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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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Session:         Page of 592

We spent a day going through there, and he's showing us files of how they did this and what they did. And I remained in touch with --

Q:

Back in '59.

Foner:

This is back in --

Q:

Well, '60, '61.

Foner:

--'59.

Q:

'59.

Foner:

And I became close. We constantly were on the phone. So we squared the circle.

Q:

Throughout there was a dispute within 1199 and the national union about whether or not we would be more appropriately merged with SEIU or AFSCME. Why did you feel that we had more of a kinship with SEIU?

Foner:

Well, I'll explain that, but the dispute, we became something that people were bargaining for. They were making all kinds of offers. Like SEIU said, “You can have this,” AFSCME would come with something better, “You don't have to pay dues for so many years.” They were dealing with a large possible membership. And it was clear to me that we had more in common with SEIU because they organized nonprofit hospitals, where AFSCME had city hospitals everyplace.

Q:

SEIU was in the private sector, AFSCME was in the public.

Foner:

Right. Nonprofits, and they were in the city hospitals. We also thought that they were more in tune with us than AFSCME was in terms of their overall philosophy.

Q:

In what way?

Foner:

Well, we'd had difficulties with Victor Gotbaum.

Q:

Former president of AFSCME's District 37.

Foner:

One of their largest locals. So we felt that we belonged with SEIU. Most of the officers did. Then we had a ballot, a secret ballot, where members would vote where they would go, because 1199, we were paralyzed there. Remember, there were attempts made to take us over and take away -- Al Heaps, president of International, take away our --

Q:

President of the RWDSU.





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