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International Association of Machinists, Local 1868/
Davenport Machine

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Machinists.
We’re talking about somebody
Who can pick up a part
And make the part.
Now you haven’t got many of those around.
We’re the last of the Mohicans here.

I’ve seen a lot of guys learn to run hand machines.
When they come off the automatic
It’s very hard for them to compensate —
To go over and grind the tool up
And make this part and form the tool
To make that part.
They see it being made here
But they see the part coming out
And it’s amazing to them that the machine did it.
Now, take that same piece of stock,
Give them the hand machine and say
“Go make this part ”
They don’t know how to make the tools,
They don’t know how to set it up,
They don’t know how to
Set the speed or anything else.
They don’t get the training on the hand machines.

I’ve tried to explain what I do and it’s very hard
Because not everybody has the general idea of
   different type work.
You know, a friend of mine, when I first started working here,
Asked me, “So what is it you do there?”
I go, “Oh, well, I run a lathe.”
“Oh, a lathe. What does a lathe do?”
Then, trying to explain the whole process of what a lathe is,
How it works — real involved.

It takes about five years to learn to build a machine.
There’s almost five thousand parts in that machine.
There’s a lot of torquing. You’ve got to have them fit in.
You’ve got to have right clearance.
These machines run within half a thousand or less.
In the olden days a man took a part out and put it in.
Today a machine picks it up.

If we ever run out of power to run the computers,
What would you do?
You’d have to take a hand machine
And grind up a tool to make a part.
So I think it's a great loss
To not know how to do this stuff.