Previous | Next
9293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116 of 592
Okay. So that's at the point when the 1250 had left. Okay.
So now we're coming to the period where there come to be
divisions inside of 65. What I had asked you to talk about a little bit
was describe the character of 65, if you have any more to add on that.
Well, to me, 65 was a big eye-opener. I had never seen a union
like that, of that size, capable of doing so many different things, and
whose leaders were very, very sharp and able people. I, to this day,
believe that much, if not most, of what I know of labor, I learned in
65. If you attended staff meetings led by Arthur Osman, president and
founder of 65, you could not help --if your pores were open, you would
learn a great deal of how to run a union and how to work at a union
and how to involve workers in activities in the program. It was really
an eye-opener to listen. They had a lot of pluses, a tremendous
amount of pluses of what they did. They also had an enormous
amount of minuses. I think that the pluses far outweigh the minuses.
They were a very democratic, centralized union. The leadership came
from the ranks. They involved a lot of people. They had delegate
structures, stewards meeting every month, and a lot of people were
involved in making decisions or in hearing the decisions and discussing
the decisions, in carrying out decisions. The organizers worked their
ass off and were proud, and they admired, respected, and feared the
leaders. They were afraid of them, and yet they loved them. They
were afraid that they would be and they were criticized left and right.
They would be really chewed out all the time, and yet they busted
their chops for the union. As a matter of fact, before I left, I remember
that--I knew Davis -- if you look at the nightclub things, 1199 had two
nights at the 65 nightclub, and so they knew me. But when the battle
inside 65 was taking place, Davis, who lives in Flushing, Davis'
daughter, his younger daughter Lee, and my older daughter, Nancy --
[telephone interruption] Our daughters were attending the same
Jewish Sunday School. I like to refer to -- that that's a Sunday School,
where you learned about Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Right
here in Bayside, not far from here, a storefront, a shula. They
attended the same class, and I'd see him come by. I'd bring Nancy,
and he'd say, “Why don't we walk around?” And he would ask me
every Sunday, “What's happening in 65?” And I would talk to him
about 65. That's how we got to know each other. So that when I told
him I was going to leave.
He said, “Where are you going to go?”
I said, “I don't know.”
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help