Transcript for: The UGWA challenges management during negotiations.
President, United Garment Workers of America, Local 120 (1970-78)
We were negotiating and the guy came from Toronto
And they always threatened us about closing the plants.
Before negotiations I had called the Executive.
See, we had shares...
If you were there 15 years, you got 15 shares,
So we used to get a notification when they had their board meeting in San Francisco. I had gotten this notification and I called the Executive and said, "What do you folks think if I went to San Francisco to this board meeting?"
And I said, "I will find out if they're going to close the plant."
So they had the board meeting and then afterwards the fellow started wandering around and said anybody that had questions would please ask.
So I asked him. I said, "You know our people are upset that there is some talk about you closing our plant." He says, "No, we're not planning to close your plant." He says, "Your plant is the best plant we've got."
So we came back and sat with that and started negotiating.
He says to me, "This is what I've got to offer, and if you don't take it they're going to close the plant." I said, "Like hell they are." He looks at me, "Who told you?" I said, "I got it from the horse's mouth..."
So I said, "You can take your junk and go back home where you came from, and come back with something that you're going to offer us." And he did.
And then the next time we were negotiating, three years later, we already had a different international rep.
And so this guy came, and in Ontario they had a completely different contract.
Everything was rewritten in it. I picked it up and looked at it, and I threw it at him like that. I said, "You take that back and go back where you came from." I said, "We didn't come here to rewrite our agreement, we came here to negotiate." I said, "If you're prepared to negotiate, fine. If you're not, you can go back. We don't want to even look at this." I said, "It took us 75 years to get where we are, and we're not about to give it up."