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Session:         Page of 592

Foner:

You mean to maintain a continuation kind of thing?

Q:

Could you have done anything differently, do you think.

Foner:

It's hard to say. We were always operating with a very small staff, limited resources. So we never had too much of an opportunity to sit down and evaluate in great detail what was going on and how to change it. By the time Charleston started to unravel, we were heavily engaged with whatever we had in major campaigns. What we had, really, in terms of leadership -- the leadership came from [Leon] Davis and Elliott Godoff on organizing things. That was the leadership on those issues. Their attention span was diverted to other things. Occasionally it would come back and they would say, “Okay, we're going to send someone down there to do it.” We may have sent the wrong people. Maybe we should have stayed longer. I don't know. I guess if we were a wealthier international union we could have stayed there, although I don't think that the money would have changed things. I don't think that that would change it.

Q:

Let me turn to another aspect of that story. At different points in your account the names of Doris Turner and Henry Nicholas come up. Turner went down there, I guess, at the very beginning to dip her toe in to the water and see if it was real -- you mentioned that -- and Nicholas obviously played a big role. That's really the first that you mentioned the names of the rising, new generation of 1199 leadership. I wonder if you could just address that development and describe a little bit about how this leadership was developing, and what it's character was?

Foner:

Let me start with Doris.

Doris had come in to the union during the 1959 strike. She was an aide at Lenox Hill Hospital, and she joined the union. She joined the union in 1959. Lenox Hill was a hospital that -- we were not very strong in Lenox Hill hospital. So that when the time for a strike came, Lenox Hill was not the hospital that we were planning to strike. As a matter of fact, we struck Lenox Hill, I guess the word capriciously might be appropriate. But what happened was that in the meetings with Van Arsdale, who was representing the Central Labor Council -- the only meetings that took place with managements was through Van Arsdale and the Central Labor Council. Not with us, because their lawyers had told them, “No face to face meetings.”

Van Arsdale came back one day and started to bitterly denounce Benjamin Buttenweiser, who was the chairman of the board of Lenox Hill and who had a liberal reputation. He was in the Urban League, he



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