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

Working people ultimately will side with the union

Even if initially unsuccesful, all labor efforts were forward progressive when taken as a whole. Labor unions aren't perfect, McGill says, but they are necessary and do more for working people than any other organizations.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Eula McGill, December 12, 1974. Interview G-0039. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

LEWIS LIPSITZ Of course, there were a lot of early labor struggles, not only in North Carolina, but like the Homestead Steel Strike and the Pullman Strike and all these kinds of things. Did that have much effect on you or on the labor movement, the way that those early struggles were waged? Did it influence your ideas about things?
It influenced me because I always felt that even though we would talk about it, even in the home we would talk about it and my mother and father and myself, as well as the people who worked with me. We always considered back then that if you tried and failed this time, you didn't actually fail, it was a step forward even though you didn't at that time obtain your objective. And that's how we felt about those early struggles. Had it not been for them, we would be back there today, we wouldn't be where we are today. So, that's the attitude that we took, who were firm trade unionists. Nothing could turn us around because we believed that was the only answer for working people. LEWIS LIPSITZ Did you ever feel like an outsider as a firm trade unionist, that you were the minority? Or, you didn't feel that way, I take it.
Oh, I think that I felt that the people that believed in unions . . . not "believed in," I don't want to say that, but the actual trade unionists, I would say that 99% of the working people believe in the union. They give this illusion sometimes about the way that things happen, but actually believe in it. Some of them don't have the courage to stand and put up the fight, to be ostracized or lose their friends and things like that, but actually believing in the union and believing that that is the thing the workers should do. I have often said this and it has been proven in later years after we got a little stronger and were able to break down some of the opposition of the manufacturors of the company, you remove that resistance and these people are actually free to make a choice, then they will choose the union. Even with its faults, I've said this, nothing is perfect and anything run by people is going to have mistakes, but I don't know any organization that is doing as much, or anything, to uplift the working people and the general public, but a union. It's the only one I know of. We pick up other organizations sometimes that lend us support, but that is the driving force that makes things happen on the scene.