Studs Terkel and Bill Veeck sit down for a beer at Billy Goat Tavern to talk about Solidarity Day and the condition of unions today.
00:00 Color bars.
00:06 Audio comes in, still bars.
0:31 Shot of Bill Veeck, franchise owner and promoter of Major League Baseball, and Studs Terkel in the bar drinking two mugs of beer. Veeck, dressed in a light blue polo shirt, has glasses in his front pocket; Studs wears a checkered shirt and brown sports jacket. Both the men and the setting are casual. Background noises audible.
1:07 Studs interrupts conversation, asking those off screen, “We ready? Anytime.”
1:30 Studs begins the interview, talking directly to the camera explaining how Veeck is one of the “mavericks” that make America unique.
2:04 Studs asks what the term solidarity means to Veeck. “To me it means you’re thinking the way things used to be in the unions when it was terribly important in the days of the Knights of Labor, the days of Samuel Gompers. We were fighting for recognition, I wonder if solidarity doesn’t have a different connotation today and if people don’t get carried away with it,” says Veeck, who compares solidarity today with the gambling cons of the past, where gamblers would let their families starve to pay their debts first.
3:50 Studs asks Veeck to compare the solidarity he sees in the United States with that of Warsaw, Poland. They are different, says Veeck. “They’re in the process of organizing. They’re where we were 60, 70, 80 years ago. Now we are in the process of refinement. Here are 25 ball payers who average 200,000 dollars a day, putting vendors, ushers, ticket sellers, ticket takers, car parks, all of these out of business because their 200,000 dollars was inadequate. To me that doesn’t seem like solidarity.”
4:45 Veeck discusses his concern with President Reagan’s social security plan, and the cutting of other programs that don’t necessarily have anything to do with solidarity, but with “the flavor of human existence.”
5:40 Camera pans out and microphone gets in shot. Veeck argues that labor unions are going to speak for the unions only.
6:30 Veeck remembers the many marches he participated in during the 1960s. Studs and Veeck have a misunderstanding about the reason behind the Solidarity March on Washington.;
7:18 Terkel: “Without labor there isn’t much happening…that a person belongs in a union doesn’t mean he’s a one dimensional being.”
7:38 Studs lights a cigar as Veeck continues to talk.
8:25 They both discuss the rate of unemployment such as the sign outside US Steel which reads “No job applications accepted.”
8:48 Tom Weinberg off camera asks if the conversation could move back to the idea of Poland and changing meanings of solidarity, of “the difference between this solidarity how you perceive it.”
9:35 “I think there is a different connotation,” says Veeck, in response to Weinberg’s question, “In Poland, in Warsaw, this is the first time that a satellite has overcome fear and has taken the chance against intimidation against the Russian government and Soviet Union to say ‘you can’t chastise us all,’ it’s like it is in this country when the unions and the labor had to come together or bosses will run them into the ground. … I’m hopeful we won’t have to choose sides.”
11:16 Camera close up on Veeck as Studs speaks off camera. “I’m thinking of you as a maverick,” Studs says to Veeck, someone who he thinks will challenge the rigid establishment.
11:40 The men discuss the air traffic controller strike and Reagan’s reaction to it. Veeck sees no solidarity in the aeronautical profession and the armed forces. Veeck talks about the possibility of a strike within the armed forces, and the consequences that could have on the eve of battle.
13:24 Studs lights a cigar. Camera close up.
13:35 “I don’t want to end up in the position where I’m anti-labor–because I’m not–but what I am, is I am in the terrible position of seeing both sides of the problem,” says Veeck.
14:15 Studs says he would like to see Veeck return to baseball and that he values Veeck’s humorous perspective. “Not just in baseball but all over we’ve lost our sense of humor,” Veeck responds, “I don’t believe [Reagan] has a sense of humor.”
15:10 Tom Weinberg speaks off camera.
16:00 Studs and Veeck iterate the various programs they see as being negatively affected by the Reagan administration. Camera zooms in on Studs and Veeck’s hands as the move with the conversation. Studs lights a cigarette.
18:00 “There’s money sex and war,” adds Weinberg from off screen.
18:14 Tape ends.