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Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with James Thomblison
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: James Thomblison was born in 1892 in Canada, to parents of Irish extraction. At the age of fifteen or sixteen, he became an itinerant worker, logging in the winters and working in the harvest fields in the summers. In this way he met organizers for the Industrial Workers of the World and Canada's One Big Union, both of which he joined. By the end of World War I, he had settled in Winnipeg, and started a family. In the anti-union campaigns that followed the war, Mr, Thomblison found himself blacklisted in Winnipeg, and took his young family to Minneapolis. There he went to work for the Twn Cities Rapid Transit Company as a streetcar mechanic. In the early 1930s he was a founding member of Local 1005 of the Amalgamated Association of Street Electric Railway and Motor Coach Employees of America. Mr. Thomblison served on the executive board of his local for many years. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Anti-union campaign in Winnipeg following the First World War. Company unions at the Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company, 1920s. Formation of Local 1005, and company opposition to it. Impressions of Fay Rice. Negotiations with the company. Relations with the Teamsters, and organizing assistance from the Central Labor Union. Wildcat streetcar strikes. Working conditions that led to unionization. Effects of the transition from streetcars to buses on the workers, 1950s. Stories of the 1922 streetcar strike in Minneapolis. Memories of IWW organizers in Canadian lumber camps, 1910s. Stories of the logging camps. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: The interview is fairly sequential, and Mr. Thomblison's memory is clear. The interview has not been edited at all, so the spellings of ell the names is only approximate. RESTRICTIONS ON USE: Interview cannot be quoted directly for publication.
1 hour sound cassette
32 pages transcript
Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
01:01:12 running time
Interviewee: Thomblison, James
Interviewer: Bruce, D. Alan
Made in: Blaine, Anoka County, Minnesota, United States
|Holding Type||Oral History - Interview|
OH 30 (Library Call Number)
AV1990.228.80 (Accession Number)
MHS Library Catalog
Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project'