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structure. We had big advantages over the farm workers in that sense, but we had an institutional approach to it, and it was very hard to have pure democracy in that kind of form.

As you organized in the Guild, you now are getting into the talk fest delegates' meetings. It was Davis' strong belief that you could not organize professional workers--lab, X-ray technicians, LPNs, unless you had a guild, you had a separate entity for them. They would not organize into the same union with service workers, that they would feel that first they'd be overwhelmed by them; secondly, there's a certain snobbery. You see, when you go out of town, into small towns, we found that that snobbery doesn't exist, that in a small town everybody knows each other, so there's no problem for the service worker and the RN to be in the same organization. There's no problem there. They know each other. Here where they don't know each other, they're suspicious of each other, and they have their own interests and their special needs, and they are concerned about the skills. So you must play to that, and you must guarantee that you're going to have that right to run your own organization, make your own decisions and that kind of thing. That we continued right up until -- now she's changed the bylaws on it, but these are things that worked all the way through and they were effective. They were effective.

But that doesn't answer the question you raised of how you run an effective union that runs with the members involved and deals with their problems.


Right. At this point, that question is almost a transcendental question for labor activists, and we don't necessarily have to come to an answer. I'm more interested in whether or not you were worried about it at the time.


Worried? At this time we didn't have time to be worried about anything except building the union. But there's one other thing I want to point out. As we grow and as the union continues, Davis has developed a certain approach. It's almost, “Forget about what's in the contract. When push comes to shove, forget about what's in the contract. You just go in to the management and tell them if they don't do this, you're going to break the place apart.” So that many, many times that works. The hospitals really are in great fear of the union and the workers, in tremendous fear that this union's going to create a race riot if you don't give in. So this works for a long period of time on that basis.

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