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knowing him. Jerry Brown spoke about Davis as a teacher from whom
he learned everything, and there was a great deal of that. Elliott was
dead by that time. So in one sense I was -- we did a memorial
meeting for Elliott in the union's auditorium --
Back in 1973.
-- for which I wrote a script, and Ossie and Ruby and Johnny
Randolph performed, and I think even the press was there, etc. There
was big obituary on Davis after this event, a big feature.
In the New York Times?
In the New York Times. They were covering the event with a
picture of the event and of the performance, and those things made
me feel better.
Let's move on now to Dennis Rivera, who was elected president of
1199 in 1989, but whom you had known for, I imagine, a decade prior
to that or more, when he was an 1199 organizer and then from '86 to
'89, I guess he was a vice president. Tell me something about your
impressions of Dennis initially and then his role and expanding
reputation after 1989.
Before I do that, I'd like to say something about Davis, looking
back at him. Davis was a master strategist, a man who had very little
education, but came to understand and be familiar with the most
intricate doings about drugstore workers. He would sit in his office
sometimes for hours, and you would see him just staring ahead and
think that maybe he's napping. What it is, he was thinking three years
ahead what was going to happen, and things moved because of this.
He was the person who saw the advantage and the need for a prepaid
prescription drug plan. He was the person who saw that that would be
good for our members who are pharmacists and good for the public.
He convinced the Carpenters Union to set up a prepaid plan, and we
gave them a person to administer it. That became the basis for
He's the person who thought about our benefit and pension plans, to
building them, to increasing their scope, and training and upgrading
programs. These were ideas he was thinking about years ago. He
worried that the administrators of those plans, who were from the
union, would be dealing with employers, management, and might
become accustomed or jealous of the fact that the people they were
working with were making huge salaries and that it might have a
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