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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.
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?
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 --
President of SEIU --
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.
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.
SEIU in San Francisco.
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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