Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Moe FonerMoe Foner
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 592

First, I called Jimmy Wechsler to tell him what I was going to do. He said, “Good. Go ahead and do it. See if you can do it.”

Then I called Evans Clark at the Times to tell him what was in the thing, and he said, “Okay, good. We'll see what we can do to help you.”

Then I called Stanley Levy, who at that time was covering the labor beat for the Times, and I called Jack Turcott of the Daily News, and I called around television, radio, and I told them the same story. I didn't tell them anything, in a sense. I said, “You know there's a meeting Monday night.” I knew they were going to say, “What's in the settlement?” I said, “I can't tell you. Really, I can't tell you. You know I'm forbidden. But I'll tell you what you should do. Remember the Davis committee report, William H. Davis? You read that. You're going to know what the settlement is.”

The next day before the strike meeting took place, stories appeared in all the papers with the inside story of the settlement, what the settlement contained, all describing it. The Times led off with it, and everybody picked it up from them, that “The settlement, while it's not known, sources indicated that the settlement is modeled after the Davis Report which the hospitals rejected and the union accepted, which calls for --” And that became the settlement terms in the mind of the workers, the public, and everybody, so that when the strike settlement meeting took place to vote on the strike, it became a victory rally. Because if you saw the pictures at the end of the meeting, the workers are carrying Davis and Van Arsdale on their shoulders and it's on television. Davis is being interviewed. I wasn't there, because that was Nancy's graduation, my daughter's graduation from junior high, and my wife was furious that I should not come to it, so I said, “I'll come.” Then I said to my brother Henry -- Henry had written the hospital strike song that was to be sung -- I said, “Henry, you sing it.”

He said, “Okay, it's my song, I'll sing it.” So we have him on television.

So I'm away, Davis is being interviewed by the press and by television and he is being asked about the settlement. “Well, you didn't win union recognition, Mr. Davis.”

He said, “No, we didn't. We won back-door recognition. We'll be at the front door soon.” And that was the way the story was played. In that sense, we were able to keep the workers together despite a most disheartening thing that happened. The managements were

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help