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View Resource T.M. Oral History

T.M., a non-union roofer and general contractor, was born and raised in Trenton, MI. T.M. got into the construction trade at age 18 after buying a house, realizing she could not afford to hire help she learned how to do the repair work herself. At the same time she became involved in drag racing and raced cars with her husband in the professional circuit for twelve years. T.M. returned to...

View Resource Sara Willis Oral History

Sara Willis is an electrician at the Chrysler Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. Willis grew up in Grand Rapids and moved to Detroit in the early 1980ís to care for her ailing grandmother. She applied for the Local 58 electrical apprenticeship at the urging of a friend and after two years was called to start the program. Willis describes the apprenticeship schooling and work experience, she did no...

View Resource J.W. Oral History

J.W. is a metal model maker and a trainer with the UAW. Born and raised in Flint, MI J.W. went to work on the line at Delphi East in the mid 1970ís. She worked on the line for 10 years, took the skilled trades test and scored very high. J.W. chose to be model maker because she was afraid of the heights involved with electrical work. J.W. describes her apprenticeship and the mistreatment she ha...

View Resource Carrie Wells Oral History

In this interview Carrie Wells, a tile setter from Detroit recalls how she entered the tile setting trade after attending college and working in a radio station. Wells explains the apprenticeship programís mandate to accept women and minorities and the high turnover of these minorities upon completion of their training. Wells cites the multiple generations and the persistence of racism, sexism...

View Resource Elaine Crawford Oral History

Elaine Crawford was the first women hired at the Ford Motor Co. Rouge engine plant since the Korean War. She was encouraged by a coworker to take the skilled trades test and after scoring very high decided to become an electrician until the oil crisis of 1973. After the setback with the skilled trades Crawford took a job with the City of Detroit at the Waste Water plant and soon was able to fill...

View Resource Linda Bart and Judy Ellul Oral History

In this interview, sisters Linda Bart and Judy Ellul discuss their careers as rod busters. Bart entered the federally funded Trade Union Leadership Council in Detroit in 1979 and accepted a position as a rod buster with the Reinforcing Iron Workers, Local 426. Ellul was recruited by her sister in the mid 1980ís. The sisters recall their first days on the job and explain the physical and menta...

View Resource M.G. Oral History

M.G. is a member of Local 659 and is an Electrician at Flint Engine South. M.G began working at GM and after spending several years on the production line she began to seek a more demanding position. She tested for the skilled trades and was accepted into the apprenticeship program in 1977, the second female and the first to complete the apprenticeship. M.G discusses the difference in treatment...

View Resource Ann Francis Oral History

Ann Francis, a member of UAW Local 652, was a pipefitter, recruiter and instructor for the UAW-GM apprentice program at Oldsmobile plant in Lansing until her retirement. Francis joined the Peace Corps after college and taught English in Malaysia. After her service ended she taught in Tennessee then earned a Masters and took a teaching job outside of Lansing, MI. Francis taught in alternative...

View Resource Eva Caradonna Oral History

Eva Cardonna grew up Detroit and worked as a medical technician in a Doctors office for 20 years. Cardonna was looking for a change and after completing a carpentry class enrolled at the Ferndale Carpenters Local apprenticeship school. Cardonna describes her first day on the job and how she learned to adjust to an all-male work environment. After completing her apprenticeship Cardonna was...

View Resource William Schumer Oral History

Interview with Mike Smith, covering Schumer's career as a business owner of the General Linen and Uniform Company in Detroit and his personal and professional involvement with the Jewish community.