Seligman Swartzman Gillis Sandman Joffe Yachad Lederman Fleishman

Francis William McBAINAge: 85 years19051991

Francis William McBAIN
Given names
Francis William
פרנסיס וויליאם מקבאין
Birth July 31, 1905 (Tamuz 28, 5665)
Bottineau, North Dakota, USA - בוטינאו, ארה"ב

Tool Operator
Chicago, Illinois, USA - שיקגו, ארה"ב

Death 1991 (5751) (Age 85 years)
Ladysmith, Wisconsin, USA - לידיסמית, ארה"ב

SourceStella Baldev - Personal Testimony
Publication: Email from Stella Baldev, September 2010
SourceGross-Weinberg Family Tree
Marriage 1/30/1942 Gertrude (Asna Gitel) Fleischman (1912–2009) 1942 Death of Wife Gertrude (Asna Gitel) Fleischman(1912–2009) 13 March 2009 • Ladysmith, Rusk, Wisconsin 2009
Charged for Communist Membership - "Communist activities in the Chicago, Illinois area. : Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-ninth Congress, first session" 2-3/9/1952 (UNITED ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS OF AMERICA; AND FARM EQUIPMENT WORKERS COUNCIL, UERMWA) Testimony: . Wood. ^Yho do you have, Mr. Counsel ? Mr. Tavenner. Will Mr. Francis W. McBain come forward, please ? Mr. Wood. Do you solemnly swear the evidence you shall give to this subcommittee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ? Mr. McBain. I do. TESTIMONY OF FRANCIS WILLIAM McBAIN, ACCOMPANIED BY HIS COUNSEL, DAVID B. ROTHSTEIN Mr. Wood. Have a seat, please. Are you represented by counsel? Mr. McBain. Yes. Mr. Wood. The same counsel who identified himself a while ago? Mr. Rothstein. Yes, sir. Mr. Tavenner. State your full name, please, sir. Mr. McBain. Francis William McBain. Mr. Tavenner. When and where were you born ? Mr. McBaijst. I was born in North Dakota. Do you want the city? Mr. Tavenner. Yes. Mr, McBain. Bottineau, a litle town there. Mr, Tavenner. What was the date of your birth ? Mr. McBain, July 31, 1905. Mr. Tavenner. Will you tell the committee briefly what your educational training has been ? Mr. McBain. I went through 4 years of high school, after grade school, in Bottineau, then I went to 1 year of college, the State College of North Dakota, and 1 year to, well, it is in a different town, it is the same thing, actually I have 2 years of college in engineering, and that is my general education. Mr. Tavenner. I believe you served in World War II, didn't you ? Mr. McBain, That is correct, Mr. Tavenner. What was the period of time you were in the Army ? Mr. McBain. I was in the Navy. Mr. Tavenner. In the Navy ? Mr, McBain, Yes, sir. Mr. Tavenner. Excuse me. Mr. McBain. There is quite a difference, I was a little white-hat in the Navy. I enlisted in the Navy ; do you want the time ? Mr. Tavenner. The period of time when you were in the Navy. Mr. McBain. It was I enlisted in the last part of 1942, and I am not sure, the exact date, it was some time before I was called, but it was near the last part of 1942 and I got out on points in September of 1945, (Representative John S. Wood left the hearing room.) Mr, Tavenner, With the exception from the period of the last part of 1942 until September of 1945, how had you been employed since the completion of your school work ? Mr. McBain. You want the time after I finished school and skip- ping that time I was in the Pacific ? Well, actually I got out originally, I graduated from the first year in college I believe in 1923 or 1924. Mr. Tavenner. Let us skip part of that period, begin with 1935, Mr. McBain, In 1935 I was in Chicago, and I am a tool maker by trade, and I worked in job shops in Chicago for quite some time; that is my trade. Mr. Tavenner. When did you first come to Chicago ? Mr. McBain. I believe it was in 1926, I believe, and most of that time I worked as a tool maker, and beginning with 1930 the rest of it is the depression. In 1935 I worked, I believe, near this period for Belke manufacturing plant, a plant on the West Side, and I will say up until 1937 I worked, I am not too clear on it because I was pretty hungry and I worked in a lot of shops and I even ran lathes in basements to survive, but I actually worked most of that time in the trade, although one time I ran a tool machine for 23 cents an hour in order to eat. Around 193G, or I believe 1936, 1 had a job as a model maker and a job shop model maker, which is scale modeling, it is even more skilled than tool making. Mr. Tavenner, In Chicago? Mr. McBain. Yes, in Chicago ; and I can't think of the exact name, and I don't know if they are in business, it was a job shop where they made exhibits for different companies, and you are familiar with general model making, scale model making for exhibits. After I left there I worked as an experimental tool maker in a plant on the West Side of Chicago, I believe General Scientific, or some name similar to that, the same thing as a tool maker, and an experimental worker. Then after that, or during all of this period I probably was out of work in between times. I went to work for the Rosenwald Museum, Industry and Science on the South Side as a model maker, following the same thing there, and I want to make clear they are fairly closely related, tool maker and scale model maker is, related. Mr. Tavenner. I didn't intend for you to go quite into so much detail, I just wanted to get a general idea of your employment, and the places of employment. Mr. McBain. After I left the museum, I worked for a while at the Westinghouse plant in Chicago. Mr. Tavenner. About when did you begin your employment with the "Westinghouse Co.? Mr. McBain. I believe it was in 1939. Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue there ? Mr. McBain. I believe I worked through 1940, and I am not just clear on that, I think it was in 1940 that I quit that. After I quit there I went to work for the NYA, and I don't remember the dates, but that would establish it, when they first opened up in Chicago, as a trial, they had a machine shop on Huron, it was the beginning of the NYA shops. I worked with them for over 2 years and I was a supervisor of the NYA machine shop when I quit. Mr. Tavenner. By NYA you mean National Youth Administra- tion? Mr. McBain. That is correct. Mr. Tavenner. How long did you work for the National Youth Administration. Mr. McBain. I believe around 2 years. Mr. Tavenner. Around 2 years ? Mr. McBain. Yes, sir. Mr. Tat2nner. Does that bring you up about the time you went into the military ? Mr. McBain. I got leave from the NYA and enlisted in the Navy and I was working, that is correct. Mr. Tavenner. On your return from the service in 1945, what was the first employment you obtained? Mr. McBain. Well, first Mr. Tavenner. Or were you self-employed ? Mr. McBain. I was, first I went out to Denver when I got out, my mother was living in a little town out of Denver, my health was pretty bad, and I put in for disability and I got some kind of a bug in the Pacific and I never could get it identified and my health was pretty bad and I went out to Denver thinking I would bum around out there for a while because the climate was very good, but the employment wasn't too good, and so I started a venture of my own, a little machine shop. Mr. Ta^nner. Where was that ? Mr. McBain. It was in a town on the highway out of Denver, I will think of it in a moment. Mr. Tavenner. Strassburg? Mr. McBain. That is correct, it is a little town, and it has a lot of names to it, but that is correct. I bought the machinery through the veterans preference of the RFC. Mr. Tavenner. Rather than to go so much into detail about this, how long were you in business for yourself in Strassburg ? Mr. McBain. I believe I ran out of money about the following fall, and I quit, and I went out of business. I couldn't do it no more. Mr. Tatsnner. Were you at any time on the pay roll of the UE while you were in Strassburg ? Mr. McBain. Well, here is what happened: When I quit this ma- chine shop, and I went broke, I filled out an application for an organizer for the UE and I was accepted but I couldn't say whether it was right about that time, I didn't work any place else, the application, when I got the job could have come back within that time, but that is approximately the time. Mr. Tavenner. Did you do any work as an organizer while you were in Colorado for the UE ? Mr. McBain. I Vv-as on their staff in Colorado ; that is true. Mr. Tavenner. Where did you work ? And what was the nature of your work while in Colorado ? Mr. McBain. Well, first I was there all by myself, and I simply checked plants and so forth for possible organizing purposes, for new organizing purposes. Mr. Tavenner. How long did you continue the work of an organizer in Colorado? Mr. McBain. I don't know the exact time but they decided to discontinue it and I got a transfer and I transferred into Chicago. Mr. Tavenner. When did you come to Chicago on this assignment? Mr. McBain. It was in the spring of 1947, 1 believe. Mr. Tavenner. Well, did you do any organizational work of any character in Colorado besides that for the UE? (Witness conferred with his counsel.) Mr. McBain. I will have to decline to answer that on my privilege under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. What was the date when you left Colorado for Chicago ? Mr. McBain. I don't remember the date, it was in the spring. Mr. Tavenner. Of what year ? Mr. McBain. I think I said before I thought it was 1947. Mr. Tavenner. I was not certain of it. Mr. Moulder. Mr. Tavenner, does the committee have Iniowledge and information concerning what other organizational work he was engaged in? Mr. Tavenner. I am not certain it does. It was inquiring to find out. I wouldn't state what full information the committee might have in the form of leads. Mr. Walter. Proceed, Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Tavenner. WHien you became an employee of the National Youth Administration, were you required to sign an affidavit relating to possible Communist Party membership ? (The witness conferred with his counsel.) Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that on my privilege under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. I am asking what you stated in an affidavit, but did you sign an affidavit relating to it ? ]Ir. JMcBain. I still decline to answer under my privilege of the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. On July 4, 1947, did you attend an affair at the Justice Park Gardens, Justice, 111., under the auspices of the Illinois district of the Communist Party, at which time Foster was the principal speaker ? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under my privilege of the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Were you in attendance at a meeting on June 6, 1948, of the Civil Rights Congress rally, sponsored by the Civil Rights Congress, and held at the Colliseum, Fifteenth and AVabash Avenue, Chicago, which conference related to the defeat of the Mundt-Nixon bill which was pending in the United States Senate ? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under my privilege under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Will you state whether or not at that meeting there was a person by the name of Russ Nixon, among others, who spoke in that meeting? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under the privilege of the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Are you acquainted with Russ Nixon? (Witness conferred with his counsel.) Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that on my privilege of the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Do you know that Russ Nixon was the legislative director of the UE ? (Witness conferred wdth his counsel.) Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under privilege of the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Did you attend a convention of the Communist Party in Denver, Colo., on May 18 and 19, 1946 ? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under my privilege under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Since coming to Chicago, have you acted as an organizer of the Communist Party in any way ? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that under my privilege under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Are you now a member of the Communist Party ? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that. Mr. Tavenner. Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? Mr. McBain. I decline to answer that, under my privilege, under the fifth amendment. Mr. Tavenner. Are you at this time an organizer for the UE ? (The witness conferred with his counsel.) Mr. McBain Will you state that again ? Mr. Taatenner. I say, are you at this time an organizer of the UE ? I understood 3'ou came to Chicago when you transferred as an organizer of the UE. Mr. McBain. You mean am I on the UE payroll ? Mr. Ta'enner. No. Mr. McBain. No, I am not. Mr. Tatenner. Well, are you an organizer of the UE? At this time do you hold a position, whether you are on the payroll or not, do you hold a position with the UE? Mr. McBain. Yes, I do. Mr. Ta't:nner. What is that position? Mr. McBain. Well, do you mean in the shop or in the UE union where I work, as a tool maker ? Mr. Tavenner. Well, there are rank-and-file members of the UE, and then there are members of the UE who occupy official positions in the organizations. Mr. McBain. Well, I will state that now where I work in the In- gersoll Products Division as a tool maker, I work as a tool maker, and I am also the elected chairman of the plant bargaining committee; as such, it is the shop bargaining committee, and an elected committee member and I am chairman of that committee; and also since you raised the point, I would like to raise a question here that I believe that before we are in a little tough spot, being called clown here at this time, that we are under negotiations in this plant at the time and I am chairman of the shop committee, and the company put out a letter stating that we were going to be investigated before I was even subpenaed to this committee and right now whether this committee is tied up with that, it certainly is, the company certainly is taking terrific advantage of this by trying to do a job on us, and I have a letter Mr. Tat<:nner. Now you say that you are put on a spot by being called here. You mean in connection with Communist Party activities, that is the only thing that could put you on the spot, isn't it? If you were not connected with the Communist Party in any way, how would you be on the spot ? Mr. McBain. Can I give my explanation of what I mean by being put on the spot ? Mr. Tavenner. Well, if it relates to my question. Mr. McBain. I would like to. You asked me what I meant when I said it, and can I give you my meaning of what I said ? Mr. Tavenner. If you answer my question; I am not going to consent to your making a speech about it, if you are not going to do it in connection with my question. Mr. McBain. If you were chairman of a bargaining committee and the plant was about to go on strike, and you are responsible for the actions of that plant, involving over 1,100 workers and you are down here with a strike deadline coming up, and unable to meet with company, I tliink that I have a right to say I am on the spot. That is what I am talking about. Mr. Tavenner. Unquestionably, if it interferes with your time that you ought to be devoting to something else, I can see how you mean being put on the spot. Mr. McBain. Because this thing is pretty hot, there is a deadline on the strike coming up, and I am certainly the chairman of this committee that is elected in the shop and I work in the shop, and I am certainly, I would say, the thing involves a problem because the strike is set for a week from Friday, that is 8 or 9 days, and I have no chance to negotiate with the company, to find out what is happening. As chairman of this committee who is responsible for the bargaining, by rights I should be there, so I could take care of it. Mr. Jackson. Mr. Counsel, was any request received from the witness that his subpena be laid over ? Mr. Tavenner. None that I have learned of. Mr. Jackson. Was such a request made to the committee, that in light of the circumstances, which you have detailed, a hardship would be worked upon you and that your appearance should be delayed? Has any such request been made ? Mr. McBain. No. Well, the fact the company put out this letter, and so forth. Mr. Jackson. Isn't it a fact, Mr. McBain, that a large part of the tough spot in which you find yourself is the fact that 95 percent of the witnesses— and I take a minimum figure— who claim the protection of the fifth amendment before this committee have either been identified or will have been identified as members of the Communist Party, and is that not a large part of the tough spot you find yourself in, because here is the greatest forum in the world, if you have nothing to hide from the people with whom you work and with whom you are associated, here the newspapers of the entire country are represented, and you have no greater forum than simply to answer the questions of the committee counsel honestly, fully, and frankly when they are asked? There is a great chance for you to get off that tough spot, if it has anything to do with the feelings of the people you work with in connection with communism. Mr. Walter. We have gone very far afield. Did you make a request that you be permitted to testify at a future date ? Mr. McBain. I didn't know that that was possible; I did not know that there was such a thing. Mr. Walter. Well, you are represented by counsel. Did counsel make such a request ? Mr. RoTHSTEiN. Counsel did not, and may counsel accept full responsibility for the failure to realize that such a request might not be made successfully. Mr. AValter. In many instances this committee has deferred hearings for this very reason. Proceed, Mr. Tavenner. Mr. Tavenner. When you came to Chicago in 1947, you were a UE organizer, and how long did you remain a UE organizer? Mr. McBain. I quit in the last part of 1947, and I am not exactly sure of the time, and I quit being an organizer, I believe, in 1947. Mr. Tavenner. You say that you quit ; I didn't understand you. Mr. McBain. That is right ; 1 quit. Mr. Ta^^nner. You mean resigned as organizer? Mr. McBain. That is correct. Mr. Tavenner. "Wliat was the purpose of your resignation? Mr. McBain. Well, I don't know if you can understand this : I am a toolmaker, and I feel I am a skilled worker, and I felt I would like to go back into a shop, and I have stayed in a shop ever since, because I decided for one reason, as a toolmaker, you have skills which are very highly developed, over a long period of time can become very rusty, and I simply made a decision to go back. Mr. Tavenner. Did you ever sign a Communist tiffidavit under the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act ? Mr. McBain. State that again, will you? Mr. Tavenner. Were you ever requested to sign a non-Communist affidavit under the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act ? (The witness conferred with his counsel.) Mr. McBain. To my knowledge I have never been requested to sign one, as far as I know, as far as I can remember. Mr. Tavenner. I have no further questions. Mr. Moulder. I have no questions. Mr. Velde. I have no questions. Mr. Jackson. I have no questions. Mr. Walter. Is there any reason why the witness cannot be ex- cused? Mr. Tavenner. No, sir. Mr. RoTiiSTEiN. Mr. Chairman, may I have permission, please, to address a request to the committee. 1 am advised not later than 15 minutes ago that this committee will honor a request for a delay for the reasons to the subcommittee if the persons subpenaed are heavily involved in negotiations, and I will state to you frankly I didn't realize it was a fact. Mr. Walter. We have done it on dozens of occasions, and we have done it at the request of your union. Mr. RoTHSTEiN. I am getting my feet wet here, as it were, and I didn't know that. Mr. Walter. And you know your way around pretty well. Mr. RoTHSTElN. I asked Mr. Tavenner for a copy of the rules. Mr. Tavenner. I said there are no printed rules of the committee. Mr. Walter. We operate under the rules of the House of Repre- sentatives. Mr. RoTHSTEiN. All right, I will stop playing buyer. Mr. Walter. Your next witness. Mr. RoTHSTEiN. I haven't finished my request. Mr. Fielde, who is subpenaed, and Mr. Oakes, who is subpenaed, and Mr. Gilpin, who was subpenaed, are heavily involved in the present negotiations with the International Harvester Co. in an effort to settle a strike involving 26,000 or 27,000 people. Their presence at the negotiations I am informed is materially necessary in order that progress be made, if progress can be made, in the settlement of the issues, and therefore in their behalf, and I am requested to ask that their subpenas be ex- tended — is that what you call it — to another date. Mr. Walter. We will take it up in executive session. Your re- quest comes very late, I might say. You should have made it before we prepared the agenda, you know, and you don't put tliese hearings together in 5 minutes. Mr. RoTHSTEiN. I agree with you it comes pretty iate, and I trust my explanation as to why it comes late will be exem])ted with the candor with which it was made. Mr. Walter. All right, we will take it up in executive session. Mr. McBain. Could I put the letter in evidence that the company sent out to the employees ? Mr. Walter. I would like very much to see it.