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the contracts because the rates, the reimbursement to the hospitals, were made by the state. So whatever you got was going to result in increases in state costs, so the state had to sign on and say, “We will reimburse you to that rate.” The state would say, “You negotiate a contract and if it's a fair deal, we'll monitor it to see that you're doing it fairly. Then we'll approve it.”

The $100 thing went almost to a strike, and the hospitals at the last minute yielded with the governor's people in the background, saying, “Okay.” Now, when we got $100 minimum in the lowest paid job, it was like the second coming. You're talking now about in the space of 1959 to 1968, in less than ten years, in about ten years, you had moved from $32 to $100. We were becoming a source of embarrassment to other unions who hadd been around a long, long time, whose workers were saying, “Look. The hospital workers, they make that.” This was what was happening because Davis understood the pass-through, that you could write your own ticket. The $100 came with benefits and pensions and all of this stuff, training, everything.

By 1965, we were already attempting to organize in other places. In 1967, “Like a beautiful child”, our film, comes out. In 1965, Modern Hospital did a feature, a very good feature on us. It's not an all-out feature. But in the article, the guy came and attended a delegates' meeting and he reports that a striker from Clarksburg, West Virginia, was reporting to the delegates. Now these are all white strikers. This white striker is coming to a meeting where they're virtually all blacks. Now she is having a change take place, because she sees these people get up and say, “We're going to have to give money to them and we're going to give money to our friends in Clarksburg, West Virginia.” So a lot of things are happening. So we're beginning to nose around outside New York, too.


Hang on a second. I don't want to skip ahead to this yet. I don't want to interrupt your flow of thought, but we'll get to that, because the question that you had begun to address was how the complexity of labor relations curbed the union's initial more confrontational kind of approach. That was the digression that you were off on.


After a point, you're trying to resolve problems; you're not trying to create them. But the hospitals virtually gave in on most things to us, so that most grievances can be solved. If they're not solved at an early step, the strategy is: Don't go to arbitration. We don't want to go to arbitration. It's only later on that Davis becomes alarmed about the number of arbitrations and the costs, and he insists

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