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Moe FonerMoe Foner
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This is in the middle of the election campaign; the '62 campaign is warming up for Rockefeller's reelection. That we manipulated in a really magnificent way, if I must say so. Because what happened there was that we knew we had to get the legislation. Beth El became the target. We focused everything -- Davis went to jail for thirty days. Davis came out of jail and refused to call off the strike, and he was about to be sentenced for sixty days. He was out of jail on the July Fourth weekend. There was a big rally. I remember everybody was there -- Ruby, Ossie, A. Philip Randolph, etc., greeting him at Manhattan Center, thousands of workers to support the Beth El strikers and that kind of thing. I'm in touch with Hank Paley throughout this period trying to figure out what we're going to do. Hank, who was by this time had become the key aide for Joseph Carlino, the Republican Speaker of the Assembly, who was by this time a strong ally of ours through Hank, and the Assembly would pass the bill, but the Senate -- that's what happened in the session before. But Carlino was working on the governor through Hank, to get the governor to support this thing. Hank calls me on July third and says, “Moe, I'm in New York. I want Leon and you to have lunch with me tomorrow, and I want you to have lunch with me and Sol Corbin.” Solomon L. Corbin was the governor's counsel. He says, “I have an idea, but it can't be known that I'm operating for you. I'm there representing the Speaker. I've told him about you, he knows about you, and we are trying to figure out a way of ending the strike and making the governor the hero. What have you got in mind?” So we talked. “Okay, let the governor promise that he'll pass the bill in the next session. He can be the hero.”

Now, see, what has happened is that Wagner has gone to Germany on holiday. The City Hall is left in the hands of Paul Screvane, the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor is anxious to resolve the strike, but wouldn't because we're making a demand. We know if the city resolves a strike, it doesn't mean a thing to us because the city cannot give us the legislation. So we make impossible demands that the city has got to stop all contributions to the hospitals as a basis for the settlement, that you've got to cut off the reimbursement, and then we'll consider it. We knew they could not do it, they wouldn't do it, the church would kill them.

So we go into that lunch meeting at the Hotel Manhattan and we get down to brass tacks. Corbin says, “How do you see this playing?”

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