Union History 

The following excerpts are from the 
"The Fighting Machinists, A Century of Struggle" 
by Robert G. Rodden.

FLOYD E. "RED" SMITH, 1969 -1977.
The old time craftsmen who intended the IAM to be an exclusive and selective fraternity of highly skilled journeymen machinists probably spun in their graves when Floyd Emery "Red" Smith was sworn in as the IAM's tenth International President. Not only was Red Smith not a journeyman, he was not even a machinist. 
Born to a family of itinerant farm workers in a long-gone crossroads village in Kansas in 1912, Red Smith's first and apparently only brush with trade came in 1929 when he went to work for 25 an hour as a machinist helper in a small shop in St. Louis after dropping out of high school at the age of seventeen. . . .In later years, Smith recalled that in travels to remote corners of Nevada he got to know IAM members in every part of the state and gradually began to serve as a sort of informal unpaid business representative for the Machinists Union in Nevada.

Born the son of a union printer in Cleveland in 1924, Bill Winpisinger got on the fast track early in life. As a burly teenager he was a ferocious competitor, playing both ways on the line in high school football and good enough at basketball to get a tryout as a catcher with the Yankee farm club. Possessing a keen and questing intelligence he was to much the rebel, too rambunctious and impatient for the faculty at Cleveland's West Tech High School. Helped by a little push from the authorities, he dropped out of the 11th grade a month after Pearl Harbor. With the world at war and itching for more action than a class room could offer, he went to work in a local machine tool factory. In later years he recalled that this first brush with factory life, though brief, was enough to teach him the evils of company unionism. In August 1942, four months before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Navy. Over the next three years he served in the Mediterranean, North Africa, England and was at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He was on his way to the Pacific when Japan surrendered. Though he credits the navy with teaching him his trade as a diesel mechanic, he says it also taught him to distrust the abuse and ignorance of autocratic authority.

More International Presidents


Union History

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of Siouxland Lodge 1426 IAMAW
Greg Enright