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by the blacks. He was regarded as theirs. Remember, we had in the
union a lot of people who were older blacks. The civil rights movement
was perfect for them and our link with it was just a natural. The young
people were coming out at a different point. You know who was a
steward in our union, up in the Bronx? Roy Innis. At the beginning he
was active in our union. He was a phony then.
He's a crazy man now.
Before we get to Charleston, one last question. Is there anything
worth recalling about the contract struggles of this period, the late
Particularly important advances, particularly important strikes?
Anything in particular about your own role?
The contracts were getting better. By '66, we had had a $74
minimum. We had introduced the benefit fund, pension fund, and
these things made things a lot better. Big changes had taken place.
There were hassles at contract time, and I was always able to churn
up the business about these poor people who are down at the bottom
of the economic ladder, and the people who are subsidizing the
hospitals, and the hospitals, why don't they open their books and show
us what they're doing--that kind of thing. That would get sympathy.
We always were able to get sympathy for ourselves.
Then in '68--I don't know if I handled that before.
The $100 minimum? I think we did discuss that.
Well, that was the key thing. That was what turned it around.
That was a major thing. Once you got the $100 minimum, you had
tremendous support from the workers, because it was something they
did not expect. Did not expect. I didn't expect it. Only one expected it
was Davis, because he insisted on it.
So at that time the union continued to grow and service.
The union was growing and servicing, and organizing, and
beginning to organize outside, too. Nicholas and Elliot are testing the
waters around. They've been out in different places and trying.
Philadelphia is or is not yet organized?
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