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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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and they had announced that they were going to try to unionize the book publishers. Well, the good old liberal book publishers screamed with rage and terror, and practically all of them wouldn't let the spokesmen come near the place. I had very definite ideas at this time that unions belonged anywhere. If they wanted to unionize the publishing business, why not? When they said they would like to come up, I think to their considerable surprise, I said, “Come ahead. I'll be very happy to come to the meeting myself. I want to hear what you have to say. If our people want to be unionized, fine. That's their business.”

So a meeting was arranged at our office. By this time we had moved to Fifty-seventh Street. I think I've told you that. In walked Helen Thompson to organize the Random House workers. Poor old Bennett Cerf took one look at Helen Thompson and fell for her like a ton of bricks. Oh, she was a wonderful girl--a deeply involved girl. She quivered with emotion. She believed in her cause with all her heart and soul. She talked me right into signing a union contract. It didn't work out, but it took us about nine years to get out of it!


Random House isn't unionized today, is it?


No. You see, after the Book and Magazine Guild became part of the department store set-up, the direction it was taking became obvious--it was completely in the hands of Communists. The publishers who had belonged all got furious.

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