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He says, “You take the contract.” It's like part of his severance
pay. “You can have the contract. You can administer these people.
Make an independent union. Do what you want. I won't bother you.”
And Elliott knows the workers there, too, some left people there,
Morris Hodara, Marshall Dubin. These people had worked in Montefiore
. Elliott had all kinds of experiences before 57, attempting to organize,
Montefiore and failing. He had a sit-in at Beth-Israel in 1936, and
Brooklyn Jewish. He had a lot of experience.
How old was Elliott at that point?
Well, when he died, he was sixty-seven. He died about five, six
So he was sixty-seven in 1980.
Yes, '79, probably.
My mind isn't that quick.
Elliott was still about in his forties at that time. So they know
each other. Elliott doesn't have a job, and one day he's in the hiring
hall. In 1199 we have a hiring hall, hiring from the union. He's looking
for a job as a pharmacist. Davis sees him and they talk, and Davis
says, “Hey, how would you like to take a crack at organizing the
hospitals?” Elliott agrees after a long discussion, and they begin to
figure out that they should try to organize in nursing homes first,
proprietary, profit-making nursing homes. You don't want to go into
the voluntary hospitals. They're big operations. So they fool around
with nursing homes, and they find out that in the proprietary homes
and hospitals, that many of the workers are derelicts, they pick them
up off the streets, many of them are live-ins, and that if you sign up
two people, the next day you come and they've been fired and that it's
not the kind of thing -- that the work force is not -- So there are little
things here back and forth, and nothing happening really.
Then finally, in '58, Elliott says he's like to take a crack at Montefiore.
Why? He still knows some of the people who he organized years ago
and still at Montefiore, some old left people. He'd like to try it. So
Davis saiys “Okay. We'll assign Ted Mitchell, a black organizer in the
drug union, vice president, with you, because of the work force.” And
so they try.
Can I stop you for one second? Do you have a direct relationship
with these discussions and efforts at this time?
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