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Session:         Page of 592

Q:

He came on staff in the seventies, the late seventies, as an organizer. He was active in the Save Our Union campaign that won in 1986, and was elected president in 1989. When did you first get acquainted with him, what were your impressions, and how did your relationship grow?

Foner:

I first met Dennis when he was hired by Davis. Steve Frankel brought him in.

Q:

An organizer?

Foner:

An organizer who's now in charge of contracts, I understand. Steve brought him in to Davis for an interview. Davis came out after it and came over to me and Steve there. He said, “Why do you bring this guy? He can't even speak English.”

Steve said, “Give him a chance.”

So I said, “Davis, look, why don't you see?” So Dennis came on staff. Dennis was an organizer.

Q:

And he had recently come from Puerto Rico, where he had been a union organizer.

Foner:

He come from Puerto Rico. Yes. He's on staff, and the first run- in I had with him is he comes into my office on a Friday with a couple of Hispanic staff people and says, “Moe, maybe there's not enough time, but there's a demonstration in Washington tomorrow.” I forget the issue, that Hispanics and Latinos were into this. He says, “We'd like to send a busload. We'd like to get your okay for the money.”

And I blew up. I said, “You can't come to me at this time. I can't even go to the council to get approval. I can't do it. Next time you have to think about it, and that's all.”

He left. He was angry at me. I knew it, but I was not going to do it. That's the first time I met with him.

Then as the opposition to Doris developed, I got to know him more and better. I did become familiar with him during the campaign to get an election.

[END TAPE ONE, SIDE ONE; BEGIN TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO]

Q:

This is side 2 of the Moe Foner oral history, tape one, March 7th. Moe, you were just talking about early experiences with Dennis Rivera.



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