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are a couple of articles that Dan Wakefield wrote in The Nation on the hospital workers, and also, twenty-five years ago he wrote an article at the end of the strike called “Hospital Workers Knock at the Door,” in Dissent magazine. I remember the beginning of it. It's a very moving and very fine, long article. He says, “Pinned up on the wall at the strike headquarters of Mt. Sinai Hospital, (we had strike headquarters in different places, and every day the workers would come to the strike headquarters and do duty and all that kind of stuff there, cooking and all that) is a picture from Life magazine showing the good life. The contrast between the good life and the life these workers are enjoying in the strike.” It was very, very well done.

Leon Fink is doing an article for Dissent now on 1199. I said, “You ought to start by saying that twenty-five years ago in these pages, Dan Wakefield wrote.”


So can you assess where the union was at at the end of this strike? It sounds pretty precarious.


Very, very. The question of whether the union could make it was not yet determined. What was determined is that we didn't fall apart at that time. Whether we could make it, what happened is that largely through contacts that we kept organizing -- see, the other thing that happened in the '59 strike is that we had been organizing in many hospitals and nursing homes. We had lots of cards from all over the place, but we had to now concentrate on this. During the '59 strike, Peter Ottley, Local 144, arranged to sign an agreement--I will not characterize it--an agreement covering the proprietary hospitals with the association to keep 1199 out, and got several thousand workers under contract before we had any. All we had was Montefiore.


He has them to this day, doesn't he?


He has them to this day, and can build on that. We later ran into problems with Peter later on again, because we had fights in '62 after the law was passed. I'll come to that. But it was precarious.

We were organizing, and we were organizing, I remember, at a small hospital, now out of business, called Trafalgar in mid-town Manhattan up in the East Eighties. We organized the workers. Then the question was, could we get a contract with them after going through it. Elliott became friendly with the attorney for that hospital who was a very important guy in the theater unions and for management, became friendly with him and also with the director, and convinced the guy to agree to sign a contract. When they were signing a contract, we

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