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I said, “Look, Dennis, you've been to the Cardinal on different things.
Call him. Ask to meet with him, that you want to tell him about home-
care workers,” and he did. And the Cardinal reacted positively, so
positively that he arranged for a meeting in the cathedral with Dennis,
and I suggested he have Jesse Jackson come with him.
This is Cardinal O'Connor.
Cardinal O'Connor. They met, and after the meeting, they
permitted us to announce that there would be a press conference
outside the cathedral on the steps. So all of the media is there. The
Cardinal comes out flanked by Dennis and Jesse, and the Cardinal is
interviewed about home-care workers.
Now, what led you to make that suggestion? Why did you think the
Cardinal would be important, and why did you think he would agree to
Well, Dennis had been telling me that the Cardinal grew up in a
union household, that his father was a gold leaf letterer, that while
they had differing views on very many other things, on the issue of
labor he was very good, and Dennis got to meet him and know him
about that. He liked Dennis. So when I raised this, Dennis felt it was a
So you had this unusual press conference on the steps of St. Patrick's
Cathedral, the Cardinal flanked by Dennis and Jesse Jackson, and, you
know, cameras and photographers are just all over the place. Now, a
thing like that happens, everybody has to pay attention to that. You
know, the Cardinal's views reach certain audiences that we normally
cannot. You talk about the governor's office, the mayor's office, many
Catholic dignitaries, all of that, particularly when you're dealing with
an issue like home care, which is good versus evil.
And what was the issue at this point in 1987? Was this negotiations
for a first contact for many thousands of home -- about 15,000 home-
care workers [cross talk]
Yes, working together with DC 17. They had organized some,
we were organizing some. We wanted an overall contract.
And what did Jesse Jackson and Cardinal O'Connor say [cross talk].
They talked about the shame of home-care workers. He didn't
say, “I want everybody to organize and sign a contract with 1199,”
although in 1989 we got him to hold a press conference in the middle
of that big strike on the question of why St. Claire's Hospital was
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