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was a big liberal. After the strike started he said, “You've got to
include Lenox Hill.”
This is the 1960s?
This is 1959. So we included Lenox Hill -- you can't say “No” to
Harry Van Arsdale, you know, everything was all tied up with him. So
we hastily ran over there and pulled the workers out.
Now Doris was one of the workers. Doris said that she was furious that
they didn't strike Lenox Hill. She wanted a strike. We weren't strong
enough to strike. It was the weakest section that we had. So Doris
emerged as, she was the rank and file person there. There were others
too, but she emerged there. After the strike, on her return, the
hospital refused to take her back. So we went to the Labor Board on it.
Meanwhile Doris was put on staff. Later on we won the case, and Doris
got a big lump sum of back pay, but she stayed on the staff. From that
time she was one of many people who we began to recruit from the
workers to become staff members. She was obviously superior to most
of the others. She had one thing that was very important -- she was a
black woman. She was aggressive, and she was street smart, and
moved up in the ranks to a point that when -- Elliott had her as his
assistant in the hospital division director, and when Elliott then left and
fully assumed full time in the national union, she replaced him as
hospital division director.
Nicholas has a different background. Nicholas was a worker at Mount
Sinai Hospital. Nicholas was in the 1959 strike as a striker. I
remember him, but I remember a lot of people and I don't remember
him in any great other capacity. Nicholas after the strike was involved
in the Mount Sinai union campaign. Nicholas was anxious to work full
time for the union, and he set that as a goal for himself. He took on all
kinds of rank and file organizing assignments.
Why do you think he set that goal?
He wanted to be on the union staff! He wanted to be in the
union. I don't think for bad reasons -- he liked the idea while it was
going on. He joined the staff pretty much shortly after the strike -- he
was one of the organizers. He was very effective in organizing, and
talking to workers. I remember that in certain campaigns -- like in the
Roosevelt Hospital campaign, where we lost I think three elections
before we won. We had one case at Roosevelt where we filed unfair
labor charges. They finally were heard, and there was a hearing. The
chief witness was Henry Nicholas, who had organized the workers. As
a matter of fact, as an organizer Nicholas was very very effective and
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