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Session:         Page of 592

people were supporting Harriman of the Democrats, and we threw in our support for Rockefeller. That's the time that Harry van Arsdale developed a line, a labor line -- I forget what it was -- so he could get Rockefeller's liberal -- I forget what line he set up on that, political line. And those are some of the differences.

Q:

You referred to the final, after many years of delay, merger between 1199 and SEIU, which had to be preceded in the early nineties by 1199's withdrawal from RWDSU. Then through a membership vote in both cases, finally there was the merger in 1998 or '99 with SEIU, and increasingly Dennis' role in SEIU's matters, and solidarity with other 1199 locals around the country. That brought full circle something that was discussed two decades earlier. How did you feel when that finally happened?

Foner:

Well, obviously, it was -- I thought back to the beginning of it, and it was a really great event, because I remember George Hardy visiting the --

Q:

President of SEIU --

Foner:

SEIU.

Q:

Late seventies.

Foner:

Yes. Coming to see Davis to talk about a merger of 1199 and SEIU. On the way up, he stopped at the gallery where I was, and he looked around, and I knew who he was, I'd met him before, and he began to tell me about his background sweeping the floor at the headquarters of the ILWU.

Q:

San Francisco.

Foner:

Yes. He was a sort of janitor, and he told me about those days, and I told him that when we were on strike in 1959 -- he knew it -- that I was in touch with Richard Liebes, who was then the secretary treasurer of Local 250.

Q:

SEIU in San Francisco.

Foner:

SEIU in San Francisco, big. At that time, hospital workers were organized in San Francisco and Minnesota because the federal law did not include these states. We had won the state law, the city within the state law. So when we came out in '59, we had no law, and I would call him, Liebes, to find out how they worked and what happened. I said, “We're coming out for the convention of AFL-CIO. Could Davis and Elliott and I spend time with you?”



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