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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
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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