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Session:         Page of 592

quote, that we're making the link all the time, and members make the link.

The civil rights movement is growing at that time, it's a powerful force, it's a moral force, it's a political force, and in New York City it's a very powerful force to be reckoned with, even though many blacks are not registered to vote. But it's a moral issue. So in New York City you can move with that, and this union is King's favorite union, and this union is identified as the union. That's the symbol of that. You use this in organizing, you use this in negotiations, in potential strike situations. One of the things that gets the political people in Albany and the city to say, “Okay, we'll go with them,” is that they recognize the power of 1199. It has a lot of power. They don't want confrontations with it. So it helps us here and it begins to help us in '69, you see it in its full bloom in Charleston. Charleston is after King's death. The SCLC is on the way down and the civil rights movement is going back now. It's now no longer in its ascendency. 1969 in Charleston, Nixon is in power in the White House, and yet we are able to do what nobody has been able to do.

Q:

Before we jump into that, talk a little bit more about some of the actual activities, if you could, that the union was involved in with respect to civil rights. Also you ought to update us a little bit about some of the cultural things that are going on at that time.

Foner:

Let's start with civil rights. The sit-ins and then the fight in Baltimore to integrate some of the amusement areas, we're there, whether it's Selma, we're there. All of those battles, we're there.

Q:

By sending members?

Foner:

Sending members, sending delegations, and raising money.

[END TAPE]

Foner:

Getting people to come to speak at delegate assembly meetings, we were bringing in people from South Africa years and years and years before. All of these things, whenever something happened, we're bringing them in. In 1965, Vietnam -- we're the first union to become actively involved. We're the union that organizes the national opposition to the war from our headquarters. There isn't a social issue, a civil rights or political issue, a broad political issue, that we're not in the forefront of. We come with the hats and the signs. I at that time got Stanley Glaubach to work on posters and leaflets. I decided that we needed him. The union changes all the time, too. It was originally Local 1199, the retail drug employees union. Then in the



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