Interview with Willie Bolden
QUESTION 4
JACKIE SHEARER:

You told me about the work conditions that you men faced. Can you give me the same description of what you found when you went down to the yards at 5:30 in the morning?

WILLIE BOLDEN:

Yeah, I would get up at 5:30 in the morning, and go down to Maddox Park Sanitation Yard. And, I used to wonder, before I visited the work site, how in the world could someone at six o'clock in the morning, just turn a bottle of liquor up to his mouth, and just drink it, at six o'clock in the morning. I went down to Maddox Park Sanitation Yard, and, and I visited the trucks, I had just inspected them. Could you imagine in June, with the temperature between 98 and 100, maggots hanging off the walls, the back where they hold on to the truck as they ride, maggots all along the post. The cans that they used during that time, Dumpster Dump, I mean, the rollers, they just roll them up there and they dump them up, but back then they had to walk up steep hills and get the garbage and then put it on their shoulders and maggots all over the, the cans. Now, I realize that, that somebody's got to do that work. But, at the same time--



JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, let's pick up where we left off.

WILLIE BOLDEN:

As I said earlier, I truly believe that Maynard heart was in the right place, but the truth of the matter is, Maynard was not delivering, OK? The only tool that a union might have to get whatever for its workers is, one, sitting around the table, negotiating. And we did that, day in, day out. The only other tool we have is to strike. Now, it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not the mayor is Black, White, blue, green, yellow, polka-dot. If we can't get what we want for our people around the table, then you strike. And that's what we did. We didn't strike Maynard because he was Black. We struck him because our folk were picking up garbage, working among maggots and we felt that they needed to get paid for doing that, seven, eight, nine thousand dollars a year, in our opinion, was not enough.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Thank you.