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The editor of 1199 News. And today Esther told me that Bank
Street College is having an exhibition in their main auditorium as you
come into the building on “Why Unions Matter,” an exhibition we did
by students about unions, and they are preparing a study guide that
will be used for Bank Street teachers and students. Now, this is all in
While we're talking, more has happened.
Right. Now, there's more I could tell you about people who are
the stars of Academy Award films who we're getting to know, who live
in New York, and who are very socially minded, and we believe they
will agree to participate in the project in some shape or form.
There's only a little bit left on this tape. Let me just finish up with
that period of 1986 to '89.
You started in that discussion by saying you were working on the
merger. The national union, from which 1199 had withdrawn at that
period, was discussing, debating internally whether to merge with
SEIU or AFSCME after the projected merger with SEIU had fallen
through in the early eighties. This led to another bitter schism in
which, voting by districts, two-thirds of the national union membership
in 1989 went to SEIU and one third, a portion of the --
Went to AFSCME.
Henry Nicholas, the president, went to AFSCME. What was your role
in that whole experience?
I'm trying to think of the role I played other than knowing
about it and talking to people about it. I remember that I met Andy
Stern for the first time during that period and drove up with him and
Bob Muehlenkamp to Connecticut for the opening by Jerry Brown of
the Leon Davis Building. Jerry Brown had been an 1199 organizer and
then had become the head of the New England District of the national
union, and Jerry knew and was close to John Sweeney, family friends.
So Davis came up and was -- no, Davis was dead, but they opened
their headquarters with a big event on Davis.
And they named the headquarters --
They named the building the Leon J. Davis Headquarters of
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