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talk about organizing hospital workers. Public Workers, they had very
little success in hospitals. Elliott was born in Russia and came here at
the age of fourteen, and went to school and became a pharmacist, and
his first and major job was as a pharmacist at what is now Maimonides
Hospital, then called Israel Zion Hospital in Boro Park, in Brooklyn.
Elliott, shortly after he became a pharmacist, started to organize the
workers in the hospital. From that moment on, Elliott spent his entire
life working, organizing hospital workers, with some modest successes
and lots of failures. But by the time in 1957, Elliott and Frankie and Al
Katz have--the Public Workers no longer exist -- they have gone to
work for the Teamsters. Barry Feinstein's father, Henry Feinstein, is
the head of the Teamsters.
Which local is it?
It's Local 420. I think it's 420. I can't remember. They
represent city hospital workers. Jerry Wurf is then with AFSCME in New
York. The Public Worker organization is now AFSCME, Jerry Wurf is
competing and wants to get those workers in the city hospitals,
because there's a lot of unorganized workers. So Jerry Wurf goes to
Jack Turcott of the Daily News, the labor reporter, and gives him a
story to the effect that this local, it's 420, is riddled with communists,
and the communists are Jack Bigel, Elliott Godoff, Frank Herbst, and Al
Katz. And that's a big splash story.
So Jerry Wurf makes his big blow in the labor movement from red-
Yes. They're working for the Teamsters at that time and Jerry is
with the Public Workers, with the AFSCME. So the Teamsters are
riddled with communists. At that time the head of the Teamsters union
is John DeLury, dead now. His son, Bernard DeLury, Assistant
Secretary of Labor under Nixon, Eisenhower, and now who was
mentioned for a while as a potential replacement for--got me a grant
once for $15,000 on the history of hospital workers.
That story is big, and it becomes impossible, the pressure is very
strong on DeLury to get rid of them. So he gets rid of them. It's like a
friendly parting. He gives them severance pay, etc., and he gives
Elliott the contract with Maimonides Hospital, which they have. They
have a contract with Maimonides Hospital, 300 workers. It's a very
lousy contract. [laughter] Elliott got it because Elliott's cousin was a
member of the board there.
What do you mean, gives them the contract?
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