Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project: Interview with Edwin G. Drill
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Edwin Drill was born in 1910 in Shoreville, Wisconsin. His parents, George and Ella Drill, were both of German extraction; his father had been born in Germany. When Edwin was three years old, the family moved to Duluth, where his father became a crane operator at the U.S. Steel plant, and later at Universal Atlas Cement Company. Edwin Drill went to work at the western Paint and Varnish Company factory while he was still in high school, and upon graduation (Morgan Park High School, 1929), he took a full-time job at Western Paint as a maintenance engineer. He was instrumental in forming a labor union there in 1934. At first the local was a Federal local of the American Federation of Labor (#12079), and by 1938 it had joined the United Mineworkers of America's Chemical Division (Congress of Industrial Organizations). Still later, #12079 affiliated with the Gas, Coke, and Chemical Workers of the CIO. Ed Drill was active in the union, and served on the grievance committee, as treasurer of the local, and as representative to the Duluth CIO Council. He also became involved in the southern St. Louis County Farmer-Labor Party. From 1934 to 1936 he was secretary of that body. In 1961, he left Western Paint and started a marina company in Duluth, Drill's Marina, Inc. From his original site, he expanded to include a boat sales office at Lake Minnetonka (outside the Twin Cities) and finished off his career managing a new marina on the Knife River. Ed Drill was married to Jean Drill, and they had four children. At the time of the interview he was living in retirement in Duluth. "I am somewhat disappointed in the present political picture," he said. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Conditions that led to unionization at Western Paint Management; labor relations after unionization. Memories of labor leaders Earnest Pearson, Herman Griffith, Patrick Magraw. Struggle to get a charter for A F of L Federal local #12079. Development of unions among the workers in Duluth's heavy industries (Coolerator Company, Diamond Caulk and Horseshoe, U.S. Steel, and other steel-related manufacturers). United Steelworkers. of American locals #1028 and #1096. Left-wing leadership of the organizing efforts in various unions. Duluth CIO Council. Comparisons of the Duluth newspapers Labor World and Midwest Labor. Relationship between the CIO unions and the Farmer-Labor Party in Duluth. Memories of Congressman John T. Bernard. Merger of the Farmer-Labor and Democratic parties. Economic impact of the Second World War on Duluth, and the loss of heavy industry afterward. Ore shipping and ore boats on the Great Lakes. Deterioration of organized labor in Duluth. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: The interview is largely chronological and easy to follow. Mr. Drill gives a good overview of the development of unions in Duluth in the 1930s, though there is little or no information about unions in the post-war period.
Quantity 2 hours sound cassette
30 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 01:45:49 running time
Creation Interviewee: Drill, Edwin
Interviewer: Ross, Carl E.
Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 10/14/1987
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 30
Accession Number AV1990.228.14
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Twentieth Century Radicalism in Minnesota Oral History Project'

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