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to be very nice to her. He was almost ingratiating. Doris quickly
understood. That was a major weakness with him.
Was he ingratiating with the rest of the staff?
No. He was merciless with them. He would scream at them.
And when Davis would scream, people accepted that, you know, that's
how he always is. I remembered when I raised the question that it was
a mistake to have the strike against the Nixon pay board and at the
meeting said so, after we paid three-quarter-of-a-million-dollar fine,
nobody would dream of saying that. I said it, and he didn't say
So do you think that his personality, to some extent, discouraged
dissent and open discussion within the union?
Well, it made it difficult for it to take place. He didn't believe
that it would be possible for workers in large institutions where there
were all divisions to run the union. He couldn't reach them effectively,
and therefore the delegate assembly, was a routine kind of thing
where you would outline what you wanted to do, then when social
workers and nurses got in and started debates, it drove him mad.
And what do you think that did to the morale of those social
workers and nurses who might have felt that this was an inhospitable
place for them to become active in?
To some it had a negative effect, but some, you have to
remember, if you're committed -- say I'm a social worker or a
professional worker and I view the union as an opportunity for me to
bring forth my ideas, my beliefs, to an audience of 400 people every
month, I have a built-in constituency that I'm going to use. So, many
of them saw it that way. They were advancing their own political ideas
by getting up and challenging and raising their issues, and Davis was
infuriated. He knew what was happening. That it was going to drive
the hospital workers away because they couldn't compete verbally with
That is a cost of democracy. In general, how would you rate Davis
in terms of his commitment to internal democracy?
Well, he was committed to internal democracy, except he didn't
believe that it would work unless a strong person was in charge or
strong people were in charge and running things, and people who
would understand how to unite workers. Therefore, he was very
careful about staff and people who worked with him.
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