Galliano Giorgio DiNucci (George DeNucci) Union Organizer

Galliano Giorgio DiNucci, born in Italy, spent the first four years of his life in Capracotta. At age four, in 1906, Galliano, his mother, and sister were reunited with the boy’s father Vincenzo DiNucci, a garment worker at the United Woolen Tailor’s Company in Parkersburg, WV. DiNucci’s early experience in the American Federation of Labor (AF of L) and in the more progressive Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) propelled him into the leadership ranks of  the labor movement, a career that lasted nearly fifty years.

Here are two excerpts from DiNucci’s memoirs, published by daughter Barbara in 2004. In the first, he recalls the CIO election battles with the AFT. In the second, he describe’s the CIO’s struggle to win acceptance on the local Community Chest, later reorganized as the United Appeal. For a downloadable pdf. document showing DiNucci’s work history click here.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Metal Trades Associations began to run scared; they started a vicious campaign against the CIO. They did discourage many of my contacts, but I began to win some elections and was able to get signed contracts. Besides the two above organizations that were fighting me, I was shocked to see the AFL agree to an unholy alliance with the two above organizations. When the Chamber and the Metal group were convinced that the workers would vote for the CIO, they would encourage the companies to sign a back-door agreement for an AFL union. I lost several plants in this manner. The AFL also started to bring in the race question, pointing out to the workers (90% of all workers in the plants of Columbus were white) that if they voted for the CIO, the negro would take their jobs and destroy their wage structure. We lost a number of plants by this form of attack from the AFL. The AFL didn’t win either; the workers knew that the AFL had nothing to offer them, so the only thing this type of attack did was compel the workers to vote for NO UNION.

But in two years time, I was able to win back almost every one of the unions that we had organized in the Depression years under the AFL. I organized a CIO Council, beginning with two unions which I used as a front for publicity and public relations. We took positions on community problems, we attended all sessions of the City Council, and expressed our positions on matters before that body. We protested this and we protested that, but when we could support actions of the City Council, the County Commissioners, the Governor, or the Mayor, the dog catcher or any group or individual, we took action. This kept our name in the press, and helped a great deal. In two years’ time we had passed the AFL in membership, and we began to be recognized as a power in the city. Politicians began to approach us for help and assistance. During that time, I also organized the first Religion-Labor Foundation group in the country. We met monthly at the YWCA at a luncheon meeting, having representatives from all the faiths, plus some businessmen and labor leaders. It was a success.

Then we demanded that the Community Chest place a CIO representative on their board. Some diehards fought this, but finally they had to tolerate us, even if they did not accept us in good faith. We had too many members for them to ignore us. But
we proved our worth on the board by increasing our giving to the drives from year to year. Then we began to request that our people be placed on Boards of the various agencies that benefited the Fund: TB, Cancer, Red Cross, Day Nurseries; some we got and some we had to wait for acceptance. [Lena became active in these charity organizations, starting with the South Side Day Nursery.] Some even went so far as to threaten to pull out of the Chest if they had to accept our representatives. This we publicly dared them to do. We had proved that we could benefit the Chest; after the first year on the Board, our donations from our members jumped from about $20,000 to $75,000, and by 1944 we were pledging nearly $400,000. Even our enemies were happy–they would have to give less, now that we were doing so well. Then in 1944 I issued a statement to the press, through our Council, that we would be happy to see a study of a single drive that could eliminate all the drives that we were confronted with every year. I did not realize what a bombshell I had delivered, but we did find some businessmen who were willing to try out such an idea. They finally accepted it after a great fight; it took about two years before the opponents became sold on the idea. It is today a complete success, with some exceptions; certain agencies still will not become a part of the United Appeal, as it is called today.