Site Map | Sources | Contact | RochesterLabor.org

Central Labor Body Presidents

  • Pre-CTLC Central Trades & Labor Council (AFL)
  • Industrial Union Council (CIO)
  • Rochester Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
  • Allied Building Trades Council Presidents

Read Lists of Presidents »

Central Labor Body Officers

  • Central Trades and Labor Council Officers, 1903 - 1935

Read Lists of Officers »

Who’s Who » Biographical Sketches (1939) »

Fred L. Bunn

Most men have a choice at some time between being a big toad in a little pond or taking their chances in the big ponds.

That choice was before Fred L. Bunn, first vice-president of the Rochester Industrial Union Council, many years ago and he decided to take his chances in the big ponds.

A native of Milport, N.Y., Bunn was born in 1883. He says his relatives practically ran the town and one cousin was mayor, so we can only imagine what he might have been had he chosen to remain a small town guy.

But, after he received his schooling in Elmira and Charlotte, N.C., where he served his apprenticeship as a machinist from 1897 to 1902, Bunn was lured to the sea by the American Navy. He sailed for four years as a machinist’s mate and seaman gunner in the Caribbean fleet. South America was revolution-minded even then and the sailor boys saw plenty of action.

After an honorable discharge from the navy, Bunn followed the machine trade. That was “in the days of the booming machinists union,” he said. He worked in nearly every automobile factory in Detroit, usually in charge of men, as foreman or production manager. He even recalls the days in the Ford plant when “Hank used to be around the shop in overalls.”

In the course of his labors in various parts of the country, Bunn became a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the American Society for the Advancement of Science.

Having worked in Rochester during the course of the war for Symington Gun Co., as a tool maker, and for other concerns here in the years that followed, he finally made this city his home about 15 years ago.

His first affiliation with the CIO was in the Steel Workers Union in 1935. He was employed as an experimental machinist by the Kellogg Manufacturing Co. at the time. The steel workers sent him as a delegate to the first national steel workers convention in 1937 and he served also as vice president of the Joint Council of Steel Workers here.

He later transferred to the CIO Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union and now works for the Rochester Button Co.

When asked where his labor union partisanship originated, Bunn replied, “It’s family background. My family has always been liberal, as far back as the American Revolution. They’ve always opposed injustice and oppression of the weak. My father was originally a member of the old Knights of Labor. I guess union-mindedness just comes natural to me.”

Bunn is quite outspoken on the labor peace question. He maintains that industrial unionism is more effective than craft unionism and that labor will have peace as soon as the AFL accepts the industrial unions as such, rather than break them up. “The majority of leaders realize the desirability of peace for the rank and file,” he said.

Active and interested in civic affairs, Bunn enjoys discussion groups and making addresses. He belongs to several fraternal organizations, among them the Warren C. Hubbard Lodge of Masons, Rochester Consistory, Damascus Temple and Red Men’s Lodge, Charlotte, N.C.

Top