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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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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 cooperation.


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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