developed.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, you've had a lot of different real interesting experiences on labor. I mean, whole education…
Maybe a good way to end it is for you to maybe elaborate a little more what you mentioned almost at the beginning, that labor education has been neglected in the American labor movement.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Oh, I wrote a history (about six pages) in that study I did of labor education which says what I think. And it's really: labor education in the American labor movement, for the most part, the support of education has come from the left side—that is, the people who wanted to reform the labor movement, whatever they were—and from the outsiders. For a long time it was outsiders who had the interesting experiments in labor education, like the Southern School for Workers, Highlander, Brookwood: all these things, they were outsiders. The problem is then, of course, the relationship of the labor movement with them. But in general the average American trade unionist felt that you could learn by doing—and that's true. You can learn a lot by doing, and so on. And if you have a business unionism then you don't have to know more than your own industry and your own…
WILLIAM FINGER:
You don't have to know the political…
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
You don't have to know the political situation, all those kinds

Page 65
of things. And so that's what I meant. And the A.F.L., of course, has been always concerned about dual unionism—was for a long period, at the I.W.W. struggles and then at the terrible decline after World War I (so it almost didn't exist when the New Deal came), and so on. So all of this. But in the New Deal, of course, since the New Deal there's been some education which has been broader, and a lot of education in industrial unions (because they're depending on volunteer work, that is, stewards and others). And you've had to train them, and so that's been an education that's come up that way. But in general it attracts people who try to get a little further with it, who are interested in politics and economics and change, and so on. So you move with it, and I guess that's why I've always stayed with it.
WILLIAM FINGER:
A lot of people have left, though, that were in your era; they would get frustrated with the labor movement and move on.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Yes. Well, I guess if you take the example of that it would be Highlander; that would be the best example. Myles made tremendous contributions, but when the labor movement … when the C.I.O. kicked out the supposed Commie-led unions he didn't accept it. And he made a lot of contribution in the civil rights movement and other groups. I'm not sure what I've done in the last… Well, at first I early discovered that you don't change things very fast in the labor movement.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Or anyplace. [laughter]
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Anyplace, I guess; that's right. And I never was one that believed that the C.I.O. was a period of revolution—that is, of social revolution. The C.I.O. was a period of organizing; and most of the unions that were organized in those days were not great believers in radical political activity or anything else, despite what people say and even if the

Page 66
leadership (as it was in some cases) was radical and so on. I've seen some change, but not enough, not enough. I've thought about that as I get older; I thought, in a sense, it would have been easier to keep my revolutionary concerns which I had as a student if I'd gone into college teaching, [laughter] because in any institution you're compromising.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Of course.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
But you see it a little more clearly if you're compromising a movement you're building; you see, in college teaching…
WILLIAM FINGER:
You would constantly have young students.
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Well, no, that part of it, no. But not being able to function in the society: you see, that was the thing that bothered me.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Being a college teacher?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
Being in college. That's what they said to me: "You can teach what you want to, but you can't function in society." I couldn't; that bothered me. But that's changed, of course, now; that's changed.
WILLIAM FINGER:
It all changed in the sixties. [laughter]
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
It changed before, really; it really changed before. It really changed almost right away in the New Deal.
WILLIAM FINGER:
Well, thanks a whole lot. Have you got anything else?
LAWRENCE ROGIN:
No, I don't think so.
WILLIAM FINGER:
OK.
END OF INTERVIEW
1. Not guardian
2. Referring to Budenz, not Muste, who was never a Communist
3. My sister
4. Southern School for Workers? Commonwealth
5. These wages appear high to me now—probably should be 12-14-18 if a loom fixer
6. Incorrect—full-fashioned hosiery wages were at least twice, probably three times cotton mill wages.
7. Rieve became director of TWOC in 1937; President of TWUA at its first convention in 1939.
8. I should have said, "That had workers who had lost, etc."
9. Probably at least two dozen key TWUA field staff were hosiery unionists, particularly after 1942—when silk was taken for parachutes and the industry went to hell.
10. Of course, I was involved in the big cotton case. Did a lot of agitating and was responsible for the pamphlet that the union put out. Also helped find the witnesses we used.
11. Rossville, Georgia
12. Should be "he did something in Manpower"
13. What's missing here is that I taught a city college of New York evenings while at Brookwood—and got the C900 a year.