Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Moe FonerMoe Foner
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 592

projecting new ideas, new proposals. He would then try them out. He would try them out with a small number of people. He would try them out with me, he would try them out with Elliott, occasionally Bill Taylor if there were a pension benefit kind of thing. That's what he would do during this early period -- and this was really an early period.


Okay, maybe we should move on. We're talking now, really, about the very end of the 1960s and the early 1970s.


This is a period when the major concentration of the union is on organization -- as it always was. Organizing the unorganized. It was the key thing. The contracts were regarded as steps in that direction. You're always trying to get the best contract, but good contracts would always be valuable for us in organizing. I think at that period it was Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania. In that period in organizing -- also in New York City. In New York City. We did something in West Virginia and Kentucky. In Ohio we made a number of efforts that fell apart -- largely because of very bad staff experience. We picked the wrong people to go in to Ohio, and we poured -- for us -- a lot of money. We ended up with one nursing home near Antioch. Not only that but the radicals at Antioch starting to populate around the nursing home created more problems for us than anything else!

Mrs. King was involved. In any number of cases Mrs. King agreed to come and help us. What we worked out with Stanley was this approach, that rather than have Mrs. King come to address a rally, we could get more out of it if Mrs. King would come in to the town and stand in front of the hospital at lunch time. Before lunch time, have a press conference. So we could arrange that the press conference was like at eleven o'clock, and then she would go in front of the hospital. If you knew two days in advance you could build it up, and everybody would come out to see Mrs. King. She'd stand in front of the hospital and shake hands and talk to people and say, “Why don't you join the union, wear an 1199 hat.” Invariably the media would come to the press conference, and you'd get a crack at it later in the day and the next day, and they'd be at the thing too. So it would be very effective. We would try to do it right before an election. If an election was scheduled at an important hospital, Mrs. King could be counted on to say, “Okay, I'll come.” We'd say, “Okay.” Should be done two days before the election because then the other side, the boss, does not have a chance to answer it, and you're left there.

So she did that in any number of places, and would spend a good part of the day. I would be the contact and I would sometimes have to go

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help