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Then internally, Turner was strengthening her hold on the union and
changing the union. It became very difficult to do anything in that
When you say “in that union,” you mean within the New York
Within the New York district. I was still the executive secretary
of the New York district.
And Davis was --
Davis had already dropped out. He had retired, he wasn't
running. Doris ran for election as his successor, and was the president
with his blessing.
When, precisely, did she become president?
In 1982, April 1982. Davis dropped out right before the
election, in January said he was going to retire and not run again.
He didn't make any effort to change his plans, given the role that
she was playing?
He was left high and dry in the sense that he had relinquished
his role as the president of the RW, stepped down as president of
1199, and all this was because he was going to be the first head of the
hospital division of the newly merged union. Then he would be
replaced by Nicholas, because he knew he couldn't continue for very
long. But then he was left without anything!
Now, they made attempts, belatedly. Doris used this. Meetings were
held privately to begin to re-discuss the question of Doris Turner as
president, because it became quite clear, way back already it was
becoming clear. Davis was arranging for weekly meetings with her
which she wouldn't attend and didn't appear, and it became clear to
Davis that he had made a terrible mistake. Then with the merger
thing, it complicated it further. But you have to beat somebody with
somebody, and there was nobody to really do that. So, Doris ran and
Doris won, and Doris was all the time putting in place her people. We
didn't really realize it. Filling in. Organizers who were fired in the guild
for ineptness ended up on her staff. She was building a machine. Her
theoretical leader was David White, who did more to help elect her
than anybody else, because he had this image of talking from the old
times and goodness and stuff.
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