N & W book
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sun Sep 21 15:51:40 EDT 2008
I believe you're about to open a can of worms. There's
a company-bias in Bedingfield's book, naturally. There
were a lot of things that went on that weren't covered.
For one, the clerks weren't always responsible for the
sabotage. Many union members from northern Ohio
and Michigan put Portsmouth under siege just to take
their frustration out on the N&W. They weren't clerks.
Me ? I was qualified on all interlocking towers on
Norfolk Terminal (except Bridge V and Bridge VII)
and I was sent to Brewster, OH.
Mike Irvin, then Supt. of the Decatur Division, put it
best -- "Fifteen Hundred men who were on strike
or observing the picket lines, are now back working for
me. I feel no animosity toward them. They were
doing what they thought was right."
Having been a union member, I felt the same way.
Ten days deep in the strike, a group of us were
returning from lunch when the BRAC members stopped
us on the way into the yard. They wanted to remind
us that they were on strike. No fights. No rock
throwing. The agent from Sugar Creek, Ohio asked
me if I had learned I was going home. Man, was I
elated. He added, "the N&W is letting you off to
watch your mother and daddy get married." Did I
punch him in the nose ? NO ! Because it took about
five minutes before what he said sank in.
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