Charlotte Local 660 History

Charlotte – Bits and Pieces of History

  Charlotte Local No. 660

IAFF Charter Application, March 22, 1940

IAFF President: Fred R. Baer

IAFF Secretary/Treasurer: Geo. J Richardson

Local 660 Temporary President: G.W. Hopkins

Local 660 Temporary Secretary/Treasurer: J.J. Thomas

Organized By: H.L. McCrorie, Teamsters Local # 71 Business Agent

Queen City is Also King among Organizations

The North Carolina FederationistMay, 1940

By H. L. Kiser, First Vice President

North Carolina State Federation of Labor

All of us are glad that our Fire Fighters of the city of Charlotte have received their charter, and are now a regularly organized Local Union, an official member of our Family of Labor.  Brother McCroris and other active and tireless union workers are being thanked by the Fire Fighters and other groups for the splendid assistance they rendered in perfecting the organization of the Local Union of Fire Fighters

Great Activity in Charlotte Unions

The North Carolina Federationist, May 1940

By:  W. S. Campbell, Vice President

North Carolina State Federation of Labor

One of the most encouraging events to happen recently was when the newly created Local No. 660, of the Fire fighters Association, affiliated with Central Body and also the State Federation of Labor, J. J. Thomas is president, and E. J. Dixon, secretary-treasurer.  Welcome to our fold, Brother Firemen!  We are proud of you, and here is our congratulations and best wishes.  We pledge to you our enthusiastic cooperation

Charlotte Passes 100,000 Population Mark

The North Carolina FederationistJuly, August, 1940

By:  W. S. Campbell, Vice President

North Carolina State Federation of Labor

City Employees Union is seeking Civil Service protection.  Over 100 signed for coverage and if approved, will force government to extend the system to entire force.  State and County Employees Unions are seeking the same along with a pay hike.

Our Firemen’s Local which has affiliated with both Central and State Bodies have petitioned city councilmen for a pay hike and it looks like it will be assured when the budget for the next fiscal year is approved.  Labor has endorsed the above petitions unanimously.

Vice President Smith’s First Letter

The North Carolina FederationistSeptember 1940

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Raleigh District

In the outset I would like to express my appreciation to my many friends and supporters at the AFL convention held in Durham.  It was with a grateful heart that I returned to my home city with the knowledge that our cause (Fire Fighters) had been placed before the convention and recognized as just.  Let me pay especial tribute to the Fire Fighters from both Wilmington and Charlotte; also to Brother Jack Moore of Charlotte, and many others, too numerous to mention here.  Without their help I am sure we would have failed.  To all of you, let me say again, I thank you from the very depths of my heart.

Brother Davis, president of the Fire Fighters Local 548, Raleigh, and myself visited Durham and were successful in signing up 53 of a total 62 members of the Durham Fire Department.  While there Brother A. E. Brown appeared on the scene and proved very valuable in signing up such a large percentage.

New Organization Being Formed in Charlotte

The North Carolina FederationistOctober, 1940

By:  W. S. Campbell, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Charlotte District

Our Firefighters Local No. 660 is now 100%, and one of the most progressive and cooperative Unions here.  This Local gave a free dinner recently in the Palmer Fire College, one of the finest clubs in the city.  Many civic and labor officials were present and spoke briefly.  One high-light remark was made by Mayor Ben Douglas who stated that he favored the organization and collective bargaining, and wished the Local and Labor every success.  Thanks for the dinner.

Fire Fighters Set Up State Organization In N. C.

The North Carolina FederationistNovember, 1940

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of labor Raleigh District

On October 29, 1940, delegates from all organized fire departments inNorth Carolina met in High Point to install charter, and elect officers for their new organization, “The North Carolina Fire Fighters Association.”

The convention was called to order at 10 A. M. by T. G. Womack, President, High Point Fire Fighters Association, who in turn introduced Brother Hugh Kilgore, Vice President, International Association of Fire Fighters, and presented him with the gavel.  Brother Kilgore presided over the convention until the officers were elected.  The first speaker on the program was the Honorable Arthur Kirkman, Mayor, High Point.  Mayor Kirkman delivered a short address of welcome.  Speakers following the Mayor:  George J. Richardson, Secretary-Treasurer, I. A. of F. F.; Brother A. E. Brown, A. F. of L. organizer, and Brother George Kendall, A. F. of L. representative from Charlotte, all of whom delivered most inspiring talks.

Most outstanding at this convention was the fact that everyone attending seemed to be in a serious mood, there for the purpose of transacting such business as necessary to bring about a closer fellowship, and understanding among all firemen in North Carolina, that we, by our collective action may work to the same end, and not at cross purposes.  By our action at this convention I think that everyone is agreed that we have marked the beginning of a new era for firemen in this state.  I am proud of the way the delegates conducted themselves.  With this spirit prevailing, we cannot fail, we shall go forward.

The convention adopted a resolution calling for a statewide civil service law covering all departments in cities having a population of 30,000 or more. With this in mind I urge the State Federation to lend whatever assistance possible in our behalf at this session of the legislature.

Internal IAFF Memo to Draw Up State Charter

IAFF Historical Document – October 15, 1940

Mr. Clark:

            Following is a list of Cities to be placed on a charter for “The North Carolina Fire Fighters Association.”

  1. Local No. 548, Raleigh
  2. Local No. 638, Wilmington
  3. Local No. 660, Charlotte
  4. Local No. 668, Durham
  5. Local No. 673, High Point

Please send the charter to Mr. K.J. Smith, Sec’y-Treas., Local No. 548,2511 Stafford Avenue, Raleigh, NC.

                                                            Fraternally yours,

                                                            George G. Richardson


Labor Busy In Charlotte

The North Carolina Federationist, February, 1941

By:  Stough Campbell, Vice President North Carolina

Federation of Labor Charlotte District

Labor in Charlotte is keeping in daily contact with President C. A. Fink, who is in Raleigh attending the sessions of the General Assembly and trying to induce the law-making body to adopt Labor’s legislative program.  It is encouraging to know that each and every Local Union in this jurisdiction is on the alert to assist President Fink at a moments notice in any way that these organizations can be helpful to him.

The Central Labor Union is on record in favor of the bill providing civil service for all members of fire departments and police forces in North Carolinacities having a population of 30,000 or more.  The three legislators from this district have been notified of this action and their support solicited.

Firefighters Going To Town

The North Carolina FederationistMarch 1941

By:  Stough Campbell, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Charlotte District

Firemen’s Union with the help of the Central Body extinguished the red hot blaze that was started by labor’s enemies to try and abolish the local civil service commission, and turned right around and engaged in sponsoring along with other Firemen Unions a state-wide civil service bill, covering cities with a population of 30,000 or more.  At the present time this Local Union has not been recognized by Chief Palmer who, it is stated got elected president of the National Association of Fire Chiefs by George Richardson, grand secretary-treasurer of the Firemen’s International Union of the A. F. of L.  Labor here has turned against the local chief and from all reports, there is a movement on foot to have him defeated after the next city election which will be held this spring.  It has been reported Chief Palmer was only elected last time by one small vote and it will be easy to remove him this time with labor working together 100 per cent.  The Firemen’s retirement bill is somewhat similar to the one now operated by the U. S. Civil Service Commission in Washington.


Fire Fighters Appreciate Charlotte’s Welcome

The North Carolina FederationistSeptember 1941

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

      State Federation of Labor Raleigh District

The Second Annual Convention of the North Carolina Fire Fighters Association was held in Charlotte August 9 and 10.  Addresses of welcome were delivered by the city manager, Mr. Armstrong, city councilman, Mr. ClaudeAlbea, Brother Jack Moore of the Central Labor Union, and Brother StoughCampbell, ex-vice president of the Stated Federation of Labor, from CharlotteDistrict.  In attendance at this convention along with the delegates was our International President, Mr. Fred W. Bear of Washington D. C., who made a very inspiring speech.  Never in the history of paid fire departments, have the firemen of North Carolina received a more hardy and genuine welcome than we received in Charlotte.  The firemen of Charlotte are to be congratulated on the banquet and entertainment, which added greatly to the prestige of our association.  Labor leaders from all over the country along with people such as Dr. Ralph McDonald, Dr. Spencer Miller, and other equally prominent people attended our banquet with us.  We are proud of recognition gained right there in Charlotte.

We did not adopt any definite legislative program at this time, as we meet again before the legislature.  It was agreed however, that we would seek legislation for a 72-hour work week at the next session of the general assembly, and no doubt at our next convention we will have something to add to this in the way of legislation.

The following three articles give a glimpse of the history of how North Carolina Legislators

Declared illegal “Public Employee Unions” and “Contracts between Public

Employee Unions and their Employers.”

Hoffa Threatens Strike across Nation if Antitrust Laws Pass

Asheville Citizen-Times, Wednesday, May 20, 1959

BROWNSVILLE, TEX (AP) – James Hoffa Tuesday threatened a nationwide strike of all labor if Congress harnesses unions with antitrust laws.

            “They talk about a secondary boycott,” the short husky Teamster president said in scorn.  “We can call a primary strike across the nation that will straighten out the employers once and for all.”

            The antitrust proposal came from Senator John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) in a recent Senate speech, Hoffa said.  Some business interests have proposed in congressional hearings that all unions be put under antitrust laws.

            In Washington, AFL-CIO President George Meany made it clear Hoffa could not count on AFL-CIO Unions in any such protest strike.  Meany said “Hoffa’s threat is a pretty good indication, if any indication was needed before, that we were perfectly right in kicking the Teamsters out of the AFL-CIO.” “When legislation is enacted and we don’t like it, then it is our policy to seek out change through the legislative system and not through revolution,” Meany said.

            McClellan denounced Hoffa’s remarks as a threat against Congress and the people.  “Don’t minimize or underestimate the danger to our free economy and internal security that are involved in this threat,” he said.  “Such dangers do exist. They are real and sometimes something must be done about them.”

            The 300 delegates of the South Atlantic Coast District Convention of the International Longshoremen’s Union cheered Hoffa’s remarks should such a law be passed.  “The only answer is that if such a law passes, we would have all our contracts end on a given date,” the turbulent Teamster Chief declared.  From the context it was clear that he referred to all unions, just not the Teamsters.  “Such a uniform contract expiration would permit all unionized workers to strike at the same time.”

            Hoffa also alluded to the possibility of a nationwide strike in the current issue of life Magazine.  Hoffa is quoted as saying, “We may eventually have to do what labor unions do in Europe and call for general strikes.  We are organizing all transportation fields.  We are trying to create a conference of transportation unions.  So we are now in the position to control the strike issue.  If Congress is stupid enough to pass a bill banning secondary boycotts, we will fix it so all our contracts expire on the same day.”

            In Washington, Sen. Pat McNamara (D-Mich.), himself a onetime Teamster official said, “Any such strike would be suicidal, just crazy.”

Union Ban Clears House

Asheville Citizen-Times, Thursday, May 21, 1959

Raleigh (AP) – A proposed law to prohibit union membership for law enforcement officers and firemen passed the halfway mark Wednesday in its legislative journey.

            The House completed action on the bill with an overwhelming third reading vote after a supporter painted a picture of firemen pressing demands while cities burn down.

            The name of Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa also entered the debate on the need for bill sponsored by Rep. Frank Snepp of Mecklenburg as an outgrowth of a Teamster’s organizing drive among Charlotte policemen.  The bill now goes to the Senate.

            Rep. Wayland Spruill of Bertie raised the prospect of idle firemen in the case of fire in arguing for the measure to outlaw union membership.  “Supposed they call a strike and said, “We won’t pick up a hose, we won’t put out fires unless you do what we want.”

N.C. Outlaws Union Membership for Firemen, Enforcement Officers

Asheville Citizen-Times, Thursday, June 4, 1959

RALEIGH (AP) – A ban on union membership for law enforcement and firemen became law Wednesday.  Bitterly fought by labor officials and spokesmen for firemen, its passage through the legislature echoed with the name of Jimmy Hoffa, Teamster’s National President.  Sponsors called it a needed bulwark against union bids for power.

            Fiery debate before the Senate enacted the measure with the voice interjecting the name of Charles Cannon, Tar Heel textile magnate.  “I’ve got a belly full of Charles Cannon telling the General Assembly what to do,” cried Sen. James Simpkins of Craven who lost an effort to send the bill back to committee. He called it a “hate bill” which he claimed would soil the state’s national reputation.

            Sen. J. Carlyle Rutledge, whose county of Cabarrus embraces the Cannon textile empire, demanded Simpkins apologize “for such an uncouth statement when it refers to one of the foremost citizens of this state.”  The young Craven Senator refused.