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Joe Merritt oral history interview, June 29, 1995

 Item — othertype: Oral History
Identifier: MerrittJ_199512_14

Scope and Contents

Interviewed by Christine Lutz: Merritt discusses his early life, job background, and the struggles and dangers involved for unions in Savannah. He traveled all over the United States while working for unions. Regarding leaders of the Ironworkers, Merritt considers P.J. (Paddy) Moran and Jack Lyons to be the most memorable men on the International staff. He talks about people and situations in Georgia politics. When asked if Talmadge was a good governor, Merritt’s reply was, “I think he was. He didn’t hurt the labor movement too much.” He mentions the passage of the Taft-Hartley (1948) and Landrum-Griffith Acts (1959), also known as the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, and union reactions to them. In terms of the Ironworkers, he believes they focused on ability, not ethnicity, and that the Ironworkers’ emphasis on ability was supported by their apprenticeship programs. Then Mr. Merritt explains the union hiring hall, for members needing work. Finally, he discusses how he became a foreman. Union Represented: International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers


  • Creation: June 29, 1995


Restrictions on Access

Oral history available for research.

Biographical Note

Joe Merritt was born December 23, 1918 in Brookwood, Georgia. He and his brothers were raised in Savannah, Georgia, by their widowed mother. He began delivering groceries at age eight. He later became an ironworker and joined the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (Ironworkers). He eventually became the President of the Ironworkers Local and was a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority District Council.


1 Item(s) (audio (1:31:41 duration) transcript (33 pages))

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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