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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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Session:         Page of 592

worked out a cockamamie deal, we did it deliberately, for our image, see, to try to loosen up the other hospitals. We signed a permanent no-strike pledge in that contract, a permanent no-strike clause. That's a contradiction in itself, but I got fantastic articles on that basis in the Times and every newspaper. Historic agreement, permanent no-strike clause, eliminating the possibility of a strike for all time. It's impossible. When the contract ends, you can't renew unless the workers--

Q:

It was just a no-strike clause by another name.

Foner:

It was a no-strike clause, but then called permanent that we made it into, and we were able to get big media coverage on that in terms of to try to soften the hospitals, because the other thing that happened is that we recognized that unless we have the law in Albany changed, we would be dead, that our concentration had to be to get the legal right to organize. Until we got that, we could not break through in the hospitals.

So, in '60, I went like in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, to Albany to start the campaign. That's where I met Hank Paley. I don't know if we should go into that now, working in Albany to win legislation. We began in '60. In '61 we finally got Rockefeller to make a statement to us. We brought big delegations to lobby and that kind of thing. We got the liberal organizations and legislators and the NAACP always making this as a major issue.

In '62 we were involved in a strike that started at Beth El, now Brookdale Medical Center, over the same issue. See, here's what happened. The seven hospitals that were on strike signed the statement of policy and therefore were now covered by it. The other hospitals started to run and sign the statement of policy because it became their umbrella to protect them from union action. We are at home now, so some thirty-five to forty hospitals signed the statement of policy putting them outside our reach. Beth El failed to sign the statement of policy, and we started working there and we knew we were going to strike Beth El Hospital. In '62 we made the same kind of turmoil in the city about a strike in a hospital. That one lasted for fifty-six days and towards the end of it we added Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat to the strike. It did the same kind of thing. Bayard Rustin came in again. A repeat, but even more so with the media, because now we were talking in terms of the fact that the city has been polarized here as a black thing, and this city is going to pay a price for a long, long time for this unless this thing is resolved.



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