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determined to break the union. They thought that they had the union
ripped apart by the settlement outside the hospitals, etc. Also to
return to work, the hospitals began to stagger the return to work so
that workers did not get back to work for more than six weeks. They
had to be examined, “We can only examine so many at a time.” It
was a deliberate attempt to make the workers feel that they had lost
everything. Van Arsdale put up money from Local 3 to keep paying
some modest amount of money to all workers until they were all back
to work. You know why Van Arsdale's a hero to the workers and to
the union? We could not have sustained that.
So it was in that setting that the strike ended, and in that setting,
after that, we decided -- of course, we had never collected any dues
from the workers -- we decided that we would now have to put
organizers on to service these workers and to maintain a union and to
set dues of $3.50 with fifty cents to be put into a death benefit fund,
and it had to be collected by the stewards and the organizers and
turned in to the union. We operated that way for a few years, and we
were able to operate by continuing guerilla war tactics against the
hospitals on this statement of policy to prove that the statement of
policy was not possible, that you couldn't live with it, that it didn't
function. When they would have a hearing once a year, a public
hearing, we packed it with hospital workers and we made it out to be
the fraud that it was. So that we were showing that we could live.
That was the point. The point was that we proved that we could live in
that climate, in that situation.
That the union would survive.
That the union could survive, and the union survived.
Incidentally, one other thing I can tell you is that as a result of our
action in New York, I got a call one day from a guy in Chicago whose
name was Victor Gotbaum. He said he was working for American
Federation of State, County, and Municipal, and they were trying with
Lillian Roberts, who was working in the hospital, they wanted to know
how we did it because they were planning to strike. They ran a
completely flopped strike.
You mentioned that the last time around Montefiore. Wasn't that
No, I think it was the '59 strike. I've left out a lot of stuff here.
The other things that are important here, obviously Leon Fink and
Greenberg, they have all of this stuff and more and are evaluating it,
but they are not doing it in the kind of history they do. But also there
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