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

Moe FonerMoe Foner
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 592

I was writing them. I was writing editorials for the Brooklyn Eagle at that time.

Then in the middle of it all, there's a newspaper strike. It's very interesting. In the newspaper strike, the Times had a West Coast edition, so they were publishing on the West Coast, but not here. I would get the editorials from the West Coast edition and reproduce them, reprinted from the West Coast edition of The New York Times and give it to the legislature. I must have told you how Hank Paley -- he operated the printing press of the assembly. Hank was in charge of that. We would print, and every day get the stuff out. The governor's staff were saying, “We don't have anything from upstate. Can you get support from upstate?” And I was just looking through the material here. Here's an editorial from the Sun Bulletin in Binghamton, New York, the Watertown Daily Times, and the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, in Saranac, Red Lake. They don't have a union member in any of these places, and they're writing editorials, criticizing the AFL-CIO and supporting the governor, etc. Of course, the editors of these papers were all friends of Jimmy Wechsler whom he knew.

So that's the way the thing is going. There's opposition. Martin Luther King called Rocky on the phone to say that he had to live up to the promise, that it was important to get the bill through. Rocky's aide Melvin Osterman, he was the attorney under Corbin -- said to me one day, “I don't know. You people must have a very, very big Madison Avenue campaign, a big staff working on this thing, because you're getting editorials all over the place.”

I said, “Yeah, you're looking at him now.”

Anyway, it was getting very, very tight, and the opposition was very fierce. We were getting toward the end of the session. When you run down to there, it gets very confused and you run around trying to keep your fingers on the thing. You don't know what's going on. I can mainly control it through contact with Hank Paley. Then one night Hank calls me up and he says, “Come up to my office. Now we're going to the governor's office. There's a problem.”

I say, “Oh, my gosh, another problem.” And I know that when he says a problem, he means that another year is going to go by.

He says -- Mel Osterman says, “Look, Moe. The best we can do, we're not going to go back on our promise. You're going to get a bill, but we don't have the votes for a statewide bill. We just don't have the votes for a statewide bill. The opposition is too strong and powerful. We

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