History of Our Local 1111

All about the United Autoworkers Union of Indianapolis, Indiana

Our local bears significant history, which began in a gentler time. The factory site began excavation in 1954 and was completed in 1957. Employees were hired in groups beginning in February 1957. The first to be hired worked in a building that was not yet complete; there were sections of the roof still not in place. But we were a union from day one.

The designation of our local union is the United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America, Local 1111 as it was the one-thousandth, one hundred and eleventh franchise of the International Union.

Our first officers were appointed by the International Union, as we were not yet fully functional. Our first president was Brother Clem Lesinski, a ranking seniority bolt-maker operator from Local 600. His tenure was short and was replaced by another appointee, Brother Tom Logan. Our first elected president was Brother Phillip Douglas.

The local rented the International Harvester Union Hall for it’s meetings in the beginning. A building committee was organized and the then Sgt. at Arms, William Warren, was one of the members of that committee. Brother Warren was against building a union hall and contended it was better to continue renting than to build. As a matter of fact, he was the only non-consenting vote on the building site, although, he soon became openly supportive of the new building.

Construction began in 1962 on our local hall and was dedicated on October 14, 1962. Brother William Warren had been injured in a work-related accident involving one of the heat treat ovens housed in the east section of our factory. He died some months later due in part to these injuries. So upon dedication of the hall, Brother William Warren was unanimously selected to grace the local with his name. This was a very fitting shrine to a man with stalwart convictions and a great love for the U.A.W.

Many people who lived locally will no doubt remember that the Flame Club rented the hall for weekend events. Jerry Lee Lewis and many other celebrities during the era of the 60’s have entertained at the Flame Club. There were numerous “Under 21” dances held at the local during this time as well.

Over the years the hall has been home to many family functions for all seasons. Every Christmas season to this day, the hall has had a Christmas event where Santa would offer gifts to children of all ages. There have been similar seasonal events that have come and gone, but the main theme to our local has always been family. Our families, our future, are the reasons we work here at Indy. Our local has made opportunities for family and work to blend together because many here have traditionally held jobs requiring huge amounts of overtime.

We are family. We are all brothers and sisters of a common course. From meager beginnings to the now present age of technology, the union has always been about members. The local hall is our focus point for coming together for varied reasons outside of our monthly meetings.

The building is where we meet, but we are the union.

UAW | Saturday 15 July 2017 - 4:29 pm