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This is the second side of tape one on March 5 with Moe Foner. You
were talking about 1199's work with other unions, inter-union
Yes. That subject has been with us for a long time. It's not a
thing that just happened. I remember Leon Davis' role. Leon Davis
didn't expect too much from other unions. He didn't think that they
were doing enough on things, and he pretty much went his own way
and was accused by people, “Davis, you know, you can't count on him
for anything.” Yet when the Teachers Union was being organized by
Shanker and -- I forget the other guy -- taking over Local 3, they
came to Davis for advice on how to do it. When other unions had
problems, they would come to us and ask for Davis's advice.
But there were issues of a political nature that kept us apart also. The
union, 1199, supported the -- in Ocean Hill Brownsville supported the
school, the community boards, at the great anger of the Teachers
Union. That estranged us. The 1199 was hostile to DC 37 at times
because there was talk at that time of a merger of city and nonprofit
hospitals. DC 37 didn't want such a merger. We wanted it. We thought
it would be better health care, but fundamentally we wanted it
because it would mean that we would be able to organize those
workers. So that created problems with them.
Then the Central Labor Council was under the leadership of very weak
leaders after Harry van Arsdale's death, who really didn't care much
about anything. So we played no role in the Central Labor Council.
Sometimes people said, “Because they want to save their per capita,
not pay per capita, they're staying out.” So this is a long kind of thing.
To a degree, it continued during a good part of Dennis' [cross talk].
Remember that the unions, for the most part, supported Doris at the
Madison Square Garden rally. In support of her big contract, which
turned out to be ephemeral, Victor Gotbaum spoke. Harry van Arsdale,
who was alive and knew what was happening, tried his darnedest to
get the union to end the strike. He saw what was happening.
This is 1984, and Victor Gotbaum was head of the DC 37.
Yes. Yes. And what Harry did, he sensed that we were about to
have a PATCO in New York, that the managements would destroy
1199. He saw that as a realistic kind of thing, and it was realistic. The
management felt that this was a great opportunity to get rid of this
union altogether. So he insisted, and he used his influence with the
governor and with anybody he could see that, “Let's try to get this
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