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Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Moe FonerMoe Foner
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investigation and the statement of the issue. After that the elected representative takes over the grievance. So there's very little in the structure to encourage rank and file participation.

At the same time, there are very strong pro-union people in that union. The attitude for the most part that I could determine is rather positive towards the union, that in large measure due to the conditions. It has achieved very, very good conditions for its meat cutter members.

The attitudes of the union on race and sex are fairly typical of the average attitude of Americans towards race and sex. They're sexist and racist. The union has a large number of women. Most of the women are wrappers and in the wall to wall situations they are in check-out. They play a very, very insignificant role in the union. Some women are active and members of the executive board, etcetera. The blacks play a relatively unimportant role in the union. Black meat cutters are confined to, for the most part, work in black areas, supermarkets in black areas -- for the most part. There are blacks working in mixed areas too, I'm sure. I don't think that there's an open discriminatory policy in that sense. There are very few Hispanics.

The union also represents about 600 workers in a whole variety of unskilled areas, where they've been trying to organize because of the loss of membership. In these areas, the workers are overwhelmingly minority. They are black, Hispanic, Central American, Latin American, diverse kinds of workers with very low wages. When they win agreements the standards are fairly low, and its regarded primarily as a source of dues, income.

They also represent workers in the fish industry. It's not a very large number.


What did they say to you when you left?


It was sort of, “Well, we're sorry it didn't work out better but maybe you ought not to continue it anymore.”


Short and sweet.


Yes. They gave me one month's severance pay, and didn't want me around. That's traditional in most unions. Once you're out they don't want you hanging around, leave any feelings talking to people and that kind of thing.

So that's the end of that.

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